Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of my favorite places to hike and photograph engagement sessions in Northern Michigan. With miles of sand beach and bluffs that tower over 400 feet above Lake Michigan, this place has the most incredible views in the entire State of Michigan.

Fall Photographer DunesProposal Photographer at the DunesGlen Haven Anniversary Photographer

Why I Love Photographing at Sleeping Bear Dunes

The natural dunes are such a delicate and beautiful landscape that is ever-changing and so much fun to photograph. Also, the dense inland forests and unique plant life make the Sleeping Bear Dunes a really diverse place. It’s not your typical beach setting. I’ve photographed weddings all over the country and Sleeping Bear Dunes is my favorite place to shoot in the United States.

Northern Michigan Dunes Couple Jumping Fall Color Couple Running Forested

What happens if it rains?

I recommend having a backup date in case of bad weather or at least being flexible the day of. Often times it doesn’t rain all day at Sleeping Bear Dunes. And it can make for some pretty dramatic clouds. So having flexibility in your day is highly recommended.

If you’re lucky enough to get a partly cloudly day for your Sleeping Bear Dunes engagement, be prepared for the most epic sunrise. It can be quite breezy and a little bit chilly in the summer at the Sleeping Bear Dunes, so I would definitely pack layers.

Sunrise is the Best Time for your Sleeping Bear Dunes Engagement

I recently photographed a beautiful engagement session at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Sunrise was super early at 7 AM, but it was totally worth it to have the dunes all to ourselves. Traverse City is a popular place for engagement photos, which is why early is the best time.

And if you’re not an early riser, there’s always sunset. Check out this beautiful sunset engagement session on the Leelanau Peninsula.

Dune Climb Engagement Sunrise

Glen Arbor Sunset at the Dunes

More Engagement Sessions in Traverse City, Michigan

I’ve visited Sleeping Bear in all seasons and each offers something beautiful. Check out my blog posts about some of my favorite hikes around Traverse City as well as my other Sleeping Bear Dunes engagement adventures by clicking the links below.

Happy Trails!

Josh Hartman

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