One of the joys of being a photographer is capturing the special moments that couples share in unique and meaningful places. Recently, I had the pleasure of photographing Emily and Jacob, a day after they eloped, at the stunning Esch Rd Beach in Northern Michigan. Despite the rainy forecast, we adjusted our plans and ended up with a perfect, moody Michigan Saturday.


Michigan Engagement Photographer Esch Road BeachEsch Road Sunset Beach Session

The Setting

Esch Rd Beach, with its expansive sandy shores and dog-friendly policies, was the ideal backdrop for this shoot. The weather played its part, as the clouds began to part just in time for our session, giving way to a stunning blue sky. The beach was completely empty making the experience feel even more special and intimate.


Elopement Adventure Empire Michigan

The Arrival

Emily and Jacob arrived in their cheerful yellow Mini Cooper, a car I must say I’m a huge fan of. Along with them was their adorable dog, Boomer, who undoubtedly had the most fun running freely on the empty beach. The absence of tourists allowed us to explore and play without any interruptions, making the shoot relaxed and enjoyable.


Mini Cooper Beach Session with DogNorthern Michigan Dune Session Empire Michigan

The Shoot

Our session began with Emily and Jacob in casual attire, capturing candid moments of them and Boomer enjoying the beach. The vibrant blues and greens of the midday light added a breathtaking touch to the photos. Later, they changed into their wedding attire, bringing a touch of elegance and romance to the natural setting.



One of the highlights was when Jacob picked a trillium flower and gently placed it in Emily’s hair, a moment that felt like it was straight out of a fairy tale. We then ventured up to the bluffs in Empire, where the panoramic views provided a stunning backdrop for the final shots.


Esch Road Beach Empire Northern Michigan


This “day after” session was not just about capturing beautiful photographs but also about documenting Emily and Jacob in a place that holds deep significance for them. Northern Michigan’s natural beauty, combined with the couple’s love and connection, made this shoot truly memorable.


Esch Road Beach Session


Takeaways for Future Clients

  1. Flexibility is Key: Weather in Michigan can be unpredictable, but being flexible with your plans can lead to unexpected and wonderful outcomes.
  2. Personal Touches Matter: Choosing locations that are meaningful to you will make your photos even more special.
  3. Consider a “Day After” Session: It offers a relaxed environment to capture your true selves without the pressures of the wedding day.
  4. Embrace the Elements: Moody weather can create a unique and beautiful atmosphere, often resulting in stunning photographs.

Thank you, Emily and Jacob, for allowing me to be a part of your journey. And Boomer, for being the star of the show! Contact me today to plan your “day after” adventure!

Josh Hartman – Empire Michigan Photographer



Engagement Session Empire Northern Michigan