The Conservatory at Sussex County Fairgrounds Wedding – Sparta, NJ – Wedding Photographer | Nicole + Eric

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Nicole and I go way back – like college way back. We both went to Montclair State University back in the mid 2000’s, and we’ve been friends ever since!

I remember talking with Nicole about wedding photography long before Eric even came into the picture. But we’re both so glad he did! And I was beyond pumped when they officially hired me to photograph their wedding at The Conservatory at Sussex County Fairgrounds in Sparta, NJ.

According to Nicole + Eric:

“I know Mike, his work, and clients that have hired him. Compared to other photographers, we felt his work was the best!”

Their Biggest Priorities & Concerns:

When we first started to seriously discuss the photography for their wedding, the usual concerns about feeling awkward in front of the camera and having enough time for family photos came up. (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Everyone feels awkward in front of the camera. Here’s more proof!)

But more than that, they wanted to find someone reliable and honest. Someone they knew would not only capture the shots – but safeguard them as well. 

And because they were getting married outdoors, they wanted someone experienced with outdoor events and lighting to capture the ceremony and sunset beautifully.

Thankfully, because Nicole knew my work and my character, she and Eric were able to let go and just enjoy the moments. Check out some of my favorite pre-ceremony shots.

My Solution:

Many people don’t realize that trust is the foundation of great wedding images. Think about it:  When you can trust a photographer to do their job – whether that’s efficiently capturing all the family portraits, photographing the epic and iconic wedding moments, or editing and delivering a gorgeous gallery – you naturally relax and just enjoy yourself.

And that’s a recipe for success!

So, I built upon the strong foundation of friendship that Nicole and I already had by sharing my expertise. I helped create a timeline that blocked out more than enough time for couple portraits and family photos. I researched the time the sun would set. I walked the Sussex County Fairgrounds to understand where the light would hit at different times of the day. And all throughout the day, I read the crowd and tried to be flexible and easy to get along with.

And it worked out really well. All of the planning and preparation allowed everyone to just be in-the moment, and we were able to get some knock-your-socks-off shots. Check these out.

Favorite Moment:

My favorite moment is a toss up.

One of them is one that my assistant and I orchestrated during sunset. Using my car, my assistant drove on the road behind where we were taking photos. This kicked up dust – which caught the golden hour light and created this really cool smoke effect for the portraits.

The other, I can’t take as much credit for. There was a minor league baseball game going on nearby. After the game, the stadium let off surprise fireworks to the delight of Nicole and Eric’s family and friends.

According to Nicole + Eric:

“There were too many, but definitely the fireworks photos and the photos from the field with the dirt kicking up were some of our favorites. I also like all of the farm spread photos!”

Final Thoughts:

Nicole + Eric,

Thanks for trusting me with the extra long portrait session and all of the small moments of your wedding day. I know they were all so important to you. 

Yes, we spent so much time planning everything, but in the end, it was worth it! Plus, the fireworks photo was a once-in-a-lifetime, good luck sort of a thing. And it couldn’t have happened for two nicer people.

P.S. I’m still showing off that photo!

According to Nicole + Eric:

“Pick Mike! I had no fears because I knew I hired a skilled photographer.”

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Sussex Conservatory

Caterer: Andre’s Lakeside Catering

Florist: Blooms of Elegance

Band/DJ: Jersey Joint

Hair & Make-up: Kelly Brown



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