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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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Recap of The Wedding Workshop with Chelsy Weisz | Lone Oak Farm Venue Ayr, ND

Photographer Education

The first Wedding Workshop with Chelsy Weisz was an absolute success.  I learned so much about myself, and about how I teach best, and each of the attendees walked away with a lot of homework, and tons of new skills. 

We started out on Sunday night with a BBQ at the brand new Lone Oak Farm Venue just northwest of Fargo, near Ayr, ND.  

Attendees stayed at the farmhouse where we did our classroom teaching. One of my favorite parts of the classroom sessions was the Branding and Marketing section. We went around to each of the attendees and workshops their brand pillars and nailed down their ideal clients. 

The room was so electric with energy as we rolled through each photographer’s brand pillars. One of the attendees Kelly said it best “I feel like I can see each of our ideal clients and I love how distinctly different they are even though we are all photographers” Finding your brand pillars really is the social sauce to creating a personal brand. 

The first evening of the workshop we photographed the engagement sessions.  The rain was coming so attendees got to work on their feet in less than ideal conditions to make it work.  Had this been a regular engagement session I would have possibly tried to reschedule, but you don’t always get the luxury of rescheduling so we worked with what we had! 

The next morning we were back in the classroom for a few hours before the venue was transformed into a mock wedding. Our amazing team of vendors did such an amazing job bringing my visions to life. — Yep I said visions.  We created three different looks to help attendees create full portfolios! 

We started off the wedding shoot with styling bridal details just like we would on a wedding day! One of the neat things about this workshop was I included three different invitation sets one for each theme. Since each invitation suite varies so much from wedding to wedding I wanted to ensure workshop attendees got to practice with elaborate invitations like our citrus theme from Designed with Amore to moderate suites like jewel-toned velvet theme suite provided by the paper vow as well as simple invitations like the ones we chose for the boho theme from coral balloon. Not only did attendees get to style all three sets, but they also got to take one of each set home to continue to practice with!

It was hard to choose a favorite theme.  Boho neutrals embodied the very popular theme of 2020 and 2021. Steph of Botanica Floristry used beautiful strawflowers, dahlias, and my favorite koko loco roses for the bouquets. This was also our ceremony set up which also included hucurellas, shrubs, and cosmos. 

Lizzie of Faces by Lizzie set the tone for our day with makeup for our models. This former Miss North Dakota certainly knows her way around a makeup pallet and I’m so thankful to have found her last minute on Facebook!

Affairs by Brittany of Fargo brought in an entire rack of dresses for our two models to wear throughout the day. Amanda the manager at Affairs by Brittany was so wonderful to work with, and even stepped in to be our honorary bridesmaid helping our brides get dressed, and styled! Amanda even brought some jewelry from her shop Etsy shop Clay and Fern Co. for models to wear.

Lexi and Bryan our NDSU athletes who recently got engaged modeled for the citrus pop theme and the boho theme. Maya and Chris who just celebrated their wedding had time to model all three looks, which meant lots of dress changes for Maya, and a few suit and tie swaps for Chris!

Tayler of Taylily Lettering created the most delicate and personalized details for the wedding from vow books, and love letters, to a GIANT hand-lettered seating chart on a beautiful mirror from White House Co. She also created beautiful seating cards for the citrus pop theme in bright colors, on handmade paper! The beautiful handwritten quote above the guest book for the boho theme was also done by Tayler! – If you are in need of any personalized touches for your wedding definitely reach out to her! She ships almost anything— with the exception of mirrors! 

Marie of Mama H Sweets and Treats was also one of our models for the engagement session shoot! Marie and her husband Paul, and their two girls were such troopers in the rain! Her cakes are seriously works of art! I could not believe how beautiful the boho cake was when she unloaded at the venue. It featured glass candy! The citrus pop cake was delicious! Our models Maya and Chris cut the cake and everyone got to enjoy a slice of cake! — a well-deserved treat after two days of teaching and learning! 

The girls at White House Co. in Fargo were gracious enough to turn me loose in their warehouse to pull pieces of their collection to bring each of the themes to life, including plates silverware, glasses, candles, pillows, and tablecloths. You should have seen how loaded down my car was to and from the venue! 

I learned a lot from hosting my first workshop. There are definitely some parts of the workshop that will get revamped, and taught in different ways. Other sections will be condensed and some will be elaborated on.  I am so darn proud of this workshop and I can’t wait to watch how it evolves, and how attendees grow after our time spent together. 

Sure there were things that were not perfect, but done is better than perfect, and this workshop was just the starting point for many to come.  If you are interested in joining me at the next two-day intensive workshop click here to get your name on the waitlist! 

Vendors 

Venue- @loneoakfarmvenue 

Flowers –@botanicafloristry 

Cake –@mamahsweets

Dresses – @affairsbybrittanyfargo 

Makeup-  @facesbylizzie

Handlettering – @taylilylettering 

Rentals – @whitehouse.co

Invitations 

@designedwithamore -citrus 

@coralballoon -boho

@thepapervow – jewel tones 

Video-  @remmediaco 

Models 

Lexi @lexijordheim

Bryan @bryannohava

Maya & Chris @mayasir.k 

Photographers

@chelsyweisz

@kelly_spencer_photography 

@Farrah Clark Photography

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Work-Life Balance for Photographers

The Wise Photographer Podcast

Work-life balance, it’s this catchy flashy word that people preach in the business world but what does it actually mean?  Today I’m chatting all about what work-life balance means to me and the tools and resources I use to find this “balance”.  

How my business and motherhood stories started

The early months of my business were tough, there were a lot of tears, both from me and my 6-month-old daughter. I was trying to find my place in the new roles of mom and wife, and I was barely keeping my head above water. My journey into motherhood came a little sooner than I had thought it would.  I was a sophomore in college when I found out I was pregnant.  My pregnancy brought my collegiate rodeo career to a sliding stop. 

Skyler was born in August we got married in October and I took on my first paid clients in February. 

escaped life responsibilities with work

I’ll be totally honest my business was almost a way for me to escape these new roles I had suddenly found myself in earlier than I had anticipated. For the first few months, I threw myself into work, figuring out my camera, learning how to build a website, going on shoots.  Thankfully Skyler was too young to realize her mom was pretty absent, but I’ll be real, my marriage was being strained.  

We didn’t have outside daycare so I was leaning on my husband and my inlaws to watch Sky at the drop of a hat. Now I totally believe that both mom and dads can watch kids, it’s not just mom’s job but I was not being totally fair about things. Eventually, it all came to a head and I found myself crying on the bathroom floor feeling like I was going to have to give up my business to make things work with my family.  

Sky loved playing with my reflectors when she was little

I actually moved my desk onto the kitchen table so I could keep an eye on Skyler while I worked

things had to change

I knew things had to change, I had to figure out a way to run my business without my putting my relationships in jeopardy. 

Now when we talk about work-life balance I don’t think this looks like a perfectly symmetrically balance scale.  So what does this mean?

What does balance actually mean?

If I place a 1 pound rock on one side of a scale, and 1 pound of feathers on the other they will weigh the same the scale is balanced right they both weigh 1 pound.  But if you look at the rock that is just one rock the feathers that is going to be a lot of feathers to weigh 1 pound. 

So we might end up spending more time on one thing and less time on another one day, but that thing we spent less time doing might have an equal amount of weight. Now this can go either way with family and work.  

Somedays I can spend endless hours doing a lot of little things in my business that takes a lot of time, and not spending as much time with my kids that day.  But when I sit down with my kids at the end of the day I get to choose how intentional I am with that time.  Am I sitting on my phone scrolling Instagram, or am I building forts, watching them ride horses, or playing in the sandbox with them. 

Now I can also spend a ton of time with my kids and just a few very focused hours or even minutes on my business that can really move things forward. The goal is to make the time you have count. 

As I got more experience under my belt I started to focus on families first.  I had read everywhere that it was important to niche down, and not to photograph everything and everyone. This helped me out a ton.

Standard Operating Procedure – aka client workflow

When I focused on one type of client I was able to create a standard operating procedure. — see I learned something from business school before I dropped out. 

So a standard operating procedure is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routine operations. Basically, once I had booked a few clients I could start to see a pattern, they would reach out I would send them my pricing, they hopefully would say yes we want to book I would send over the contract they would sign I could get paid and then show up and shoot the session. 

Now your standard operating procedure or client workflow as I like to refer to it can be super simple or you can get fancy and add more things into it, like welcome packets, thank you gifts, reminder emails, whatever that workflow is get it all out on paper so you can see what needs to be done when.

Once you get that all out on paper, look for things you can automate or streamline to keep things running quickly and simply. Basically, you want to look for things that take you a lot of time, or undivided attention.

work life balance for photographers how to do it all while being a great mom

Email Templates

So last episode I chatted a little about email templates and you guessed it I’m going to chat about it again.

I found that I was spending a lot of time on my computer emailing clients back and forth.  The worst part is I was retyping the same emails over and over while Skyler played on my office floor behind me. 

When I was photographing families these are the email templates I used. 

An inquiry email, that had my pricing and packages, links to my portfolio, and then I would ask if when they wanted to book their session for. 

Email Reminders

I also created a reminder email. This went out about 24 hours before the session and let them know what to expect at the session.  When I photograph kids I really like to chat with the kids first to kinda warm them up before I pulled out this giant camera and pointed it in their face.  I realized that often parents felt like I was maybe wasting time getting started, and would often answer the questions I was asking the kids to break the ice.  So in this reminder email, I explained to them that I would take a few minutes, in the beginning, to warm the kid up to me, get to know them so that we could capture those real smiles moms loved. 

set expectations

This was really helpful because it let me set expectations for my clients, so I could meet them and hopefully exceed them! 

I also would send an email right after the session to thank clients for a great session, and then I would let them know when they would get their images back.  Now this is outlined in my contracts, and we probably talked about it when they booked the session, but I was finding that clients would just be so excited to see sneak peeks, and to get their final galleries back.  

follow up email after the session

So this follow-up / thank you email outlined when sneak peeks would be up on the blog, and when and how they would get their digital images. This is how I would set expectations for clients.– now, here is a little secret– if you know it will take you 7 days to edit a wedding or session or whatever you are photographing, DO NOT tell your client they will be ready in 7 days. Always give yourself more time than you think it will take. –ALWAYS– first life happens kids get sick, you get sick the dog has to go to the vet, or you have to run to town for parts.  So you want to build yourself some padding on that timeline.  

There is another reason you want to give a longer timeline.  If things go according to plan and it does only take you 7 days to finish editing, but you told your clients it would be 10 days, then you get to deliver your images early!  This is how you exceed your client’s expectations. 

By finding these spots that were taking up my time and energy and streamlining them I was able to take that time back and pour it into other areas of my life. 

Pre determining my shooting days at the start of the season

One of the best and scariest things I did next to find some work-life balance was to pre-schedule my shoot days.

So what do I mean by prescheduling my shooting days. 

I had to sit down and really understand that 1 I did not need to photograph sessions every night and 2 I didn’t want to, I wanted to spend Sunday at home with my family, I didn’t want to miss birthday parties because someone wanted me to shoot that day. 

family first

So I sat down with my calendar and penciled in all our family events first.  Birthdays vacations, school holidays, all those things I was starting to miss out on when on the calendar first.

Then I looked at that calendar, and my husband’s work calendar and we lined up the dates that I could shoot.  Those are the dates I offered to clients who wanted to book.  

Now, this was really scary at first.  What if clients could make those dates work, I’ll never book anyone, These are all thoughts that raced through my head until I put this into practice.

supply and demand

So when someone wants to book with me I give them the first three dates I have set aside for shooting. I let them know if these don’t work let me know and I can get you the next few dates later in my schedule.  This does a few things 1 it shows clients that you have your stuff together.  2 It makes you sound like you are in demand. – Think about it if you were scheduling surgery on and they said well when do you want to schedule it we are available every day, that kinda makes them sound like they don’t have any clients– Why don’t they have other patients? when you are having surgery, you want your doctors to have other patients too, you don’t want to be the only one. 

As moms our time is valuable, and we need to value it.  When we predetermine our shooting days we have time to line up sitters, or get things lined up for meals, or rides to practice.

added bonus – confidently raised my prices

This also helped me to raise my prices when it was time.  You see I was starting to book out pretty far in advance, there was definitely a demand for my service, there were only a limited number of sessions I was taking so this meant I could raise my prices with confidence! As photographers it’s not always easy to be able to figure out ahead of time how much money you will make, but when you re determine your shooting days you have a better chance at figuring out that number. 

Okay so we chatted about how we need to create a standard operating procedure or a client workflow, we also talked about how we can use email templates to save ourselves from re-typing the same emails over and over. We talked about predetermining our schedule so we can line up child care easier, and how that can help us to raise our prices, now it’s time for the number one thing that helped me save more time, and create a killer client experience.  

Outsourcing your editing.

Outsourcing your editing sounds so scary I know.  When I tell you to outsource your editing you probably are thinking, I’ll lose control, the photos won’t look like my work, or that is way to expensive. Hold your roll my friends lets break those down.

what the process looks like

Okay, let’s talk about what it looks like first to outsource your editing. Imagine going home after a session and culling the images, then you send a lightroom catalog to your editor, and you get to take the next 4 days off. No endless nights staring at a computer, no more spending playtime with your kids removing telephone poles from backgrounds in photoshop. Four days later you get an email that images are done, you download them double-check that they look great and you then export images before uploading them to your client gallery. 

Doesn’t that sound amazing! But you’re probably thinking but what about losing control, or it not looking like my work or the cost.

Won’t I lose control?

Okay, let’s talk about it. Losing control

If you’re not editing it can feel like your losing control, but your not.  When you first start working with an editor, whether it’s a big company like Photographers Edit or an independent editor like Jenny Dakota Photo Editor you sit down with them and explain your aesthetic, you show them your editing style, then they take some of your raw photos and duplicate your style, then you go through and critic it, let them know what needs to change, what you like what you don’t like.

communication is key!

This takes some time. It takes communication, but it is so so so worth it in the long run.  I know it sounds scary, but you are in control of this, and by outsourcing your editing, you are taking back control over your time! The better you are at taking your time in this process, and communicating the better the outcome.  You will be able to ensure that every session or wedding you send off to edit looks exactly like your work. 

Sounds expensive

Okay, let’s talk about the cost.  Outsourcing your editing sounds like it would cost a lot of money, right? It does cost money, it’s called the cost of doing business. Photo editors charge generally by the image. Most editors and companies are charging about 25 cents an image right now at the time of this recording.  The turnaround time will vary anywhere from 4 – 10 days. 

If I’m shooting a session and I’m going to deliver let’s say 65 images at 25 cents an image that’s only $16.25 – now this is basic color correcting and using lightroom presets not complex photoshop retouching. Photoshop retouching will run about $2-3 an image so for things like newborn sessions that might cost a little more, but in my book, my time is way more valuable than 2-3$. 

trust the process

Whenever you start working with an editor whether it’s a private editor or a company expect it to take a little bit of time to get things straightened out.  Have some grace, it took you some time to figure out your editing style, and a few trials and errors to get that style to work with the way you shoot images. 

Most companies and editors will have some type of trial run where you will upload images from they will edit them based on your style and then you will meet up after to discuss what looks good, and what needs to be tweaked. It is a process and it takes some time upfront but friend this is going to save you so much time down the road it is so so so worth it. 

work-life balance is never an equal scale

Like I said in the beginning, work-life balance is not going to look like equal amounts of time spend on your work and living life, it’s going to ebb and flow back and forth on the amount of time. The key is to make sure that whatever time you are spending is time well spent. If you only have a few hours during nap time, or in between classes you want that time to be used well. So you can serve your clients well, and still enjoy your life.  

If you want to still be in business 10 years from now it is so important to make sure that you are creating boundaries and systems that set you up for long-term success.

Chelsy Weisz

Alrighty my friend that is it for this episode, I will see you in the next one!

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5 Tools for Photographers as Bookings Increase After COVID | Episode 33 The Wise Photographer Podcast

Photographer Education

Restrictions are starting to lift, and brides who have held off on planning weddings are starting to come out of the woodwork.  21 and 22 are shaping up to be very busy for a lot of photographers including myself, which is super exciting, and a little nerve-wracking. 

My inbox has been flooded with inquiries lately which I am super thankful for, and I hope yours is too!  With the sudden onslaught of inquiries and bookings, there are some key tools and resources I have been using every day to keep things running efficiently.  Today I’m sharing the top 5 tools and resources I’m using to keep everything streamlined, and efficient so I can keep in contact with potential clients, without leaving my kids on red while I do. 

About halfway through January, I started seeing an increase in wedding client inquiries.  Brides were finding me through social media, referrals, and google searches. September 4th seems to be the date to book a wedding this year in my area! 

As bookings begin to pick up I wanted to take a minute to share some of the tools and resources I’m leaning on heavily right now.  If you know me at all you know that I like efficiency.  I like when things run smoothly.  

#1 Email Templates

The first thing on my list is email templates.  Now I have an episode coming up where I’m going over the email templates I use in my business, but for now here are the highlights. 

When we talk about building personal brands it can sound a little counterintuitive to use canned responses or email templates. Email templates do a few things for your business and your sanity.  When you sit down and thoughtfully craft an email template, you are able to be intentional about the information you want to get across, as well as the voice you use when creating it.  Often when we are emailing clients back quickly and shooting from the hip by writing new emails every time we can leave out some of our personality, or important information. 

By writing these email templates ahead of time you are able to be very intentional with your words, links you use, and the overall feel of your emails.  You don’t need to sound like a robot in these emails. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to send the exact template to each client.  I like to think of my email templates as starting points, I almost always will add in things that make the emails more personal to each client. 

I like for my emails to include helpful links to things brides might be wondering.  By gathering up these links ahead of time and having them pre-linked in a template, I save a ton of time, and I’m able to answer questions for brides often before they even start looking for the answer. 

Email templates save a ton of time.  You are able to reply faster and have consistent experiences for your clients.

My most use Email Templates

My first email template is what I call my lookbook email.  This is the email I send when someone reaches out wanting to know my pricing, and if I’m available on their wedding date.  This email is a bit on the longer side and includes a lot of information but it’s all information that potential clients might need before deciding if they want to work with me. 

My lookbook Email

This email includes a link to what I call my lookbook. I’ll get into a bit more of what my look book is, in a minute, but basically, it has my portfolio, my pricing, and a few more things. Generally, people have filled out a form on my website asking for more information and want to see exact pricing.  On my website I don’t share my full pricing, I do share a range of what the average client invests, which does a great job of prequalifying potential clients. 

Keep pricing at the top of the email

I like to keep that pricing link at the top of the email since that is the information they are asking about. 

Next, I ask potential clients some questions about them as a couple, how wedding planning is going, and a few other questions that help me determine if we will be a good fit.  If you head back to episode 3 we talked about how we don’t need to be the photographer for everyone. It’s impossible to photograph every single person who wants photos taken even in a small town!   These questions help me to determine if this potential client is one of those clients I want to work with.  

Wedding photography is a big deal, you work with a lot of people on the wedding day, the bride the groom, their friends, and family.  There is a lot of pressure to get things right.  I want to ensure I am the right person for the job, both for my client’s sake, and my own sanity. 

Ask what package they want to book

The final question is about my packages basically it asks them to choose between my two wedding day packages, so when they follow up I know what package they are interested in, and I can send over their proposal. 

The next thing this lookbook email contains is a link to testimonials from past couples I’ve worked with.  Even though this is included in the lookbook, I link directly to that part of the lookbook.  This helps to establish my authority, and build trust that I know what I’m doing, and that they will be well taken care of throughout the entire wedding photography experience. 

The end of my email links to Instagram and some of my Instagram story highlights that help them get to know me a little better. 

Bismarck Wedding Photographer North Dakota

Pre Wedding Day Email

The email template I use the most is a pre-wedding day email this email goes out about 8 days before the wedding.  This email helps to calm some nerves and help the bride get excited and ready for the start of wedding day photos.  The first thing I photograph on a wedding day generally is the wedding details so things like the dress, flowers, invitations, jewelry, all of those fun details.  

Educating Brides

This email lists all of these things out so the bride knows what she needs to have ready when.  One of the things I include is to make sure that the bride has her bouquets delivered by the time I get there so we can photograph those beautiful flowers.  A lot of my brides get married on family farms instead of traditional wedding venues.  Because of this, I like to educate my brides on choosing a location to get ready in.  I explain that it helps to pick a room with windows and keep it clear of clutter.  This might mean having the bride’s maids get dressed in a separate room so the room we are getting the bride dressed in is photo-ready. 

I encourage my brides to forward this email to their maid of honor so she can help round up those details on the wedding day and help the bride pick a great room to get ready in. 

Delivery Email

The final email I use the most is my delivery email. This email includes the link to the couple’s wedding photos.  It also gives instructions on how to download images ensuring that they back up their images, and lets them know how long I will keep images backed up.  

I also chat a bit about how they can share images on social media.  I personally don’t watermark my images because I don’t want them to take away from the beauty of the images.  I ask my couples to tag me on social media whenever they share and let them know just how much this helps me to grow my business since I don’t pay for advertising. 

I love benign able to save time, and ensure each client is getting all the information they need in each email I send them.  This is why email templates are so vital to my business. 

#2 My LookBook

So my lookbook is a page on my website, but you could also create a pdf with the same concept! 

Brides get to know me and my work

My lookbook includes a bio about me and my business. My portfolio includes my wedding day photos, engagement photos, as well as some featured weddings.  I like to include a full wedding gallery so couples know exactly what to expect.  This shows everything including family formals and dancing shots.  It also lets them get a feel of my editing, including if they will get all images in color and black and white, or if it’s just a select few in black and white. 

The look book also includes my philosophy on wedding photography.  This includes why I include engagement sessions with each wedding package I book.  I also share love notes or testimonials from past clients. This helps to build trust, and brag on myself a bit.

View Pricing

The next thing the lookbook includes is pricing.  Now I intentionally don’t share the pricing at the very beginning.  I want them to see what is included first, I want them to see the photos, and I want them to read how great of an experience other couples have had with me before they see the pricing.  I do not want to work with lower-budget weddings.  I just don’t want to be working every single weekend, so in order to create the income, and the lifestyle I want to live I need to book fewer higher-priced weddings.  Brides who are price shopping will look at the price first and then not ever even take the time to read through the rest of the information. 

If brides take the time to read through all of the information first, and check out my portfolio, before getting to pricing, I know they are more likely to be my type of client, and book with me. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The final part of my look book is a frequently asked question this is where I answer questions like how many images will I receive, do I travel for engagement sessions, and when clients will receive final images.  If I find that clients start asking some similar questions I always end up adding those questions to these frequently asked questions. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/wisephotographerpodcast

#3 Honeybook and Trello

The next tool I’m using a ton is Honeybook and Trello I’m grouping these together because I do use them together for my client workflows.

Client Communications

So let’s start with Honeybook.  Honeybook is a client management software or client relationship management software or CRM.  (I had to look up what CRM was the first few times I saw it on a blog post or in a Facebook group.!) 

Honeybook is where I house things like contacts, timelines, emails back and forth with couples.  I also have questionnaires in Honeybook that I have brides fill out so I can keep all the information in one spot.  

I use Zappier to connect Honeybook and Trello.

Track Client Workflows

Trello is where I actually track each client’s workflow. You can go back to episode 23  on April 9th, 2020 for a recap of client workflows. I love using Trell of for this because I can see all my client’s progress from a glace in one spot.  While Honeybook does allow you do create tasks, it’s a little clunky for me.  

Plus the visual of Trello is awesome for my brain!  If you want to see exactly how I use Trello, you can watch my walk-through video at Trelloforphotography.com and you can find out how to get your hands on my exact workflow and Trello boards! 

You will also learn exactly how I hook up Trello and honeybook inside trello for photography. 

#4 iCalendar App

So iCalendar is not the iCal app that comes on your iPhone.  It’s a $3.99 purchase, but it’s the best calendar for your phone or iPad.  

One of the things I love is you can set it to open to week view, month view or day view when you open the app.  I personally love the month view.  Now from the month view, you can actually see what appointments or meetings are scheduled.  Unlike the native ical app where it just shows you the little dots.  It syncs with google calendar, and you can sync your honeybook calendar with it.  I love that I can color code everything in the app too. 

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My husband works an 8 and 6-day schedule so being able to see what days he is working and what days are off from a glance is so handy for this busy momma.  I have used and wasted so much money on calendar apps in the past but this has been my tried and true for over 4 years now and I  recommend it to my mom friends all the time! 

#5 Welcome Packet Packing Station

I’ve got an episode planned in the future going over my welcome packet thanks to all the interest I had on a recent Instagram reel.  If you want to check that out you can find me on Instagram @chelsywiesz – I know my name is spelled super weird but it works. – though I’m still a little bummed I’ll never find my name on a keychain! 

Anyway, what do I mean by welcome packet packing station?  So basically I have a shelf in my office that houses all of the things that go into creating my welcome packets.  I have my welcome guides all printed out.  I have the cards that I use to write my brides a not on, I keep a stack of the flat boxes behind the shelf so I can fold them up.  I had the cutest little ring dishes made by a local potter and those are all stacked on the shelf.  

Stamps.com for shipping

I use stamps.com to print my shipping labels so I have my scale and my shipping labels on the shelf ready to go. I also keep a bag of crinkle paper i use for padding in the box there, and hte stickers that go on the outside of the box ready to go. 

 Having all of these things lined up means I’m not running around trying to track down all of the things.  I can get it all packaged up and walk it out to the mailbox in just a few minutes. Even though I don’t shoot a high number of weddings each year I still want to make this an efficient system. 

Pre planning

At the beginning of each year, I sit down and decide what I want to include in my welcome packets.  I then will order just enough supplies to fill welcome packets for the number of weddings I want to shoot that year.  Honestly, I tend to order 2-3 extra sets since sometimes I book brides well in advance.  Now the boxes did come in a big pack of 50 or 100 I can’t remember off the top of my head.  I keep the extras in the attic and just bring down the number I need for that year. It was cheaper to order those in bulk and that is something I’m going to need no matter what. – plus I’ve used them for gift boxes too. 

All of these tools help me to be efficient with this sudden increase of inquiries, and bookings, so I can deliver a great client experience to each client without pulling out my hair! 

I’d love to hear how is your 2021 and 2022 seasons looking? Have you seen an increase in inquiries?  I’d love to hear from you!  If you are not already part of our Facebook group you can search for Wise Photographer Podcast Insiders on Facebook.

That’s it for today’s episode catch ya in the next one! 

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Finally Understand What ISO is, and How it Affects Photos

New Photographers

When you first get your camera and want to learn how to use it you probably took to the internet.  Because who has time or patients to read a user’s manual?!  Trying to figure out how to use your new camera can be frustrating. There are all these terms like ISO aperture, shutter speed, white balance, exposure compensation, the list goes on By now you may have stumbled over something called the exposure triangle.  

What is the exposure triangle? 

The exposure triangle is made up of three things ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. Today we are going to be focusing on ISO.  For me, this was the tricker one for me to wrap my head around especially when you see most people explaining it simply as how sensitive your camera is to light.  

While technically that is correct, that explanation didn’t really make sense to my very visual brain. I had to reach back into  the filing cabinets of my brain to a photography class I took in 4-H when I was 8.  Now this was back in 1999 so while digital cameras were available they were still very expensive so this was actually a film photography class at a local camera shop in Salina, KS. 

Our instructor was explaining how film worked and what the numbers meant.  Choosing your film is very much like choosing your ISO.  The higher the number the more sensitive your film or your camera is to light.  – Now this doesn’t really help because that’s the same exact explanation you see everywhere else.  

A visual for how ISO works 

The way I learned is you can think of a sheet of paper as your photo if you choose an ISO or a film of 100 you can imagine 100 circles on a page.  Each of these little circles soaks up light.  The more circles there are, the more light the photo soaks up. 

this represents an ISO of 100
This represents an ISO of about 400
This represents an ISO of about 1500
side by side of ISO 100 left and ISO 1500 right

This also helps to visually see how grain in photos happens. 

Camera settings: 1/200 sec f2.8 ISO 1250
Lens: 105mm 2.8

As you get more and more little circles they start to crowd each other, and that crowding causes little distortions in your photo called grain. All the little circles get a little smooshed, and they start to almost overlap. Here is a photo example of what grain looks like if we were to zoom in close.

Camera settings: 1/200 sec f2.8 ISO 1250
Lens: 105mm 2.8

See how on the photo above on the wall there are little specs? That is grain. That is where these circles are squashing up against each other to capture enough light to expose the photo. This photo was taken at a courthouse wedding with very little light.

Why higher ISO?

So why would you ever crank up your ISO to something like 2000?  Well sometimes you are in situations where you need to balance out your exposure triangle with a higher ISO. This can happen when photographing a quick moving subject in a dark setting. You need your shutter speed quick enough to freeze the motion, and your lens is already maxed out on how wide it opens with your aperture, so you bump up your ISO in hopes of not getting too much grain, and having a photo turn out. 

Photography is an art form!

Some photographers love the grainy look, and this is where your own shooting style comes in.  The one thing about photography is you have to know the rules to break the rules, this is true in any art form really! — I think new photographers start to dig into what technically makes a photo correct that they often forget that photography is an art form and it’s okay to break the rules.  But you have to know how the rules work in order to get the photo you are trying to achieve, so you know what to change or adjust. 

DSLR vs Film

One of the beautiful things about DSLR or digital cameras is you can change your ISO whenever you want. On film cameras you set your ISO when you choose what film to use, and you are stuck there for the entire roll of film. 

Whenever I am getting my settings set for a shoot, or to take photos of my kids, I always set my ISO first.  Often I won’t need to change it once I get started, especially if my lighting situation stays consistent.  If however the sun starts to set, or some dark clouds roll in I may have to bump up my ISO.  

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts all about aperture and shutter speed! 

So did this visualization help you to understand ISO a bit better? Let me know in the comments!

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