Jordan + Tristan traveled all the way from Marquette to Munising, Michigan to have photos taken at the waterfalls. They found me on Instagram and in the 8.5 years they’ve been together, have never had professional photos taken together! We decided that was enough of that hahah so we started planning a waterfall adventure! They brought their dog Maddie along for our hike, and we had so much fun exploring together.
Here are the top things I always tell couples to keep in mind when planning either a waterfall elopement or couples session!
1. Be prepared for mud and mist.
This may seem obvious, but depending on the size of the area surrounding the waterfall, it can get pretty wet and mucky. If you’re heading to a waterfall for an engagement or couples session, pack an extra outfit in a backpack and make sure you have proper footwear (hiking boots are always good!).
If you’re planning an elopement or small wedding and dream of standing in front of a waterfall while you say your vows, make sure you have an idea of the space beforehand.
Check it out ahead of time if you can, or ask your photographer. You want to make sure that you have enough room for the two of you plus an officiant, and any witnesses or guests you may want there.
Another note about waterfall elopements – make sure you pack your heels or nice shoes in a backpack and then change once you get there!
You can also put your bouquet in the backpack to keep your hands free for hiking.
2. Do I bring my dog?
My immediate answer is always YES!
Buuuttttt if you have an energetic puppy or a dog who is likely to wander (like me), it may stress you out to bring them along. (Plus, if they do run off the roaring waterfall will make it hard to hear if you call them).
If you feel pretty confident that your dog will stick close by, then definitely bring them along! Same goes for an elopement – as long as you’re comfortable and know that they’ll stick close by, bring them!
Michigan falls adventures are SO. much. fun.
3. Find out how accessible the waterfall area is.
If you’re fairly avid hikers and it’s going to just be the two of you and your dog, accessibility may not be an issue. But if you’re planning a small outdoor wedding and envision your best friends and parents standing alongside you, keep in mind that it may be more difficult for some to get to.
If you have older guests or people who aren’t physically capable of hiking to the location, they can still join you! Just ask your photographer to help you find a spot that is either:
a. close to a parking lot or trailhead, or
b. easy to get to via a short, fairly level walk or hike.
Also keep in mind that it may not be possible to bring much in terms of wedding decor (like an arch or table). You may have to opt to keep it simple and just wear your wedding attire and bring a small bouquet.
4. The best time of day for waterfall photos? Sunrise or sunset.
Sunrise is by far the best time to take photos by a waterfall. Not only is the light amazing, but it’s quiet, free of crowds, and very peaceful.
If you’re not an early bird, or you’re having a few guests for an elopement who won’t be down to hike that early, then sunset is also a great time of day!
Ask your photographer to give you recommendations for the area, season, and lighting depending on when your session or elopement is.
If you’re planning your own Michigan falls adventure session, then the seasons will dictate what time of day to choose!
5. Where can I go for waterfall photos or a waterfall elopement?
There are incredible waterfalls all over the world – but Michigan has some pretty f**king epic spots! The (aka the Upper Peninsula) has the vast majority of them, but you can find a bunch of amazing waterfall locations all over Michigan.
If you love this Michigan falls adventure session, you might also love this Upper Peninsula waterfall elopement!
Are you planning your own Michigan wedding or elopement? Or just want couples photos doing something cool?
Contact me and we can start planning!
Michigan has so many beautiful places, and a lot of them end up being very quiet because they’re not well known. I have a long list of amazing places that I love to shoot at – so if you’re looking for something that says adventure or the great outdoors, I can help with that!