Category: Blog

Brides maids snow
Winter Weddings and Warmth
I'm gonna be perfectly honest. We have never done a actual winter wedding. Yes we've shot weddings in the winter, spring and fall ceremonies were it snowed, but never a snow on the ground, bride-in-a-jacket, horse-drawn-sleigh, winter wedding. You know what I'm talking about, the ceremony on the top of Vail or Beaver Creek, the snowy secluded ranch setting in the mountains of Colorado, or Wild Basin Inn (near Estes Park) buried in snow. We really want to shoot some for several reasons; First, we like working in the cold. We spent a large part of our newspaper careers shooting Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies, frigid football games ...
Pouring Rain at the USA Pro Challenge
As I packed up my photo gear, I looked up at the bike on top of my car and then to the clouds beyond. The rain held off just long enough for me to make some good rafting and kayak photos for a job I was doing at Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area near Salida. Now I had to make the one-hour trek north to Fairplay where the peloton of the USA Pro Challenge was bearing down on the town. If I timed it right, I would avoid the road closure at Highway 24 and make Fairplay in time to ride 11,542-foot Hoosier Pass ahead of the peloton. Hard rain pelted the car on the way there but as I entered Fairplay and pulled into the visitors center it turne ...
Cyclist couple engagement photo
Engagement Session in Fort Collins easy as… 3.1415
This E-session was a slice of pi! Nicole and Adam are scientists. They are organized and have everything for their 2015 wedding planned and saved for way ahead of time. I envy them and wish that I was that organized. It is no cake walk (wedding cakes are round) to plan a wedding.  You know that the couple you are working with are ahead of the game when you are shooting their engagement portraits almost a year-ahead of time (I hope their organization comes full circle and rubs off on me). We met in the Trial Gardens of Colorado State University and we circled the location taking a bunch or great photos (flower pots are round). There ...
composite photo of wedding couples and senior photos
Stark Bellamy Photography: This is Only a Test
As I enjoyed my morning coffee the other day I heard the tornado sirens go off. It was only a test, but that sound never fails to spike my adrenaline. As wedding season warms up I can't help but occasionally feel a similar rush. Granted, the onslaught of brides, grooms, best men, maids of honor and flower girls is seldom compared to a tornado, but when you're moving from wedding to wedding in the heart of the season it sure feels like one. As my coffee cooled, I flashed forward to the busiest months of our calendar when laughter, sniffles, hoots, hollers and pulsing DJs would become the soundtrack to my life. Then I imagined the weekdays b ...
couple kissing among the pines
Windy Estes Park Engagement Shoot
We met Lexy and Jonathan near Wild Basin Lodge just outside of Estes Park and I had a bad feeling we wouldn't be making photos. The wind was howling but the day was an otherwise perfect Colorado backdrop for photos. The couple really wanted mountain snow for their engagement photos since their wedding was going to be at Brookside Gardens in Berthoud. So we grabbed our gear, strapped on the snowshoes and headed for the trees.   We thought the wind would be a little better with the shelter of the trees. It helped but the thought of holding one of our large reflectors for the shoot made my arms hurt just thinking about it. The gia ...
Couple kisses with snowshoes
No Heels, Snow Shoes!
Some brides-to-be wear high heels, others wear boots and some stick to the comfort of the flip flop. Lexy on the other hand went for classic Colorado mountain footwear for her's and Jonathan's engagement session in Rocky Mountain National Park: Snowshoes!!! I don't think you'll see them on the runway in Paris or Milan, but Lexy and Jonathan's choice of footwear was the perfect choice for their engagement shoot at the Wild Basin trail head near Estes Park. What else would you choose for a late winter shoot in mountains. We had a great time with these two! It was beautifully warm day, a little windy (that explains the hats), but a gorgeou ...
couple's feet
Beautiful Light + Location = Beautiful Photography
Eric and I didn't know what we had in store for us when we brought Caitlin and Larson into our photo world. While meeting them at a coffee shop to discuss their upcoming wedding, they told us they wanted to shoot their engagement session at her parents' cabin near Estes Park. That is, if the road leading to it wasn't washed out by September's Floods. The floods were hard on the area but we got a report a few weeks later that the roads were passable so we set the date. We headed west from Loveland on Highway 34 - our first trip up the canyon since road crews reopened it to the public. The flood scoured the river banks of all flora, leaving ...
Happy Couple
Tips for Affordable Wedding Photography
With so many parts of the wedding budget screaming for attention it's hard to know where to put your money. We're of course biased so we think you shouldn't skimp on the photography. Here's a list of ways to ensure you get the best wedding photography possible without sacrificing what's important to you: 1.  Non-Primetime weddings - Most people get married on Saturdays in the summer. During these peak wedding times, vendors services are in high demand and getting a discount is nearly impossible. Just about any day other than Saturday and any month other than May, June, July and August is considered off peak. Most photographers, venues an ...
Happy Bride Dances at Reception
Photo Story: Happy Bride
So I was going through the archives and I found this little gem. Katie along with her bride's maids and guests dancing late into the night at Della Terra Mountain Chateau in Estes Park. You can just see the pure joy on her face. Katie and Shane had an amazing fairytale mountain wedding near their Longmont home. The whole wedding went of without a hitch and by the time the reception started, everyone was in full party mode. The dance floor was packed with sweaty bodies as the music thumped and pulsed. At one point the bartenders were even cutting loose in the middle of the dance floor in a masterful syncopation. You can see how much fun K ...
couple kissing at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Engagement Session at the DCPA
Other than the occasional show or concert, I hadn't spent much time at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts complex since I was in high school. I used to escape the suburbs with my brothers and skateboard downtown. I remember skating down the parking garage at the DCPA one Sunday back when downtown was pretty much deserted on the weekends. During my senior year I worked as a call screener for talk show host Mike Rosen when the studios of 850KOA were in the building next door. Back then I had aspirations of working in radio and I would spend my breaks hanging out under the arched roofs of the complex. How times have changed. Once again ...
girls hand ladybug
A Little Video
Just a quick, fun little video I shot of my wife and kids playing in the garden. It was one of the first warm-enough days we had here in and my wife who owns Ethos Landscape and Design a sustainable landscape company... ...was chomping at the bit to get her hands dirty. It was a beautiful warm (for February) day so I grabbed my Canon DSLR and shot some video of them in the garden. This is one of my favorite things that my family does together. My kids have no problem with getting dirty, playing with bugs or even eating veggies right out of the garden. In fact they are 100x more likely to eat greens if they come from our garden and ...
Composite photo of 24 smaller photos of kids reading books
Kinder Books: SBP doing our part to help kids read
Kai Abelkis approached me to see if I would help his fledgling website get off the ground. His vision for a website that would offer age-appropriate children's books has been ten years in the making. Now that his project nears the reality phase, I was more than happy to jump on board to help. We chose Longmont Yarn Shoppe as  a location for the shoot, not only because it would offer a warm and cozy environment for shooting, but also because my wife, Jane Anderson, works there. I knew we could get in on a Sunday morning when the store would be closed and have the place to ourselves. I set up my lighting equipment as Kai pile ...
couple leaves through a lit doorway
Photo Story: A Bright Future
I love this photo from Jo and Paul's wedding in Denver a few years ago. It may be a bit egotistical but this photos is one of the moments when years of having to be quick on my feet (and my exposure) as a photojournalist payed off. It was a dark ceremony lit only by candles, I was at the limits of what was possible, for my camera at the time, to shoot at. High ISO and a slow shutter speed, a tough place to be if you don't have a steady hand and steadier mind. It was going to be a quick ceremony and I only had a few minutes to shoot as much as possible in the low light. Shooting the ceremony went of without a hitch and it was fun if no ...
Couple kisses
A Snowy Denver Engagement Session
OK this may come as a shock to the TV meteorologists but it snows in Colorado every Winter. So when snow fell on the morning of Kathryn and David's engagement shoot, we didn't even think of postponing. We just changed the location to an inside/outside venue. I knew the perfect spot! Originally we were heading to Red Rocks but we thought The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has great architecture with amazing lines and a roof that would provide partial cover from the snow. We met David and Kathryn around the corner at a coffee shop and headed out into the elements. These two are clearly in love and not afraid to show it. Chris ...
Winter Family Photos
I hear it all the time: the winter is no good for family photos. The weather is bad, nothing's green and the holidays are stressful. I like to turn these three objections around and say winter is the perfect time of year for taking family photos. True, the weather can be a challenge in Colorado, but, come on, 300+ days of sunshine and storms that come one day and leave the next? It's a perfect scenario for making great photos, especially if you and your photographer are flexible enough to move when the weather is right. I know, nothing's green. Good. Then your photos might look different from everyone else's. Winter's color palate can b ...
Grandma puts garter on bride
5 Factors to Consider When it Comes to Wedding Prices
How much does wedding photography cost? There is no denying it, wedding photography is not cheap. Well, it can be, but we all know what happens when Uncle Frank brings his nice new camera to the wedding... Here is a list to consider when you start pricing wedding photography, whether you look at packages or alacarte, these are some factors that you should keep in mind. 1. What is the photographer's base price? Just remember that if the price is too good to be true... it is! 2. Does the photographer offer packages? If so is he or she married to those prices? No two weddings are exactly the same, so we at Stark Bellamy offer packages ...
Man works in Photoshop
The video below is not our style! We use Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom almost everyday, but we use them sparingly. In our former lives as photojournalists it was against our ethics to add remove or otherwise alter a photo aside from slight exposure, color correction and cropping. Had we altered a photo in anyway by cloning, adding content, heavy dodging and burning or anything else, not only would we have been fired, but we would have been ostracized by the journalism community. Never working at a paper or magazine again. We carry that ethos into our wedding photography. We don't use filters or plugins to create a stylized "look" to ...
Bench made from Champion Cottonwood
Olberding’s Champion Cottonwood Bench
As a photojournalist and wedding photographer, I love photographing people. But, some of my most memorable shooting days have been in the studio shooting inanimate objects. Two weeks ago I had the honor of making photos of a beautiful piece called "Transition" created by Boulder County craftsman Chris Olberding. Chris was one of a handful of woodworkers asked to create pieces from Boulder County's Champion Cottonwood tree located just outside Longmont in the little hamlet of Hygiene. The tree, known for being the largest plains cottonwood in North America, was pronounced dead in 2012 by Boulder County officials after a nearly 50-year rei ...
Photo Story: No Groom Left Behind
The more I photograph weddings, the more I realize how much of the industry is geared to appealing to the bride. Just take a look at bridal magazines or websites. Most of the time they are geared toward what she should wear or the latest trends for bouquets. Sure, you'll see ads for formal wear companies and some beer ads that may satisfy some grooms' interest in their own wedding. But in many of the weddings we shoot, the groom takes an active role in planning and making decisions about the big day. After all, there are two people getting married. Unfortunately, when it comes to photography, the groom is often left out or treated as jus ...
Cowboy on the stairs
Photo Story: Blank Stairs
It happened organically like most good found photos do. I was walking back from shooting an assignment at a draft horse competition and saw the kids playing on the bright read stairs with a blue sky behind them. The assignment was fun, but like so many assignments in Greeley it involved horses and I was bored with shooting livestock. They had recently painted the stairs at Island Grove Arena and they were still bright red. It was early evening and I was running late due to a rain storm postponing the draft horse shoot. Then I saw a group of kids playing on the stairs. I knew there was a cool photo in there some where so I just walked up ...
Photo Story: World War II Veteran Bob Forrest
I came across this photo while searching the archive. I had been working at the Loveland Reporter-Herald for a few months and hadn't had a chance to shoot a Veterans Day in Loveland. I was looking forward to it but parades can be daunting. With so much going on it's hard to focus. One thing I learned from working for the Golden Transcript, where the Town of Golden held a parade nearly every weekend in the summer, was to find something unique and work it like crazy. It wasn't particularly shocked to see a tank in the middle of the parade staging area but I had a feeling something might happen there. I overheard someone say that one of the ...
Austin's Senior Portrait in Old Town Longmont
Senior Portraits in Downtown Longmont
Eric and I know Downtown Longmont pretty well. We both call it home. We were asked to find a spot for Austin's senior portraits and also some portraits with his sisters so we immediately thought about some of our favorite spots. Then we had a sudden realization that most of them were flooded out. I took it as an opportunity to scout Longmont with fresh eyes to find the perfect spot. As it turned out Austin and his family were looking for a fun, urban background rather than a natural scene. That was fine with us, since most of our scenic spots looked like a war zone. Downtown, however, was largely spared and we knew we would find some great ...
Fog Walk
Just some quick photos here. I woke up to a foggy morning and just went out to shoot some fun photos. I love taking fog photos. The transitory nature of it makes for beautiful and dramatic photos. So know I'll stop talking and post some photos.
graduation girls in the boys room
Photo Story: Girls in the Boy’s Room
The publishers of the Longmont Times-Call were not happy. There was a picture of a group of teenage girls standing near a line of urinals in the boys bathroom at Lyons High School, the photo splashed huge across the front of the graduation special section of the newspaper. It was fairly early in my newspaper career. I had recently finished an internship at the Times-Call and was freelancing there and at several other publications before my first staff job. I was assigned to shoot several commencements all just an hour or two apart. My plan was to shoot the kids getting ready for the ceremony before I had to run out to shoot another schoo ...
Photo Story: Good Work in the Face of Tragedy
In the wake of Septembers floods, I've had a lot of time to reflect on some of the tragedies that I've covered as a photojournalist. Some, like the Colorado floods or the tornado that ripped through Windsor in May of 2008, affected whole communities. But, more often than not, the tragedies happened to one person or a family in a community. It's times like these that community newspapers can do their best work. Early on in my career I felt extremely uneasy entering a situation in which someone lost their home to a fire or were just in a terrible accident. The uneasiness never goes away but I learned not to let it bother me as I go about m ...
10,000 Hours
Wait!!! nobody said there would be any math, this is a photo blog after all. Well this blog is about experience and I am going to use Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers and his concept of 10,000 hours to illustrate my point. In Outliers, Gladwell suggests that some of the greatest artists, innovators and inventors of our times were not only in the right place at the right time, but that they had over 10,000 hours of practice or experience in their field. People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and the Beatles are who they are today because they put in the time and payed their dues. So I started doing some calculations of my own; Chris and I ...
Photo Story: An Occasional Series About Photos We Love
I didn’t want to go that far back in time but it was the right thing to do. I knew poring over old my archive of photographs would lead to more than a few recoils of horror but the optimist in me said it would be cathartic. I knew my archive held more than a few diamonds in the rough - after all, I have been at for a quarter of a century. No sane person would spend that amount of time doing the same thing over and over - would they? Eric and I have talked for a while about doing an occasional series of blog posts that showcase photos we’re passionate about. We discussed that it would be an opportunity to talk about any kind of photo even t ...
Intimate Family Wedding in Pueblo
Jandi and Rodney wanted an intimate wedding with the closest of family and friends. And it had to be in Pueblo to make it easy for Jandi's grandmother to get to. What they got at Pueblo's Rusted Poppy Inn fit the bill. They rented out the whole Bed and Breakfast to be sure they had the space and time to have their wedding day flow effortlessly from ceremony to reception. What they didn't count on was the added drama of unprecedented Front Range flooding that slowed the arrival of many family members who came in from Northern Colorado and the progress of a photographer who navigated the backroads from Longmont to get to Interstate 25 and so ...
Resources for Weddings affected by the Colorado Floods
After the rushing waters recede and emergency efforts turn to recovery, other pressing concerns come to light. In the thick of this epic flood event, Eric and I were scheduled to attend the Bridal Festivals bridal show in Loveland last Sunday but organizers rescheduled to September 29. It's one of many events forced to reschedule because of flooding. Fall is a very popular time for weddings in Colorado and many were scheduled to take place in the flood-affected areas like Estes Park and Lyons. We have compiled a list of resources that may help you save the day. With information coming and going so fluidly in a crisis like this, it is by no ...
Please Help the Citizens of Northern Colorado
First of all, we hope all of our fellow Coloradans are OK! We are taking a break from wedding talk to show some flooding photos and ask you to donate to the Red Cross. It's going to take a while for all of us here in Northern Colorado to dig out. We don't even have a handle on how bad it is up here yet. As I've said before photojournalism is an itch that I just have to scratch sometimes. When something like all this flooding happens I feel compelled to go out and cover it. After I was sure that my family and friends were safe, I bagged my cameras and walked a few blocks down to the St. Vrain River to see what was happening. Its funny ...