Paul Tellefsen

Paul Tellefsen

Paul Tellefsen | Personality, portraiture and the art of listening well

“May 24, 2013, was a day I’ll never forget. A career-launching day…”

Paul Tellefsen is a travel and lifestyle photographer from Dallas, Texas. His clients include Google, Cadillac, Toyota, Ford, Marriot and country music legend Paul Brandt. Paul gave us a BTS look at his recent portrait shoot that uses our Advanced Lightroom Effects and his nuanced approach to conveying a story.

What was your path to becoming a photographer?

I picked up a camera at age 12, falling in love with the process and how it could be used to connect with people. For my college major, Emerging Media and Communication, I studied online identity and the implications of modern technologies on our lives and cultures. Enter Instagram.

Through Instagram, I started hosting meetups with other local creatives and doing a lot of shooting. For my senior capstone project, I made a documentary called “Instagram is” about my experience of forming real friendships through digital platforms, told through the stories of four Instagrammers.

May 24, 2013, was a day that I’ll never forget, a career-launching day that I attest to most of the opportunities I’ve had in my life since. Instagram themselves shared the documentary with 85 million people that day. The viral success of the film spurred me to take my photography career full-time and to continue building community through social media and in-person with an organization called Socality.

“Have empathy towards the person behind the story.”

Tell us about your approach to photography.

Storylistening is the frame in which I see the world. It’s a phrase first used by my friend Matt Knisley in his book Framing Faith, which I highly recommend.

It all comes down to the belief that to tell a good story you first have to not only listen but have empathy towards the person behind the story.

The visuals I create are incredibly purposeful, but at the same time oddly spontaneous in order to capture captivating moments in time.

How did Storylistening play out on this particular shoot?

Morgan grew up in the country and is a very free spirit, which is something I really tried to honor as we told the story of her moving to the city.

We met up at a local coffee shop to take a moment to talk through the afternoon, then we walked to a great parking garage location I spotted. The light inside the garage was amazing and we played a lot with size and framing.

We spontaneously ended up on the road outside for a few unique fashion portraits. Morgan is a real natural in front of the lens, and it made this shoot effortless almost.

“One subtle effect goes a long way to bring an image to life.”

What’s your philosophy on editing, using effects, etc?
Editing is used to create the image you saw in your mind when you clicked the shutter. I tend to edit to match the photo to the specific emotion I’m trying to convey. I like for my images to each have strong character, with the right balance between vibrant color and muted tones.

For this shoot, I experimented with a handful of effects and ended up using some subtle flares from the Skylight pack to intensify the existing light in shots. I wanted that ethereal and nostalgic feel that we had during magic hour to really come through in the final images.

I love how real Lens Distortions effects feel. You can tell how much time and effort has been put into capturing each one.

My piece of advice would be to use them sparingly. One subtle effect goes a long way to bring an image to life an image. You want the effect to support the main subject, not the other way around. The casual viewer shouldn’t even know anything was added.

Featured Posts

Endurance SFX

Syncopated percussive elements, pulsing drones, abstract patterns, organic textures — Endurance blurs the line between sound design and soundtrack.

Paul Tellefsen

Get a glimpse inside the head of an empathetic portrait photographer and see how he used our Skylight pack to dial in the look of his most recent SoCal shoot.

“The Bowl” by Peter McKinnon

See how Peter uses a powerful visual metaphor, cinematic footage, and well-executed sound design to convey a life-changing experience in Kenya.

Your career has grown right alongside Instagram. How do you feel the platform is evolving today?

At the end of the day, Instagram is a place to connect. We connect over a thousand different things, for many, it might be the common affinity of art, but to expect anything else from the platform itself isn’t realistic.

Really all technology is meant to help us connect better as humans. Establishing yourself outside of the digital platform is vital to your longevity in the industry.

You can find Paul on Instagram as @technopaul.

“The Bowl” by Peter McKinnon

“The Bowl” by Peter McKinnon

“The Bowl” | Peter McKinnon shares the impact of a single image

“Accentuating my story with proper SFX really helped tie the project together…”

Peter McKinnon teamed up with World Vision to tell a story of hope amidst crises. A seemingly mundane photo of a bowl stuck with him more than any other from his trip to Kenya and he used the image in a surprising and powerful way to sum up what he experienced.

As an experienced storyteller, Peter knows the importance of sound in making a film come to life with visceral feeling. “Capturing the sound of an environment is an absolute must for me. Hearing something distinct and specific to a place, time, or person can really draw you right back,” he said.

To supplement the audio he captured on location, Peter used a few sounds from our Archetype SFX library throughout the film.

“Accentuating my story with proper SFX really helped tie the project together and give it that seamless flow I was looking for. They often say if it looks bad, people will still watch. If it sounds bad, they won’t,” he added.

See more of Peters’s work on his Youtube Channel.


See how emerging artists and global brands use Lens Distortions in their projects.

Anticipation Sound Effects

Anticipation Sound Effects

Anticipation SFX | A versatile sound effects library for bright, inspiring projects

Introducing Anticipation SFX, a new library of sound effects from Lens Distortions. Our first sound effects library, Archetype, was released earlier this year and focused on the darker, weightier side of cinematic sounds.

Anticipation SFX focuses on the hopeful, anticipatory side of things. The two libraries together provide the essential sounds for any cinematic filmmaker.

Anticipation SFX

Cinematic Sound Effects

Hanging on every sound

The phrase “so quiet you could hear a pin drop” instantly conjures up a feeling of intense anticipation. But the reality is, those moments are never filled with pure silence. Instead, a person is hypersensitive to every sound in their environment, with even the most delicate of noises adding to the suspense.

The bright and bold sounds in this library help fine-tune the emotion in your film. They strike a balance between optimism and tension. But it’s the kind of tension you feel before the big game, before the plane wheels leave the runway, or right before the bride is revealed.

Highly Versatile

Rather than bombard you with quantity, we believe that it’s better to provide an organized set of essential effects that work great on their own and play well with each other.

Combining multiple effects will give you limitless options to craft a dynamic soundscape tailored directly to your film.

Inspiring sound design is now attainable for filmmakers at every level of the game. Our SFX libraries are professional mastered, compatible with all editing platforms, and completely royalty free.


5 Distinct Categories


The Risers are an essential part of the library and help you create a sense of swelling momentum and tension.


Grab attention and accentuate key moments with Hits. This folder contains a variety of impacts, sub hits, and unique keyed hits.


The Whooshes are primarily bright and crisp, and also include are a variety of time-lapse SFX, which give a sense of passing time.


Some moments simply have a presence to them that’s almost felt more than it’s heard. These are delicate and ethereal.


Lastly, we included a variety of Atmopsheres in the library. Sometimes a little bit of room tone or distinct environmental noises can really help ground a sequence or scene. The sounds are intended to be familiar and subtle.


Having a diverse set of categories is a great starting point. Having variations of each sound opens a world of possibilities. Each sound comes in four variations: Normal, Distortion, Space, and Tube.

The Distortion variations drastically increase the impact of a sound. The Space variations feel super ambient and airy. The Tube variations were physically recorded to through an analog preamp for warm tones.

Anticipation SFX

Cinematic Sound Effects Library

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