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Monday, August 31, 2015


Meeting new people is one of my favorite things about travel and of course I tend to meet a lot of photographers. I met Ilan on a day cruise from Valdez Alaska to the Meares glacier in the Prince William Sound. For long portions of the cruise we had the whole bow of the boat to ourselves, as only photographers want to be out there in the wind and cold (although it wasn’t very cold, there was a guy wearing only shorts and T-shirt who toughed it out most of the day too). We hit it off and were chatting most of the day about photography and travel, and when the cruise was over I told him where we were headed for sunset/camp for the night in case he wanted to meet up and shoot the sunset with us. We went our separate ways and I thought I had seen the last of Ilan as we headed up Thompson Pass to photograph the sunset. It was a beautiful sunset, and when it was nearly over I saw someone pull up and start quickly hiking towards us. It was Ilan! He missed most of the sunset because he spotted some bears on the way up and photographed them for a bit. I was mostly done shooting the sunset so I just hung out and made a few pictures of Ilan while he made a few pictures the mountains and the rising moon. It was a fun day hanging with Ilan and I really hope our paths cross again on a future adventure. Thanks Ilan!

Tips for photographers: These photos were made after the sun went down during blue hour. I say blue hour, but during Alaskan summers blue hour lasts for hours, almost all night depending on where you are. In the top photo you can see eye to eye with the majestic Chugach Mountains surrounding Thompson pass. The Chugach are a very picturesque range, which are especially dramatic from Valdez at sea level. The bottom photo features a very bright moon on it’s way up during moonrise. Summers in Alaska are great for photographers because the sunset lasts for hours and there is plenty of light in the sky to make blue hour long exposures all night long. The one drawback is that the sky is so bright with sun and moon light that it’s difficult to see the stars or do any kind of astrophotography, which is kind of a shame because there is a lot of aurora activity that far North.

I really enjoy making photos like these that combine two of my passions in photography, the drama of the landscape and the power and prestige of the portrait. I have a deep respect for nature and can’t ever stop exploring the natural wonders of the world (especially mountains). But landscapes are lonely without people in them and to make a portrait in the special places that people go through such great efforts to reach only enhances the power of the portrait. That’s why travel is such an integral part of Paul Bellinger Photography, we want to go to the places that are special to our clients and make pictures that simply cannot be made anywhere else. For destination weddings in Montana or anywhere in the world, please visit Montana wedding photographer www.paulbellinger.com. For the hardest working portrait photographer in Montana please visit Billings Montana portrait photographer www.portraits.paulbellinger.com.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


McKenzie and Tyrel are having a mountain wedding and wanted a mountain engagement session to go with it. Since they are getting married in West Rosebud, we did the engagement shoot in East Rosebud. Both sides have beautiful views of the Beartooth mountains that can rival mountain views anywhere. The Eastern side of the Beartooths are kind of a Billings area secret paradise that not many tourists visit. The motto of the nearest town, Roscoe Montana, is: “Where the hell is Roscoe?” How cool is that?! I can’t wait to get back and spend a few days in the Beartooths for McKenzie and Tyrel’s mountain wedding in October!

Tips for brides: It’s time to start booking your wedding photographer for 2016 weddings in Montana. We typically book about a 8-12 months in advance of a wedding and the fall seems to be the booking season when a lot of the best wedding days get booked. Because the wedding season is short in Montana, summer Saturdays go fast, and it’s not just the best photographers, but all of the best wedding venues and wedding vendors book up early in Montana. Personally I find the fall to be the most beautiful time of year in Montana, so you might think about avoiding the crowds and push your luck into September, October and even November for a more adventurous Montana wedding. Some vendors may even offer a discount for booking a wedding date in the fall/winter/spring. It also seems like we have a shortage of wedding venues in the Billings Montana area, so I highly recommend thinking outside of the box like McKenzie and Tyrel have, and having a mountain wedding, because there is no shortage of mountain meadows that would make for a unique and jaw dropping wedding location. Please contact us if you’re interested! We love mountain weddings at Paul Bellinger Photography! www.paulbellinger.com

Friday, August 28, 2015


Congratulations to Carrie and Jake on their black-tie wedding in Billings Montana! Carrie did a wonderful job planning the big day and it went off without a hitch, bringing together two awesome families in a celebration of love and the start of a new family. I love the contrast in this image between the rustic scene on Jake's family farm and their black tie look. I am blessed that they shared this most special of occasions with me and the team at Paul Bellinger Photography. Thank you Carrie, Jake and all of the family and friends that helped make the day so special!

Thank you also to my team of incredible photographers Jenna Masters, Trevan Hiersche for your hard work. For Montana wedding photographer Paul Bellinger please visit www.paulbellinger.com.

I can’t wait to meet up with Carrie and Jake for a photo shoot on their honeymoon in London! I’ll be in London for 7 days, and of course I’ll be photographing everything. We travel a lot at Paul Bellinger Photography and you can follow along on instagram by following @PJBellinger or click the link: https://instagram.com/pjbellinger/

Monday, August 24, 2015


Montana is an amazing place, and as impressive as the big sky is in the day, it’s even more magical at night. I recently made a huge road trip to Alaska, and despite seeing so many beautiful places in Alaska, Yukon Territories and British Columbia, Montana was still impressive when we returned home. After watching the sun go down outside of Glacier National Park, we stopped near Belt Montana to view the Milky Way and make a few pictures. We really wanted to make some star photos on our trip but it became more and more difficult the further North we went, because the sun doesn’t really go down very far in the summer and there is too much light in the sky to see the stars. But Montana saved the day on our last night of the road trip and gave us a spectacular view of the Milky Way practically from the highway. Wow, it’s awesome to call Montana home!

Tips for photographers: Photographing the night sky is fun and it’s something every photographer should go out and do sometime. There is a lot written about astrophotography and you can get the impression that it’s difficult, or requires special gear and techniques. I found it pretty easy, even using pretty bad glass for night photography. I made this photo with a Canon 17-40 f/4 L lens and Sony A7ii camera body. A faster lens, f/2.8 or wider, would be ideal for night photography, but I was able to make do with f/4 because the sky was especially bright in Montana. The best tip I can give is to use a really heavy duty tripod that won’t blow around in the wind during 5-15 second exposures and is easy to operate in the dark. It helps a lot if your tripod is really tall too, so you can see what you’re doing without bending over all night. More than anything, just go out and try it with whatever gear you have, it’s a lot of fun!

I am Montana wedding photographer Paul Bellinger and I love to travel for weddings. I go anywhere and do anything for our clients. There is no wedding too big or too small, and no wedding destination that is too remote or extreme for us. My studio is located in downtown Billings Montana and it would be my honor to photograph your Montana wedding or destination wedding anywhere in the world. Visit www.paulbellinger.com for dramatic, fine art wedding photography as epic as your love story.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Alysse and Daniel have raised the bar on engagement sessions! They are just so badass as people that I guess they couldn’t help but have an amazing shoot at their Bozeman home surrounded by mountains and farm animals, and then topped that by heading into the Bridger mountains and a beautiful alpine lake. Thank you Alysse and Daniel for hanging with me and showing me your special spots! I can’t wait for your Bozeman wedding! Stay tuned for more from this epic shoot soon.

Awesome people in awesome locations! That should probably be our motto at Paul Bellinger Photography because our couples love going to badass locations and we will go anywhere and do anything with them to make the best wedding and engagement pictures possible. We are located in Billings Montana and offer worldwide travel for engagement sessions, destination weddings, and honeymoon sessions. www.paulbellinger.com

Friday, August 14, 2015


Happy birthday to my little cousin Christopher! We just got back from an epic road trip from Billings MT to Alaska. I jokingly refer to him as my little cousin because he’s younger and used to be smaller than me, but he’s a beast and has been about 5 inches taller than me since college. He was a big 50 Cent fan in high school and had the license plate C-UNIT in reference to 50’s G-UNIT. My dad has called him C-Unit ever since, so it’s kind of a nickname now! Ha! Chris did almost all of the driving on our huge road trip to Alaska and he really assisted me a lot in making some awesome landscape and nature photos. He caught me taking trying to make portraits of him every now and then, and he went along with it. We took my Nissan Frontier and slept in the back each night at an amazing location like this spot on Thompson Pass just North of Valdez Alaska. It required some pretty sweet driving to reach this spot and Chris did it without getting a flat tire. Thanks for everything Chris, that was a once in a lifetime trip and we totally dominated it!

Tips for photographers: Throughout the trip we were joking that our trip should be sponsored by Nissan because we were putting this truck through long grueling stretches of miles, really rough road conditions, and into some of the most beautiful settings you can imagine. The truck was our home, we slept in the bed of the truck under the topper each night and thanks to the extended bed on the truck it was perfectly comfortable and made us feel safer about being in remote locations with bears. But if we really had a Nissan sponsorship and support, we could have put the truck in much more precarious positions and even more epic photos. But since I rely on the truck for my photography business, I couldn’t risk it most of the time. In this photo I would have liked to have the truck up a little further but there were really jagged rocks everywhere I didn’t want to risk a flat tire, which would have been difficult to change on the rocks. It was an awesome place to sleep for the night though, and the truck handled everything we threw at it on this trip. More photos and tips about shooting in Alaska soon.

My portrait studio is based in Billings Montana but I am available to travel anywhere in the world to make amazing portraits at beautiful locations or in a studio. My team and I will go anywhere and do anything to make the best portraits. www.portraits.paulbellinger.com