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Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I had a blast running around in the Beartooth Mountains with Elizabeth and Scott for their engagement session in East Rosebud! I’m always inspired when my clients have as much love and respect for nature as I do and want to head the mountains for any kind of photography session. But East Rosebud is a special treat because it is truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I have traveled far and wide, and seen many of the most famously beautiful mountain ranges, and I can tell you that East Rosebud is as pretty as any of them. Thank you Elizabeth and Scott for a wonderful day in the mountains!

It’s the end of the year and it’s been a busy one at Paul Bellinger Photography. Thank you to everyone who helped us make 2015 amazing and we are looking forward to another outstanding year in 2016! If you’re getting married in 2016 and looking for a great Montana wedding photographer please visit www.paulbellinger.com for more information on booking. Our studio is located in downtown Billings Montana and we travel worldwide for weddings.

Tips for photographers: This picture was made with the Sony A7ii and Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 at 3.2, 1/320 and ISO 400. My standard tip for shooting in the mountains is to use a long lens, so this is an interesting case where I broke that rule. I usually shoot with a 70-200 lens most of the time when I’m around the mountains because I like the way the compression pulls the mountains in and makes them look gigantic. But when you get this far up East Rosebud creek you’re IN the mountains and a long lens will only let you show a single peak or two. In order to show the epic environment around us I had to opt for a wider lens. Notice however that I did not go crazy wide with a 14mm or anything like that, which would have made the mountains look much smaller and further away. There were some “standing in on a rock with nearly freezing white water around you” considerations to factor in as well, so it can be difficult to use the long lens when you don’t get to stand anywhere you want.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Everyone needs a good-looking headshot these days! With profile photos on several different social media accounts, your headshot may be seen by potentially thousands of people before they ever meet you in person. Your headshot makes an immediate impression so it’s important that your online presence is carefully curated to create the impression you want the world to see. The world has changed and boring headshots aren’t going to work anymore! You need a headshot that will stand out from the crowd of boring profile pics and amateur looking cell phone selfies. Lucky for you it’s easy to stand out for the right reasons if you hire a professional portrait photographer, especially if you find a photographer that understands the art of the headshot. When you find the right photographer make sure and give them some creative leeway, after all you’re hiring them for their taste and expertise, don’t hamstring them by requesting a boring “safe” look. Let them make something exceptional for you. At Paul Bellinger Photography we specialize in badass portraits and headshots that will help make your online presence pop! To book your sitting visit www.portraits.paulbellinger.com.

Tips for photographers: This headshot lighting is inspired by Peter Hurley’s lighting technique. I initially set out to replicate the Peter Hurley look, but then quickly got shadowy. So I started with three lights on the face, to create a triangle catchlight pattern in the eyes similar to one that Peter Hurley uses. Essentially I created a right triangle out of light modifiers with a two or three foot opening in the middle to shoot through. Bringing the subject close to the lights creates something of a big ring-light pattern with quick falloff on the face and catchlights that can be very striking. But in my opinion there is too much fill in the shadows when the subject’s face is surrounded by big lights so I tweaked the ratios between the three lights until there was a clear shadow pattern that creates dimension on the face. Camera left I used a large 5 foot octabox in a vertical position perpendicular to the subject’s face as the key light, with the power set about 3 stops brighter than the other two lights, which will act as fill and catchlights. Underneath the camera a few feet below the subject’s face is a 4 foot softbox pointing straight up at the ceiling, creating a right angle with the octabox key light, forming two sides of a right angle triangle. The third light acts as the hypotenuse of the right triangle, connecting the other two on a 45 degree angle. You can see each of the modifiers in the catchlights if you look closely, although the key light is most prominent. To finish off the look I added a silver reflector behind the subject out of frame to the camera right that creates the edge light you see on the camera right side of the subject’s face.  See more headshots, including tips for photographers by clicking here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


One of the blessings of being a portrait photographer is making portraits of the people you love the most. All portraits are special but portraits of the people you love are priceless. These are my wife’s parents, Ma and Baba, and for going on six years now, they’re my parents too. They recently made their second trip to the US for Thanksgiving and they spent over a week in Billings Montana with us. I am very thankful that I got to spend about three hours with them in the studio and we made some beautiful portraits that my wife and her family and I will forever cherish. Ma and Baba are back in Hazaribagh India now, safe and sound. Thank you to everyone who made them feel welcome during their time here.

Everyone needs a professional headshot as part of their online presence these days! Your various online profile photos will be viewed thousands of times more than your actual face will be! If you’re in business, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than putting your best face forward and you only get that from a professional portrait photographer. Visit www.portraits.paulbellinger.com to book a headshot or portrait in Billings Montana.

Tips for photographers: Do you recognize this lighting technique? It’s the same as the last post. I mentioned that I use this lighting technique often because it’s so easy to set up and everyone always loves this look (especially women). I mentioned to Ma that these would be her favorites when we were shooting this look and sure enough, when it came time to pick her absolute favorite image from her sitting, this was her favorite. Read the last post here.