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Friday, May 29, 2015


I’ve been spending some time in the Beartooth Mountains, and I’m getting excited for mountain weddings this summer! The weather is still too cold and unpredictable for typical mountain weddings, but more daring brides and grooms are already tying the knot in the mountains of Montana. Personally I can’t get enough of the mountains no matter what time of year it is or how bad the weather might be. Thanks to my awesome clients, I’ll be in the mountains a lot in the next few months with mountain engagements and weddings throughout the summer. Stay tuned for a lot more mountain action on the blog soon!

This photo is an outtake from a bridal fashion editorial I did last spring in the mountains with an outstanding team led by Katie Bennett and Cassie LaGreca.  Billings Montana is so lucky to have these awesome ladies raising the bar for all things weddings, floral, and design.  Full credits below.

Photographer: Paul Bellinger
Model: Hayley Anderson 
Styling: Cassie LaGreca Better To Gather Events
Flowers: Katie Bennett Mac's Floral
Hair and Makeup: Kendra Halvorsen
Rentals: Party Time Plus
Assistant: Kaushik "Babu" Mukherjee

I am Montana wedding photographer Paul Bellinger.  I specialize in dramatic, fine art wedding photography that you would be proud to call your first family heirloom.  I shoot weddings large and small, from the beaches to the mountains, and it would be my honor to photograph your wedding.  Please visit www.paulbellinger.com for more information.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


We’ve had a lovely cool and rainy streak this mid-May and it’s created some beautiful conditions in the mountains. Snow is possible pretty much all year around in the Beartooth Mountains, especially at higher elevations, so I wasn’t surprised to see a light dusting of snow and frost on the foothills of the Beartooths outside of Red Lodge Montana.  It made for a magical scene with cold and foggy conditions in the mountains, obscured by clouds, while the lower meadows are a lush green, complete with grazing cattle.  Montana is sure beautiful!  We can’t get enough of it!

Tips for photographers: This photo was made next to Highway 78 North of Red Lodge with a 135mm lens on a full frame Sony A7ii body. Montana makes for easy pickings sometimes, you just have to pull over and that’s about it. I prefer a longer lens for my “side of the road” landscape photography because it allows you to isolate a more narrow scene and eliminate distracting foreground elements that you otherwise can’t control because you’re stuck on the road and can’t hike up closer to search for the perfect foreground.  So I tend to compress the foreground with a longer lens, either my 135mm or 70-200mm.  The 135mm is lighter and smaller so it’s almost always in my bag.

I am Billings Montana wedding and portrait photographer Paul Bellinger.  Please visit www.paulbellinger.com for wedding and portrait bookings.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Kaylee is one of the coolest and most confident people I’ve met since moving to Montana. She’s from Roy Montana but that hasn’t hampered her fashion sense or her taste in rap music (like me), which is something of a rarity in Montana. She’s a natural and a knockout in front of the camera, so we had a blast in the studio jamming to our favorite rap tunes. Roy Montana must be a special place because everyone I’ve met from Roy is awesome.  Thanks for rocking your shoot Kaylee! You are so badass!  Stay tuned for more from this shoot soon.

Tips for photographers: This was a fantastic shoot. Kaylee brought a confident, badass energy that was refreshing. From picking her clothes, to posing, she’s on point. It was inspiring for me, so the shoot went great. The first photo is lit with a single bare strobe with a 7-inch reflector. This light is about 12 feet a way so it lights up everything evenly with little falloff.  It’s a very hard light from such a small light source placed so far away, so the shadows are very sharp, as you can see under her nose and on the wall behind her. The light was directly in front of Kaylee but I moved to her right to create the angle, which you can judge by the shadows.  I normally use this lighting technique on my white wall and it lights the white very nice and evenly. This was my first time using this setup on my black wall and I like it.

I am dedicated to raising the bar for portrait photography in Billings Montana. I’m working hard in the studio, constantly refining my techniques so that my team and I can always create modern, stylish portraits that make a timeless impact.  Visit www.portraits.paulbellinger.com to schedule a portrait sitting.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


One of the perks of being an artist is hanging out with other artists. I was lucky to meet artists Troy and Coila Evans not long after moving to Billings at an Art Walk event. I went to a show featuring the work of two local photographers, and Troy’s work was there also. My wife immediately loved his work, and meanwhile I noticed Troy was the only person in the room with a beer. So I inquired about the beer and he offered me one out of his personal stash. We’ve been friends ever since! But I’m also a big fan of Troy’s work (my wife has great taste) and it is an honor to photograph it from time to time. Here are two of my favorite pieces that I photographed from Troy’s recent solo show at Catherine Louisa Gallery. The portrait of Troy was taken after the Art Walk a week after his opening. Several photographers and a few other artists were having a little after party at my studio and of course we couldn’t help but turn on the strobes and have some fun.  See and purchase Troy’s work here: http://blockhorsedesigns.com

Tips for photographers: This portrait is something that happened on the spur of the moment but was about a month in the making.  A month before this portrait happened, my friend and mentor Ken Jarecke turned me on to the portrait work of Marco Grob.  I was impressed with Grob and studied his work for weeks, trying to decipher his lighting techniques.  I watched as much BTS material as I could find, and enlisted the help of my good friend and lighting expert Zak Jokela.  When it was time for the Art Walk to come around I knew there was a good chance we’d have a crowd of notable subjects in the studio afterwards for a night cap.  So right at the start of Art Walk I met Zak at the studio and set up the basics of the lighting and tested a few shots.  We didn’t want to miss the parties, so we left in a hurry, hoping we might have subjects later.  Our plan paid off, and after an evening of wining and dining in art galleries, we had a late night crew assembled in the studio.  Zak and I tinkered with a few other photographers posing for us and quickly honed in the lighting technique we wanted to run with.  After that we just played around all night while everyone was having a good time.  I am so thankful to have friends like Zak, Troy, and others that love to experiment and push each other to new heights.  Meeting and hanging with these other artists is one of the highlights of my life as a photographer.

This portrait is lit with one light, a large 4 foot silver bounce umbrella camera right for a dramatic side lighting effect. See the catchlight in the eye and shadow under the nose for an idea of the angle and placement. The highlight on Troy’s right side was created by a large 8 foot silver reflector behind and camera left from Troy.  Further shadows were introduced by Zak holding a flag (anything that blocks the light, also known as a gobo, or “go between”) close to the left side of Troy’s face so that his ear and shadow are shaded from the main light. This flag is the key touch that we learned from Marco Grob and it has opened my eyes to new world of flagging for dramatic effect.  Thanks to Zak for helping me figure it out!

I love portrait photography and have a passion for portraiture that you won’t find anywhere else in Billings Montana.  Please visit www.portraits.paulbellinger.com for booking.