Olivia and Zach’s Proposal at Lane’s Island Preserve on Vinalhaven

A beautiful September day unfolded as we captured Zach and Olivia’s surprise marriage proposal at Lane’s Island Preserve on the island of Vinalhaven. This was a particularly special proposal for the BrightWorks Photography team as it involved taking the Maine State Ferry Service about fifteen miles out into the bay and then walking about a mile with our cameras to the agreed upon spot under a warm fall sun and blue skies. Nothing like the adventure of exploring Maine combined with the joy of photographing a proposal!


Zach chose Vinalhaven for the surprise proposal because Olivia has visited the island all her life. The ferry drops passengers off at Carver’s Harbor, a bustling area with a mix of fishing boats. Vinalhaven includes a village with older, white clapboard homes and pocket gardens, as well as a hotel that straddles the rushing tide, a full-fledged grocery and other shops. There’s a sense of connection, as people go about their day with a kind of familiarity with one another and the place itself.


We knew that the island’s taxi driver was on the mainland for the day, so we disembarked from the ferry and walked through town toward Lane’s Island Preserve. It was easy to find the picnic tables that would mark the proposal spot. After a quick lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and apple slices, we dispersed to separate spots. This tends to be the most nerve-wracking part of the day for the photographers because we are anticipating the couple’s arrival and want to blend into the scene!

As the sun beamed overhead, Zach and Olivia approached the picnic area at the edge of the beach. And with perfect timing, Zach took to one knee and began the proposal. Steve framed the couple against the sparkling blue water and Rebecca caught images of the reverse angle. After Olivia shared her very affirmative response with Zach, we introduced ourselves. Olivia had a sense that something was underway as Zach had been unusually concerned with getting to the picnic spot “in time” and it was actually the 7th anniversary of their first date!


Zach and Olivia were excited to have additional portraits in this spectacular, wild Maine spot, so we walked through the fields together and took pictures. We always like to interact with the couple, but we also find ways for them to go off on their own and enjoy a more distant embrace. Plus, this gives us an amazing chance to frame the couple against the backdrop! We also want the couple to have close-ups, of course, whether it’s the ring, nearby plants, or those smiling eyes.


Scroll down to enjoy a few of our favorite images from this island proposal!