Faster than a speeding bullet! Stronger than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

Point is, we'll do whatever it takes to get the picture. We are - - - - - Photography by Joelson.

Now that we have your attention, we are thrilled to announce our brand-spanking-new customer Image Proofing Site, Guestbook, and Blog. The best part is being able to let everyone know about the wide variety of services we offer. We love wedding photography but we want you to know that's not all we do! Maybe you have already checked out our website portrait photo galleries. We are so very excited to announce our new portrait client proofing pages. Starting this year, we will be posting your portrait images on-line, in a private gallery, so you can share them with family and friends. This gives them an opportunity not just to view them, but they can have prints for their very own. I can already hear Grandma's everywhere getting all excited to see the first images of their new grandbabies!! Very soon we'll be posting some of our recent baby photo shoots as a teaser.

We've had a lot of fun putting everything together for you on this extension of our website and we hope you'll enjoy the experience! Onward!!

Photography by Joelson - A Team Approach

July 09, 2016

I just read an article about local photographers that recently appeared in the Fargo Forum.  I must admit the headline caught my eye.  I thought, perhaps, it might be a recitation of some unexpected, delightful, and amazing things that could happen during a wedding event that photographers are often privy to.  In a single day, we (photographers) witness more joy, excitement, anxiety, surprise, happiness, melancholy, stress, satisfaction, disappointment, celebration, and other emotions too hard to identify than in any other job I can think of.  Reunions of family members can sometimes cause more than good times.  (We all have those sandpaper people in our lives who always seem to rub folks the wrong way.  Someday, we might just write that book about our adventures, like we have threatened to do for years.)

But that was not what this article was about.  Instead, it described a sense of frustration and even some defeat in attempting to please customers on a day that is emotionally highly charged for all involved.  For sure, as the article pointed out, a photographer’s job is not an easy and glamorous one.  Cell phones, tablets, and even affordable SLR’s are everywhere.   An occasional WOW photo can be achieved even in the hands of someone who is only capable of pushing a button.  But, as a wedding photographer, your job is not to capture just one or two GOOD images.  Rather it is to document the most important event in the lives of two people.   That requires attention to detail, technical expertise, quick thinking, and built-in radar.

And then there are selfies.  Some people are addicted to images captured digitally, whether it is a photo of their own face or the meal they have just been served in their favorite restaurant.  I mean, dinner, really?!? 

But all of that aside, I felt badly for the photographers who had made the valiant attempt to follow their creative passion and came away with so little satisfaction from their efforts or worse, have made the difficult decision to transition out of the profession.  Because photography, I believe, really is a calling.  It can take years, let me repeat that, years, to understand the technical aspects of lighting and composition and photographic gear depending on your comprehension and learning style.  Now, place yourself in a situation where there are 150 to 250 kindergarten kids, all wanting to go outside to play, or who are hungry and/or crying, or they are tired or they just don’t feel well – dress them up in fancy clothes, and tell them to sit still and smile while you set up lighting or find the best camera angle or adjust their clothing or try TO GET ALL OF THEM TO LOOK AT YOU ONE LAST TIME PLEASE, and pray to the heavens that there might be one image where all of them actually have their eyes open and they look somewhat happy!  STRESS personified! 

Of course, that is a gross exaggeration.  But you get the idea.  A photographer’s job is hard work.  But it is highly rewarding.  You must manage your expectations to be an effective photographer.  And you MUST like people!

At Photography by Joelson, we have discovered one way to “share the stress”.  With three photographers, we “team shoot” which means we share the burden of capturing everything that is happening at an event.  That also allows us to be more efficient and it results in a variety of images that can frustrate a sole photographer.  I realize our approach is somewhat unique, but it works for us.  And it seems to work well. 

The description by one of the photographers of a mother who contacted her months after the wedding to complain about the images her daughter received is a nightmare scenario, to be sure.  We can relate to the need for reassurance and praise that the job done was appreciated.  That is what we live for.  That is why we still do what we do.  We are fortunate to honestly say that we have not received any negative feedback from our clients in the 12 years we have been photographing weddings.  We are proud to share some of the wonderful, unsolicited feedback we have received.  Here are a few examples: 

“This is a dream team of photographers!  So down to earth, friendly, and they have some amazing skills!  I had the honor of having them at our wedding, and it was perfect!  They take away your nerves and stress, and you actually enjoy the normally long process of wedding pictures.  Lol!  By the end of your experience with them you feel as if you gained another set of uncles and an aunt!  Between the three of them they are able to capture so many precious moments that normally go unseen.  I'm so grateful that we were able to work with them on such an important day in our lives.  Hands down most professional, fun, and talented group I have ever met!  Thank you so much for making our day as wonderful as it was!

April Zimney”


“Again we can't express how pleased we are with how all of the photos turned out! The poses were perfect and you captured such beauty on our special day. Our guests commented on your wonderful work and how dedicated you were. They also loved how personable you all were. I always recommend you!

Mary and Josh Dahly”


Mike, Sue and Paul,

Just as I expected with watching you throughout the day at my daughters wedding from beginning to end how professional, and every detail you pursued.

The pictures are great so many beautiful photos, that day is so busy for all involved you really do bring the wedding back to a speed that is much more enjoyable.

Thank you, all, for the wonderful work you do.

~ Mike "Esty"

We invite you to browse through another 50 comments on our website (you can view them by clicking on Applause!  at the top of this page).  They provide a glimpse into the relationships we have built with our couples, parents, students, and families and explains this is why we do what we do.

The most troubling kernel of information I gleaned from the article in the Forum was the closing where there was a list of “thou shalts and thou shalt nots” for guests at a wedding.  In our experience, expecting compliance from others, whether through attitude or your words, can lead only to bad things happening.  As in any human interaction, people do not respond well to being told what to do or to being ordered about or being talked down to.  In our experience in shooting over 200 weddings, blending in with friends and family and keeping a cool head and a smile on your face goes much further than shouting orders or carrying a big stick.  Being a professional means working with all of the drawbacks and drama presented to you and still successfully completing your job – without any expectations that it will be or should be any different. 

All three of us would likely agree, ours is the best job in the world with the most variety and least amount of boredom.  That it is the most exhausting, exhilarating, and heart pounding without have to risk our lives in a car hurtling 200 mph around a racetrack or walking a tightrope between two high-rise buildings.  Come to think of it, that is exactly what it feels like!  BRING IT ON!


June 02, 2016

ATTENTION 2017 HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS!  The 2017 Senior Photography season is right around the corner.


The trick will be to BOOK EARLY. As an added incentive, photography sessions completed in June or July will be DISCOUNTED 10%!

With a two step process, your senior photography experience is very personalized.

FIRST STEP IS A PRE-MEETING where we meet to discuss your ideas and get to know each other.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOELSON DOESN’T WORK BY THE HOUR. You will have our attention for as long as needed to create the images you are looking for.

SCHEDULE YOUR PRE-MEETING NOW.  You will have your choice of the best selection of dates for your photography session. (Remember June and July photography sessions receive a 10% discount!)

Moms and Dads – don’t procrastinate! Dates fill quickly!

Thank you to all our 2016 seniors. We had so much fun getting to know each of you and we appreciate the opportunity to photograph your important senior portraits.

Please browse the images below. You may recognize somebody! For more images visit, click on Senior Gals and Senior Guys.


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Sports Teams - Sheyenne Mustangs and West Fargo Softball

May 03, 2016

Spring means Baseball and Softball Season. This year we had the privilege of creating banners for the West Fargo Sheyenne Mustangs Inaugural Season Baseball team and for the West Fargo Girls Softball team. Thank you to all of you for the opportunity to be your photographers!

Mustangs-Out-of-the-FireMustangs-Out-of-the-Fire WF-Softball-FieldWF-Softball-Field WF-Softball-HappyWF-Softball-Happy WF-Softball-SeriousWF-Softball-Serious We have created banners for the West Fargo Girls Softball team in 2014 and 2015 and also for the Kindred Vikings Girls Softball team in 2015.  These weatherproof banners can be used indoors or out and come with grommets for hanging.  We are able to duplicate the banners in a mini version so each team member can have their own personalized mini banner.  Examples follow.  For more information, contact Photography by Joelson (701) 232-3149.

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January 03, 2016

It has been quite a year! Thank you to all the wonderful people who enriched our lives this year. We appreciate every one of you and thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your lives. We wish all of life's blessings to you. It is our hope that 2016 will bring you health, happiness, joy, and serenity! Have a safe and wonderful celebration tonight!!!!!

PbJ Blog PhotoPbJ Blog Photo





Love and Espionage on Broadway - A Jared and Katlyn Love Story

September 14, 2015
LOVE AND ESPIONAGE ON BROADWAY - A Jared and Katlyn Love Story
Several weeks ago our phone rang at the studio. There was a man's voice on the other end of the line. He wanted to know if we were busy on Friday night. "Why?" I asked. "I am going to ask my girlfriend to marry me and I need to have it photographed," he told me. I love a good surprise. This was going to be a big one and we, unfortunately, were not available on the night in question. I was bummed. I thought we had missed an opportunity to witness a great photo love story. I was wrong.
A couple of weeks later the phone rang again and the man asked about the upcoming weekend. We hadn't missed the opportunity after all. Apparently he was having some difficulty making all the stars align which was our good fortune. This time we were available on the night in question. But now we needed more information. A meeting was set to go over the clandestine details. On the day of the meeting, we arrived at the Fargo Theater - the scene of the "crime" as it turned out - and met our operative, Jared, for the first time. He explained his plan to us. Since we always photograph as a team of three, we would be able to provide coverage from several locations in the area which was of huge importance to Jared. We discussed specifics, gave him some technical advice, and decided on a timeframe. The countdown began.
Several days later, we texted Jared to alert him that we were on our way to the Fargo Theater to take our positions and make all the necessary technical arrangements before their arrival. He texted back that he would let us know as soon as they left their house and were on their way. When we arrived at the theater, we found a small crowd had gathered and there were people with video cameras and large spotlights and other gear on scene. We thought "Wow! Jared is doing this one up right!" but soon discovered the hoopla was for another reason. It was 'Madd Frank Presents Madd Frank' night at the Fargo Theater!! A beeping in my pocket let me know a text had just arrived. It was Jared. "We are on our way!" it announced. Now we were concerned. We did not know if the crowds of people would cause problems viewing the proposal and thus prohibit our creating the kinds of pictures Jared hoped for. Normally the front of the Fargo Theater is a no parking zone but on this night, there were cars stopping so passengers who needed extra assistance could get out in front of the theater. We were becoming increasingly worried as time passed not knowing how it would all come together once Jared and Katlyn arrived.
Once again my phone beeped letting me know a text had been received. The text read "north side" and we knew they were close by. Thankfully, by that time nearly everyone had already entered the theater and the street was once again relatively clear in the designated proposal location. We saw the couple approach and we went to work. The images that follow tell the rest of their story.
We want to thank Jared and Katlyn (although she didn't know she was going to be a part of this photographic encounter!) for providing the opportunity for us to capture their romantic, and covert, love story moment. And yes, Jared, we did hold our breath when the ring fell to the ground! But we have one heckuva picture showing exactly when it happened! Very nice retrieve, sir!!!
Act 1 - Fargo Theatre.  The story begins.  Jared Toso and Katlyn Conzemius marriage proposal.
Crowd arriving for show at Fargo Theatre.
Toso-Proposal-0004-Toso-Proposal-0004- I swear this is what the other side of the marquee read.  No joke.
Toso-Proposal-0005-Toso-Proposal-0005- Our stars, Jared and Katlyn, arrive on set at the Fargo Theatre.
Toso-Proposal-0007-Toso-Proposal-0007- Jared begins his speech to an unsuspecting Katlyn.
Toso-Proposal-0017-Toso-Proposal-0017- Passersby, witnesses if you will, observing Jared and Katlyn in deep conversation at the Fargo Theatre.
Toso-Proposal-0021-Toso-Proposal-0021- The plot thickens.  He hasn't asked her yet.
Toso-Proposal-0024-Toso-Proposal-0024- A marriage proposal about to take place.
Toso-Proposal-0028-Toso-Proposal-0028- Ooops! the ring is on the loose!  What are the chances a ring would fall and land on its edge!
Toso-Proposal-0030-Toso-Proposal-0030- A quick retrieve and the ring is safely back in it's case.  Katlyn seems overjoyed.  This will be one of those moments they'll talk about years from now.
Toso-Proposal-0032-Toso-Proposal-0032- Popping the big question on the sidewalk in front of the Fargo Theatre.  Two unsuspecting witnesses arrive on scene.
Toso-Proposal-0036-Toso-Proposal-0036- She must have said Yes!  Jared placing the ring on Katlyn's finger at the Fargo Theatre.
Toso-Proposal-0047-Toso-Proposal-0047- Closeup of the ring being placed on Katlyn's finger by her fiance Jared.  This image created by photographer across the street from the Fargo Theatre.
Toso-Proposal-0049-Toso-Proposal-0049- Katlyn admiring the ring a smiling Jared just placed on her finger.  The news is beginning to sink in.
Toso-Proposal-0051-Toso-Proposal-0051- A beaming Katlyn smiles at her new fiance Jared in front of the Fargo Theatre. Toso-Proposal-0054-Toso-Proposal-0054-  Jared confessing to his new fiance that she is being photographed by three photographers cleverly concealed across the street.
Toso-Proposal-0069-Toso-Proposal-0069- Jared makes eye contact with one of the photographers across the street while Katlyn searches for them.  He must be thinking, "I really pulled this off!"
Toso-Proposal-0076-Toso-Proposal-0076- Jared points to one of three photographers capturing the images from across the street.
Toso-Proposal-0078-Toso-Proposal-0078- Katlyn spots one of the photographers who just successfully captured their marriage proposal.
Toso-Proposal-0090-Toso-Proposal-0090- Jared and Katlyn embrace in love after he proposed and she said yes!  
Toso-Proposal-0092-Toso-Proposal-0092- Sealed with a  kiss!
Toso-Proposal-0103-Toso-Proposal-0103- Jared about to introduce Katlyn to the Photography by Joelson team.
Toso-Proposal-0114-Toso-Proposal-0114- Katlyn admiring her ring.
Toso-Proposal-0119-Toso-Proposal-0119- A closeup of the symbol of love for Jared and Katlyn.  
Toso-Proposal-0120-Toso-Proposal-0120- The happy couple.  No more espionage.  We're all on the same side of the street.
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