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Wedding Photographer & Educator

Tioga, nd
Manhattan, KS

chelsy weisz

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If you have ever worked with me before in any capacity, you know I hate when things are inefficient. I cringe when I can see a better way of doing things, and people are wasting time energy, and resources when simple tweaks or tools can speed things up, and make things easier.  — I’m talking […]

Wedding Photographer + Educator

WElcome to the chelsy weisz BLog

resources and tools to help you up level your business and life

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My New Photo Culling Tool | Narrative Select

Photographer Education

If you have ever worked with me before in any capacity, you know I hate when things are inefficient. I cringe when I can see a better way of doing things, and people are wasting time energy, and resources when simple tweaks or tools can speed things up, and make things easier.  — I’m talking nails on a chalkboard cringe! 

As a work-from-home mom, every minute counts when I’m working.  I love my business but I started this business to be able to be home with my kiddos have a creative outlet, and contribute to our household bottom line. Spending hours in front of my computer culling thousands of images after a wedding was not the reason I started my business.  

Best tool for culling photos 

I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found photo mechanic years ago. While it’s still a great tool, it’s not the best tool for the job anymore, and I’m so freaking excited to share a new gem with you today! 

Introducing Narrative Select! Narrative Select uses AI technology to speed up your efficiency and accuracy when culling images. I’m gonna be totally honest I was not looking to replace photomechanic when Narrative reached out to me to trial their product, but I booked the demo call and gave it a shot in the middle of my busiest week of the year! Guys this MacOS program is freaking magic! Scroll below to see it in action! 

How it works

So here is how it works, Select shows you when faces are out of focus or blinking – so you can quickly eliminate those quickly. Personally, I didn’t really find culling to be that big of a chore it was just something that had to be done, so there was no use fussing about it. 

The thing about Select that I like the best is the focus detection. I hate when images aren’t as sharp as they should be. And after hours of staring at a computer sometimes it’s just hard to tell how sharp of a focus you got on images. This has increased the accuracy of my culling, and I’m not going back anytime soon! 

The other thing I love about Select is its scene tool. This tool basically groups images that are similar so you can ensure you aren’t including too many of a certain thing or too few of something else. This is incredibly useful for both wedding photography as well as portrait sessions.  I love ensuring my seniors get an equal number of images in each outfit and location and the scenes tool helps. 

Check out this video to see all these tools in action plus a bit more! 

Free Plan Available + Discount Code Below! 

Narrative Select has to options a free plan which is essentially the free version of photomechanic. Their paid option grants you access to the AI technology that sets Narrative Select apart. Narrative Select was kind enough to let me hook you up with a discount code! Click here to get access to a 10% discount code if you decide to upgrade to their paid version. Otherwise, you should totally use their free version! Code: chelsyweisz10
Got questions their support team based in New Zealand is phenomenal, make sure you read their emails in a kiwi accent!

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3 Easy Hacks to Wedding Plan like a Pro!

WEDDING PLANNING

Congratulations you’re engaged, now it’s time to get down to the exciting and sometimes daunting task of planning a wedding! As you start this journey here are three wedding planning hacks to help you stay organized, enjoy the process, and save money! 

Create an email address for all your wedding planning things

I’m sure another email address to keep track of sounds like a pain, but hear me out.  When you create a new email address for your wedding you are able to ensure everything stays in one spot and doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of promotional emails from Target, or Fabletics. 

You also have the added benefit of not clogging up your personal email inbox after the wedding with any wedding promotional things. It also looks a little more professional as well. 

Creating an email address for your wedding is super easy and totally free! Google is a great spot to open an account, plus you can use Google Drive to save contracts, and keep your notes in one spot! 

Manhattan, Kansas outdoor wedding photographer

Organize your Pintrest Board

If you’re like most brides you started your wedding pintrest board a while ago! – No shame girl, I get it me too! Here is the thing, it is super easy to let those boards get clogged up with a lot of late-night pins that you don’t actually know why you pinned the image in the first place. 

I’ve got two options for ya. 

Start over with a new board and only pin things you actually want to do to this new board. 

If your board is more than a few years old, this is a good idea. You can keep the old board and repin images to the new board if you like too, that way you aren’t losing any ideas! 

Delete irrelevant pins from the original board. 

If your board is a bit newer, or you don’t have as many pins on it, this might be a great idea for you! You also could move pins to a different board if you aren’t 100% sure you will want to use that as inspiration. 

Use categories to organize your pintrest board

This super handy feature came out on Pintrest a few years ago allowing you to have almost mini boards inside your big board. This is such an ideal tool for brides planning a Kansas or North Dakota wedding. 

Some categories you could use include: ceremony space, reception tables, head table inspiration, guest book, cake, invitations, thank-yous, bridesmaid dresses, grooms attire, family formals wedding dress, venue spaces, vows, and planning hacks. 

When creating categories, think about creating a new category for each vendor you will be working with. This way you can review those pins only before searching for a vendor who can help you bring your vision to life. 

Use a wedding planning website

The options for wedding planning websites are almost infinite! There are some really great ones and some not-so-great ones out there on the world wide web. My top three suggestions for Manhattan, Kansas brides are Zola, TheKnot, and WeddingWire. 

Zola 

Zola is an all-in-one spot for your registry, your managing your guest list, printing wedding invites, finding vendors, and creating a wedding website. I personally love their modern design and inclusiveness.  The fact that you can keep your wedding visually cohesive from your wedding website to your save the dates and invites is a really neat added bonus as well! 

The Knot

The Knot is the OG wedding planning website, and has been around for a few years and has gotten a few facelifts over the years as well. Because of the age of the company they have a plethora of articles and advice on planning a wedding. 

Wedding Wire

Wedding Wire is actually owned by The Knot and tends to attract higher-end couples and vendors. Wedding Wire is a great spot to find vendors to help you create the wedding of your dreams. 

pin for later!

Ready to put that new wedding planning email address to use? Fill out my contact page to check availability for your wedding day!

Manhattan, Kansas Wedding Photographer bride groom kissing country wedding
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Renea + Jason’s Williston Badland Micro Wedding, North Dakota

Weddings

I met Jason at the gas station on the side of town and followed him out to the archery range just east of Williston, North Dakota, a few hours before sunset. After a few twisty turns and a steep climb down the hill, we arrived at a beautiful location in the badland valley.

I gathered up my gear and met Renea and the rest of the family before we hiked up the hill to begin a quick little family session. Renea and Jason have been together for five years and have three kiddos between them. While the big ceremony will be held later next year in Idaho, these two decided to invite their closest friends and family to a private ceremony this past weekend and officially tie the knot!

Farmgirl flowers provided most of the flowers (the ones that the puppy didn’t get ahold of earlier that day), and Renea’s choice of sage green and dusty pink popped beautifully against the North Dakota Badlands landscape. Renea’s Lulu’s dress fit her perfectly, and I loved how flowy it was in the breeze!

As we started to head down the hill for the ceremony, I joked that I would probably slide or fall down the hill at some point that day. Little did I know it would be right in the middle of the ceremony! Yep, I slid almost 5 feet down the hill on my heels without dropping a camera or seriously hurting myself. Thankfully it didn’t disrupt the ceremony too much.

After the ceremony, we rolled right into the family formals, where the arch served as a beautiful backdrop, and the sun flooded us with beautiful lighting. After that, the kids, Renea, Jason, and I, took off for a quick photoshoot with everyone all dressed up. I can not wait for you to see all the beautiful images we captured in a relatively small timeframe!

Please join me in congratulating Jason and Renea!

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Carly + CJ Winter Engagement Session

Photography

Carly and CJ met me at The Red Moose Coffee Hus earlier this week in Tioga, North Dakota for their engagement session.

After -45 degree weather, the 5 degrees above 0 was a welcome relief and a great way to start the 2022 wedding photography season. 

Carly and CJ met online a few years ago. Carly is from Minot, while CJ has been calling Stanley home for the past 13 years. The two welcomed their first child Leo in June and will be officially tieing the knot in September at the State Fair Grounds. 

I absolutely loved Carly’s sequined red jacket she choose as part of her outfit for their engagement session.  Carly did a great job of tying in their wedding colors so they can use these images for their save the dates and invitation. 

Please join me in congratulating these two on their engagement!

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The Lone Oak Farm Venue | Wedding venue in Ayr, ND

WEDDING PLANNING

If you’re looking for a modern take on a barn wedding in the Fargo area look no further than the Lone Oak Farm Venue and Events in Ayr, ND.  Lone Oak is the beautiful vision of business partners Melissa and Theresa. 

The Farmhouse

The farmhouse has been completely remodeled since Melissa’s grandmother moved into the nursing home. The farmhouse features a loft with three full-size beds, two full bathrooms on the main floor, and three bedrooms.  Every room in the house lends itself to beautiful photos. Natural light pours into almost every room of the house — a photographer’s dream on a wedding day! 

Bridal Suite

One of the highlights of the house is a room that was once a screened-in porch and is now a beautiful bridal suite with windows on three sides, and a skylight this room is the spot in the house for the bridal party to get all dolled up for the wedding. This room has plenty of outlets, and a mirror for each member of the bride’s entourage to get photo-ready. 

The kitchen is fully stocked with pots, pans, cups, and plates to keep everyone fed.  Brand new appliances including fridge, freezer, oven, dishwasher, and microwave ensure you can host a rehearsal meal or a wedding brunch.  

Work Retreats 

For the Wedding Workshop, we used the living room for our classroom and took advantage of the TV to present my slides for teaching, while attendees got comfy on the couches and overstuffed chairs. One of my favorite things about Lone Oak is you are able to rent the Farmhouse separately from the barn.  This is great for smaller work retreats, or workshops like mine, where you might not need the entire barn. 

The Wedding Venue

The barn itself is absolutely beautiful as is, though I can’t wait until the wooden barn doors are added to the outside to finish off the look. While I was at the workshop I visited with Melissa quite a bit about the building of Lone Oak Farm Venue and Events. She talked about the process of working with an architect.  Originally their architect didn’t want them to add windows to the back wall, but I’m so happy Melissa and Theresa pushed to add windows to the north side. 

This barn is also built to host with a beautiful bar fully stocked, and a commercial kitchen ready to serve up delicious food from your favorite restaurant or chef. 

With a seating capacity of over 300 this space is ready for large weddings, or events. Wood farmhouse-style tables can be arranged to seat 6 guests each or put into long rows for more of a family-style look. Tables are complete with wood chairs to match. As you look up you find the most beautiful wooden beams, which are adorned with chic glass chandeliers. I love that these chandeliers are not too over the top, just enough to accent the beams without overpowering them. 

While the entire barn is beautiful from the rock background on the north side, and the windows along both sides that let light pour in, it’s the loft area that steals the show in my book! This loft area has so much potential use for a wedding day.  

Grooms Area

A big-screen TV is surrounded by beautiful, and comfy leather couches making this loft area a perfect spot for the groom and his groomsmen to get ready for the wedding day. The oversized windows look out across the farm but keep the bride’s suite out of sight with threes and landscaping. This is great for couples who want to do a first look, or who choose to wait to see each other as the bride walks down the aisle. 

The loft area also is a great spot for overflow seating, and a perfect spot for speeches during dinner so everyone can see and hear the toasts. The balcony is definitely a spot I would photograph from during the dance! 

A Patio Made for Cocktail hour

The patio is right behind the bar, with window garage doors that open to the inside.  This is a perfect spot to host either the rehearsal dinner and or cocktail hour after the wedding.  Guest can take in the beautiful landscape, warm up around the fireplace, and enjoy hors d’overs and a glass of wine while they wait for the party to get started. 

Ceremony space 

Built into a semi-circle hill limestone rocks were dug into the hill to create a beautiful ceremony space that reminds me of an outdoor amphitheater. Lush green grass grows between the rows creating a very natural look where a trash pit once sat. — Yep originally this was the site of the farm’s trash pit.  Tons of junk was dug up, and removed to create this unique ceremony space.  I love that the limestone seating also removes the need for chairs helping to keep rental costs down, and eliminating additional people moving things around the morning of the wedding and the evening after the ceremony—which can be distracting! 

Photo Backdrops for Days!

As a photographer, I was absolutely giddy when I pulled up to Lone Oak Farms and saw just how many trees surround the venue!  This is definitely not the norm for a brand new venue!  Giant cottonwood trees grace the western side of the property, creating streams of beautiful light for evening weddings! 

A rope swing hangs from a cottonwood tree to the south of the ceremony space, and that’s all before you even enter the back section of the venue.  One of the things that can be a drawback of wedding venues is all the photos can look the same from wedding to wedding. One of the beautiful things about Lone Oak is the size of the venue! There is so much space to shoot outside for both bride and groom portraits and for large wedding parties! And since the view is going to change so much from season to season photos taken in the same spot in the spring will look vastly different than photos taken in the fall when the colors change. 

This venue is truly a photographer’s dream to shoot at, and with Melissa and Theresa helping out couples as they plan their weddings, it surely is a wedding venue you should definitely consider for your wedding! Want to book a walk-through of the venue? Click here to schedule with Melissa and Theresa, tell them Chelsy sent ya, then come back here and let’s get your engagement session booked–  Did you know you get to use the entire Lone Oak Farm for your engagement session when you book your wedding!? How amazing is that! 

Click here to see more photos from my Wedding Photography Workshop I held at Lone Oak in September 2021! 

Weddings

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