Do you know that cute saying Midwest is best? Well, not gonna lie, when it comes to photo sessions, the midwest, especially Wisconsin really does shine. After photographing so many Wisconsin forest preserve engagement sessions over the past couple of years, I’ve created a guide with some of my favorite locations. This guide will help you decide where to go for your own engagement session.
Each of my engagement sessions with my MBP couples is completely different from the next. From the get-go, I work with you to create an experience that feels like you. From location guidance to planning to when we work together the day of, I am there every step of the way. During our initial call together we will brainstorm ideas for your session. Though I love when couples have ideas coming into their consultation call, we can brainstorm some together too! If you’re not sure what you want out of your engagement session experience we will work together to create something that you both will look forward to. I will put together some options based on your ideas as well as parameters such as how much you would like to hike. From there you two will make the final call on where we will go for your session.
Once your session arrives we will take a little more time to get to know one another. I scout the location ahead of time and create a game plan for our session. Then, once we arrive at your Wisconsin location I will guide you to the various spots throughout the forest preserves. At the same time, we will be documenting all the little moments along the way. I will guide you through posing, and what to expect along the way so you two feel good and confident throughout the whole experience.
My goal is to not just give you awesome photos to celebrate your engagement, but I also hope to create an experience for the two of you to remember this special time in your lives together. We will spend our time together laughing, getting to know each other and celebrating this major moment in your lives.
Wisconsin is great for engagement photos because of the wide variety of options it has in terms of weather. We really get all of the extremes when it comes to the weather. When planning for your Wisconsin engagement session, you HAVE to be prepared for all types of weather. Especially in forest preserves where we may be spending some time hiking.
Wisconsin in the spring, though the weather can be unpredictable, is one of my favorite seasons for sessions. The spring is great because the grass is finally green again, and it’s a little bit on the earlier side, so you can still get some of the trails to yourself.
Note that the weather can be unpredictable throughout the spring. Be prepared for various types of trail conditions because of rain, as well as delays if the weather is unfit for your session. I go over my reschedule policy in my contract before you book your session. That way we are all on the same page as we plan your Wisconsin engagement session.
Summer in Wisconsin is one of the most popular times of year for engagement sessions, especially at the parks and forest preserves. I highly recommend getting up early or going a little later in the day for your Wisconsin session. The parks are typically packed throughout the middle of the day during this peak season. That’s why I suggest to my couples that we plan our session around either sunrise or sunset when they’re less busy.
Make sure to be prepared for your session! The summers get extremely hot, so bring water! Also, if you’re going to be walking through grasses or trees, pack some bug spray. Ticks are fairly common on trails and in the fields throughout the summer so it’s better to be prepared!
Fall engagement sessions are SO beautiful at Wisconsin forest preserves every year. As the temperature cools off and the leaves begin to change colors, the forests light up with color. You really cannot beat this midwest forest preserve feel. Though it changes every year, you can typically count on the leaves changing colors in late September and early October.
The fall in Wisconsin is great for engagement sessions. There is typically not much going on in terms of extreme weather and the trails are gorgeous. Pro-tip, if you go on a weekday, you will also miss the school crowd as everyone will be back in the classrooms. You will basically end up having the trails to yourself in some areas.
Though unpredictable, winter is a really pretty time of year to have your outdoor engagement photos in a Wisconsin forest preserve. Early December often brings a great deal of snow without the frigid temperatures that come with January and February. Plan ahead and try to get in my books before they fill up! I LOVE snowy engagement sessions, so the winter months tend to book out early.
If you plan to have your winter engagement session at a forest preserve, make sure to come prepared. Wear shoes that will keep you warm. If you’re hiking trails that are at risk of being iced over, think about getting some Yaktrax or snow cleats. You also want to make sure to wear a warm jacket for when we are walking to different locations. Winter engagement sessions in Wisconsin are SO beautiful, but it is important to make sure you’re prepared and safe while at your session.
I’m going to be honest with you, when it comes to engagement session locations throughout Wisconsin, there are SO many options. Between the urban areas, the rural areas, and the bodies of water, the opportunities are endless. There are so many perfect Forest Preserve locations for your Wisconsin engagement photos I understand it can be a hard choice.
In order to narrow down your options, think about the experience you would like to have at your session. Think about who you and your partner are as people. What type of session would best reflect you and your relationship? What kind of forest surroundings would you want for your Wisconsin engagement session?
Are you two the EXTRA adventurous type? Always going on hikes to the coolest highest points? Are you more of a lakeside couple? Maybe you spend your weekends soaking up the sun on boats and piers. Or maybe you’re a little more low-key. You might picture the two of you packing a picnic or lounging in the grass for your engagement photos. Take some time and sit down with your partner. Talk about what kind of experience you hope to have for your engagement photos and then narrow down some options for your session!
After documenting so many amazing couples these past couple of years, and scouting some of the locations on my own, I have put together a list of my top Wisconsin forest preserves and parks for engagement photos.
Overlooking Lake Michigan, Lions Den Gorge in Ozaukee County Wisconsin is FILLED with scenic overlooks, lakefront trails and small beaches. Lion’s Den Gorge is a fairly easy hike perfect for those who love the outdoors but might not want to hike for an extended period of time before taking photos. There is a partially paved path, and the trail is also dog friendly, so you can bring your fur babies along for your session!
Located right on the Wisconsin and Minnesota Border, is Perrot State Park. This park has a variety of trails that are perfect for your adventurous engagement session. The trails range from easy to moderate and most of the bluff and peak destinations are located on 3 mile loop trails. This means there would be about a mile and a half or so of walking and documenting before we got to our “destination.” After arriving at the peak, we would walk another mile and a half back.
On All Trails, most of the trails are rated as moderate, so you’ll definitely want to pack or wear shoes on the more comfortable side for your session.
Located in southern Milwaukee, Grant Park is one of my personal favorite locations in Wisconsin for Engagement photos. Located right on the Lake Michigan Shoreline, this forest preserve is an easy location. It is perfect for those that love nature but might not want to drive too far out of the city for their session. Though there are SO many trails that makeup Milwaukee’s grant park, the Seven Bridges Trail is my personal favorite.
Just outside of the Wisconsin Dells, this Wisconsin forest engagement session location would be the perfect getaway for you and your partner. Mirror Lake State park is a massive state park that wraps around Mirror Lake itself. One of the more scenic trails, Echo Rock Trail, is only a little less than a mile hike with a scenic view over Mirror Lake. Along with the views are unique rock foundations that make for some really cool engagement photos.
This 4.5 mile loop trail near Williams Bay Wisconsin is filled with beautiful prairies and moderate trails, perfect for those who want some solitude for their Wisconsin engagement session. Kishwaukeetoe is perfect for including your pups and planning the evening summer session.
Only about an hour west of Madison Wisconsin is a gorgeous state park called Governor Dodge State Park. The Wisconsin state park is filled with unique trails perfect for adventurous forest engagement sessions. Home to Stephens Falls, a really beautiful rock formation and waterfall, this 0.3 mile hike is a cute little adventure perfect for an outdoorsy couple.
One of the more popular waterfront locations in Wisconsin, Devils Lake State Park is a really awesome location for Engagement photos. Filled with beaches, scenic overlooks and extensive hikes, Devils Lake has something for most couples. Spend the afternoon hiking and documenting your engagement at some of the best overlooks in Wisconsin, or have a low key afternoon on the beach spending time with your soon to be spouse.
As you can see, Wisconsin has SO much to offer for your outdoors engagement session. There are so many beautiful forest preserves throughout Wisconsin that are perfect for your adventurous session. If you’re looking to book your own engagement session, head to my contact page! From there we can begin planning your own forest preserve engagement session!