Paris proposal photographer – Jeff and Katrina experience with Gloria Villa
Paris proposal photographer –
Jeff and Katrina experience with Gloria Villa
I’m so exited to share Jeff and Katrina’s photos in Paris with you! As their Paris proposal photographer, it was an absolute delight to capture such an especial moment for them, and for me. They’re definitely my dream clients: kind, affectionate and madly in love. We had so much fun together.
They’re from Torrance, California (Los Angeles), they met at work. They used to work at Jamba Juice (a smoothie chain) together.They worked together a few times a week, and were good friends at the time, but Kat had a boyfriend, so they didn’t start dating until a few years later.
Jeff made the first step when he asked her to go on a date to…of all places, Jamba Juice.
Now, let’s hear from Jeff and Katrina how was his experience finding his Paris proposal photographer:
Earlier this year I began planning my proposal to my girlfriend of 5 years, and I knew that I wanted to do so in her favorite city, Paris. I initially wanted to have the proposal photographer “paparazzi style”, where the photographer would follow us around and take pictures, and capture the engagement itself, all without revealing to my girlfriend that it was taking place. I live in Los Angeles, so I began researching photographers online that could provide what I was after, and I stumbled across Gloria’s page. Several sites ranked her as one of the best engagement photographers in Paris, and her portfolio on her site seemed to confirm what everyone was saying.
I reached out to Gloria via email, and she promptly replied, very eager to help make the proposal work out exactly as I wanted it. She explained a variety of options regarding the type of shoot, explaining to me that while the paparazzi shoot was certainly possible, my best option was to tell my girlfriend she was going to be photographed, so that she could prepare, and so that the overall quality of the photos would be better. This suggestion ultimately proved accurate, though I went with my original idea initially.
Once Gloria and I confirmed the initial plans for the proposal set, she stayed available to answer any follow up questions. I decided closer to the planned proposal date to change the location, and without hesitation, she gladly hopped on a nearly 30 minute phone call to hear my concerns, and to recommend how to best proceed (I was trying to find a secluded, private location to propose, so my girlfriend wasn’t bombarded with a public proposal in one of the busiest cities in the world). She informed me that the initial location I picked was far too busy to get what I was looking for, and suggested several other locations that would be better.
I ended up emailing Gloria the night before the proposal informing her that I wanted to switch to the option she suggested, so that my girlfriend could pick her outfit and makeup with the knowledge, and Gloria once again showed flexibility and willingness to help accommodate exactly the last minute changes.
On the day of the proposal, we met at 7am (again, to avoid large crowds), and walked to a few different locations before ending up in the ultimate spot where I proposed. At each location, she was greeted by other local photographers who informed us how lucky we were to be photographed by Gloria, showing admiration for her skill in the craft.
The final photographs reflected what the other photographers told us, as she perfectly captured the moments leading up to the proposal, the proposal itself, and after, in a way that will allow my fiancé and I to forever remember the feelings and sights of the day.
As part of the package I selected, we also did a follow up engagement shoot 2 days after the proposal shoot. We went to multiple different locations, and ended the shoot over coffee and pastries in a café near our hotel, spending nearly an hour beyond the shoot hearing about her experiences in Paris, as well as her passion for photography. It was very clear that in addition to being a skilled photographer, she values the connections she makes with clients during the shoot, and her desire to provide them with the best experience possible is genuine.
I would recommend Gloria to anyone who is looking for a skilled, photographer who cares about producing quality results in capturing any special occasion.
Why did you choose Paris?
Kat visited Paris with her family last year and came back convinced that France is the best country in the world, with a dream of living in Paris one day. I was unable to go at the time, and because of that we decided we would go back and experience it with together. We chose it as our next travel destination, I had already decided a few months prior that I was ready to propose. I decided that since it was her favorite place, and we were already going to be there, that it seemed the perfect location. The Eiffel tower is the most iconic part of Paris, and one that was particularly important to her. She had photos of it as her phone background, and even painted it after she got back, so doing it somewhere close to the Eiffel Tower felt like the obvious choice.
How did you prepare after you booked me (and how did you and me communicate)
I kept checking the weather (and freaking out about the prospect of rain). I purchased an umbrella just in case it was going to rain. I bought a new suit, purchased a ring, and continued researching other locations in Paris to propose just to make sure I picked the best possible place, as well as to have a backup plan. We communicated primarily via email, though I did call on one occasion to settle the details when our emails weren’t going through.
Which part of the Paris Proposal shoot did you find most enjoyable? Why (please be specific and also feel to offer two perspectives from each of you)
My favorite part of the proposal shoot was when we got to the Pont de Bir Hakeim and I finally was able to propose. As far as Kat was concerned, we were just doing a photo shoot for our anniversary, to commemorate our first international trip together. Meanwhile, I had a ring in my pocket the whole time, and could barely contain my excitement. I managed to make it through months of planning, the entire first half of our trip, and more importantly, the entire photo shoot (with a box in my pocket) without her detecting what was going to happen. Seeing the look on her face and finally being able to share my excitement with her was the most memorable part of the shoot.
(this is more the engagement shoot than the proposal shoot) Our pictures from the Arc De Triumph were my favorite. We stood on a two-foot-wide divider in the middle of the street and you can’t tell from looking at the pictures, but there were cars zooming by just feet away on either side of us, even though it was only 7am. We had to pose in position to take the photographs, waiting until the perfect moment when no cars were passing by to have photos that looked like there were no cars on the street.
Which part of the Paris Proposal session did you two find most challenging (if anything)? Why?
Coordinating and keeping it all a secret was challenging. I had to pick a day months ahead of time not knowing what the weather was going to be that day, and with no prior knowledge of Paris. We were simultaneously planning the other details of the trip, so I had to come up with a reason explaining why i had 2 days blocked off on our schedule(one for proposal shoot, one for engagement shoot), and also make sure that Kat packed the right clothes to be dressed up for the occasion, all without being obvious that these were no ordinary dates.
Looking good for a photo shoot so early in the morning was definitely a challenge. We had to wake up around 5:00 for the shoot, and we didn’t know what the weather was going to be like, even the morning of the shoot. The forecast projected rain the morning of, which thankfully did not happen.
If your best friend were considering a similar experience, what 2 pieces of advice would you give?
Be sure to have a contingency plan. The biggest fear I had before we arrived in Paris was that it was going to be raining the day of the proposal. Each time I checked the weather, the forecast was different. One day it would say the whole week was going to be sunny, and the next day the forecast for the entire week was rain. I ended up ordering a picturesque umbrella and choosing backup locations in case it rained, but had I not been checking, I potentially may have had to propose in the rain or altogether cancel it. We traveled to Paris from Los Angeles, so we couldn’t just reschedule to a different week.
Make sure you figure out what kind of proposal your significant other wants, and make sure your plans fit not only YOUR vision, but also your significant other’s vision,. I unknowingly picked an initial location that was somewhat busy, even though Kat expressed to me previously that she didn’t want to be proposed to in public, but instead, a more intimate setting. I only realized after speaking with Gloria that the initial location I picked would be too crowded, even early in the morning. Had I not known what Kat wanted, and talked to someone who is more familiar with the city, I may not have picked an optimal location.
How was it working with me as your Paris proposal photographer?
The experience overall was great. You helped me figure out what would work best for us, and made every effort to make sure it happened.
Was it the right choice in retrospect?
It was definitely the right choice. We now have photos that we can look back on for the rest of our lives that perfectly capture the feelings of the day and week. Most of the picture we had together up until this point were selfies, so we were both thrilled that we finally have nice photos to look back on as the years go by.
What was your plan for after our Photo Session? Restaurant / hotel / entertainment?
After the proposal we went to the Louvre and had lunch at the Jardin des Tuilleries. It was one of the two sunny days of our trip in Paris, so we wanted to enjoy the nice weather.
Now let me share with you this beautiful moment between Jeff and Katrina. Jeff wrote a letter to Katrina and read it while we were doing the photo session, the result? Magic! Check it out.
And here is the text of this beautiful letter, romance is still out there!
Katrina Deanna Reyes Embisan,
We were at Yogurtland the first time I heard you talk about marriage in the context of our relationship. We had been dating only five months, and in what seemed like a Freudian slip, you began
“At our wedding…”, abruptly realizing what you said, and quickly correcting yourself “At my wedding…”.
I simply chuckled and pulled down on the lever to dispense my yogurt. I didn’t feel the slightest bit uncomfortable by the prospect of a future with you. I had barely even just told you for the first time that I loved you, but I was sure that I did. Little did you know that I wanted it too.
That night, I jokingly mentioned the wedding you had planned for us that I hadn’t even been invited to yet.
We talked for hours that night, standing outside your house discussing for the first time, a shared vision of a lifetime together. We both knew that that future was distant, and that our relationship had not endured enough for either of us to be sure that a future together made sense. But we affirmed to one another that the foundation of love was there, and that that was the future together we both wanted.
Here we are now, 5 years later, on the other side of the world. That future is no longer so distant, and our relationship no longer so new.
We’ve progressed through school, made friends, started working, fought, made up, gone on vacations, been completely broke…but through all of that, our relationship has endured.
While the vision of the future we discussed that night as evolved as we have grown, what hasn’t changed is the certainty that I want to spend my life with you. In fact it has been strengthened over and over again as our relationship matured.
It was strengthened each time I saw you brighten a room with laughter. Your own, as well as that evoked by your boundless supply of jokes.
It was strengthened repeatedly by the love that pours from your heart. Not only your love for me, but also the love that shines through when feeding chickens tortillas, petting and hugging llamas, and telling me about how much more you wish you could do for your patients, even after you’ve given them everything you can.
It was strengthened by all of the nights we stayed up until 3 am watching Netflix, eating cookies and drinking peanut butter milkshakes together, where I fell asleep and woke up with you in my arms.
By all of the times we supported each other through vomit and blood and sweat, the times where we laughed until we cried, and the times we fought until we cried.
And last, but certainly not least, in the few trips we’ve been able to take together where I’ve gotten a glimpse of what it means to travel the world with the person you love.
I’ve known for a long time that I want to spend my worse days with you, my best days with you, and every day in between, with you. You are my best friend, and I’m grateful that I have the rest of our lives to be that, and so much more, for you.
In the short time we have on this planet, we won’t be able to do everything that we want to do, but I know that together we will push each other to reach as high as we can; to always choose the path of perseverance, love, and happiness, and because of that, I know we will build a future together that we will both be proud of. Neither of us knows exactly what lies ahead, but one thing I know for certain is that the future will be infinitely more fulfilling because you will be in it by my side. And no matter what continent we are on, no matter who we meet, what we do, there will be nobody else that I would rather embark on this journey with, than you.
Always and Forever,
Your #1 fan, and future husband,
If you’re looking for the ultimate Paris proposal and engagement experience, this is it, don’t miss the opportunity to document this unique moment in your lives. Reach out to check my availability here.