Surprise Proposal in Downtown Annapolis

Couple engaged at George Washington Davis Park


Heart thumping. Palms sweaty. Pacing the street. Short of breath. I hadn't been this anxious about a portrait session in a long time.

But when you are hired to document your first surprise wedding proposal it's tough to stay calm knowing that you only have one chance to get it right. No do-overs, no pausing the moment. It all happens in real time and there's no going back. 

Rewind several weeks earlier when I briefly encountered Patrick at First Sunday Arts Festival in Annapolis. We never spoke at length, only a brief interaction when he asked me for my business card. I give out dozens of cards at First Sunday, and I don't always hear back from those who take one. But Patrick sent me an email two weeks later asking if I would be interested in a surprise proposal session.

Like I do anytime someone reaches out to me about photography, I call them back and pick their brains. What did Patrick have in mind and how can I help him achieve his photography goals?

After a lengthy chat, we scheduled a time to meet at George Washington Davis Park in Eastport, where he planned to propose. He and Megan both grew up out of town, but have quickly adapted to the Annapolis lifestyle, which he wanted to represent in the photos. Patrick told me he planned to propose to Megan after dinner at their favorite restaurant, Davis' Pub, which is directly across the street from the park.

After agreeing to collaborate on the session, we scheduled his proposal and I began my research. I watched multiple proposal videos on YouTube and studied the techniques of my favorite professional photographers. 

I also kindly asked my daughter and husband to join me for the proposal session after Patrick suggested that having the two of them there with me might make my camera's presence less conspicuous. The good family that they are, Steve and Julia agreed and were quickly given their own cameras to record the event as well.

When the time came for the proposal, and Julia, Steve, and I were set up at Davis Park, I was really, really nervous. Patrick seemed like a really good guy and I would feel horrible if I let him down.

It rained heavily the hour leading up to the proposal, but I knew Patrick wasn't going to cancel his plans for anything, so I had my rain gear packed just in case. Luckily the skies cleared up just before the proposal was set to take place and it turned into a lovely evening.

Patrick texted me from inside the restaurant so I was ready for the couple when they left Davis' Pub and crossed the street to the park. Steve's camera was set up on a tripod and Julia hand-held my cell phone to video record the proposal. 

The proposal itself took less than 5 minutes, but I'm happy to say I came away with dozens of images for Patrick and Megan to choose from. Megan said yes, by the way, which was another huge relief for all involved. 

I created and uploaded to social media an Animoto slideshow of the proposal, which very elegantly tells the story of the couple's proposal and saves this very special moment for posterity. What a great heirloom to one day share with their children, and perhaps even play at their future wedding. Photographs: You have no idea how special they are until they're the only things you have left.