Are you ready to propose and you want to have it photographed, but don’t know where to start?


You’ve chosen the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you have the perfect ring burning a hole in your pocket…Now what?

You’re only doing this once, so having the moment captured by a professional photographer is a wonderful way to remember every detail! This will be one of the happiest moments the two of you and, especially if it’s a surprise proposal, having your significant other’s reaction captured is everything. You will also want to make sure that you get the perfect shot of the ring after you spent ages searching through the endless amounts of jewelry engagement rings that are out there. By hiring a professional photographer to do this, you can focus all of your attention on asking that all-important question!

District Bliss helps you plan your proposal photography session with Photos from the Harty

So, how do you choose a photographer and what’s the whole process about? We’ve got you covered!

Photos from the Harty captures proposals in the Washington DC area

Find a photographer you click with

You’ve done your research and you love the photos you’re seeing on social media and online, but do you enjoy the person behind the lens?

District Bliss and Photos from the Harty help you plan your proposal photography session

This is extremely important to us: you’ll be spending one of the most important moments of your life to date with us and it’s crucial that you enjoy the entire experience – not just the product you receive afterward.

Choose a location and time of day that works best for lighting – and your schedule

We love sunset and sunrise proposals. The lighting is just beautiful! If you want to propose around noon, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, we’ll probably suggest stepping under the shade of a tree, building, etc. so that the light is not directly in your eyes. We want to avoid squinting as much as possible – and we want to make sure that you are in flattering lighting.

Overcast days are surprisingly gorgeous because the lighting is soft and low-contrast!

Choose a location that has some sort of value for you two

You’re going to have these photographs forever. These images carry sentimental value and you want the location to have the same feeling! Whether you choose to propose at the location of your first date, somewhere in DC because you met there, a garden during cherry blossom season because you know that your significant other loves when things are in bloom, it will be perfect. We’ve photographed in sunflower fields, on cliffs, in bars or coffee shops, in the middle of the street during a snowstorm in Annapolis, and tons of other crazy cool moments all over the world. We love to do something special, unique, and fun!

Proposal photography made easy with Photos from the Harty and District Bliss

Choose a backup plan that you’ll be just as happy with

Ask your photographer about the location, the lighting, and have us check the weather as the day gets closer. We often block a second “rain date” just in case something comes up that does not work with the most important parts of your vision.

Proposal photography 101 presented by District Bliss and Photos from the Harty

If you don’t mind having umbrellas, standing in a different location if it’s a bit muddy, or parking a few extra blocks away if there’s an event nearby, we’re happy to keep the initial date. However, if you come down with the flu, you may want to reschedule. We totally understand that no one wants to have fever sweats while proposing to the love of their life (let alone, have photos of them taken)!

Photos from the Harty photographs wedding proposals, engagements, and portraits | District Bliss

Having a backup location is also not a bad idea. In DC, we have lots of last minute road closings or there may be a tour group standing in the exact spot you’d planned to pop the question. Discussing a plan B with your photographer is a good idea. We are full of suggestions, so feel free to ask!Engagement and proposal photography by Photos from the Harty | District Bliss Blog Post

Meet with or FaceTime with your photographer to outline clear details in advance

Most importantly, we all need to know what everyone looks like. We generally request a photograph of the two of you so we’re able to pick you both out as easily as possible. You shouldn’t need to pay attention to us once you’ve arrived at your proposal spot and we can’t afford to run around looking for you because we might miss the big moment!

More moving parts = more planning

But, it can also mean an even more special moment!

If you’d like to include both of your families, you’ll need to coordinate with them. If you want them to have a location that is out of sight, to meet you afterward, or whatever the case may be, make sure that everyone knows the plan so you do not have to think about anything but how happy you are when the moment arrives!

Don’t spoil the surprise! We won’t, either

Each situation is different, but we do our best to blend in. Nothing that screams “something important is happening” if there’s someone clearly waiting for you with a huge camera in their hand!

If you’re proposing at the Jefferson Memorial, we will probably dress like tourists. If you’ve chosen Meridian Hill Park, we’ll probably come in lounge-wear (and remind you that the fountains are not turned on during the Fall-Winter). Planning to propose in a garden or forest? We’ll be wearing green or brown. Our goal is to be invisible and non-invasive – because this is your moment that we are documenting – and it’s not about us.

Mervis Diamond Importers Engagement Rings are Beautiful and Photos from the Harty Photographs Proposals and All of Your Important Moments | District Bliss

Stay in touch with your photographer by text during the day

A simple, “We’re on the way,” or, “Just parked! Walking your way now!” and even, “I’m wearing grey pants and a blue button-down,” is extremely helpful to us! That way, we can make sure we’re in position, know what to expect and are ready to go!

The most important thing for us is to capture those raw, vulnerable emotions so that you can treasure them together for the rest of your lives


Bonus Tips:

  • Save your photographer’s contact info as a friend’s name or something generic so texting doesn’t seem suspicious. A coworker or boss is a good option because you can justify not discussing who is texting you
  • Set your phone to display “message received” rather than showing the message when you receive a text (do this a few weeks in advance so that it’s not odd if you change it that day)
  • Taking a selfie on the way out the door and posting to Instagram is never a bad idea – and texting it to us or tagging us is even better!
  • Planning a fun dinner or date night so that your significant other is dressed up and feels lovely makes doing an engagement session after the proposal just a little bit easier/better. You could even get everything arranged via a team of wedding proposal planners if you have a more ambitious proposal in mind. That being said, don’t compromise your plan in order to make this happen; if you two are hikers and you’re popping the question at the top of a trail, don’t suggest wearing heels! You’re definitely going to blow the surprise that way, among other things! haha! You can, however, choose an outfit your significant other would love and a little refresh of makeup – because you both may tear up! – and carry it in a backpack
  • Feel free to ask about our gear; even if we’ve photographed hundreds of proposal sessions, you have never done this before and you’re only doing it once. We are not offended if you want to know if we’ll be bringing a telephoto lens, lighting, a rain hood (which covers our cameras in wet weather), etc.
  • Permits are required when photographing in many locations in the DMV area. We have a general idea of where these are required, but we’re happy to help research if we do not know
  • Do a walk-through of the location with your photographer and discuss where you’ll stand, which way you’ll face, etc.
  • Love these rings? They are all from Mervis Diamond Importers, a family-run, local business that specializes in engagement and wedding rings – and their diamonds are cruelty-free to boot!

District Bliss shares proposal tips for photography by Photos from the Harty

Remember that this is YOUR moment! Do what feels right for you two!




Photography and blog post ©Photos from the Harty. The engagement rings pictured were purchased at Mervis Diamond Importers. See more proposals and to view the Photos from the Harty blog


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