Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Balloon.
Brian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Although I do software support full-time, I’ve always had an interest in styles of photography and cinematography. When I was a kid, my uncle Tommy introduced me to certain shot styles that film directors used in movies and laserdisc letterbox format vs. VHS. Later, I got married, my wife, Ruth, bought a camera she let me use and my uncle-in-law taught me about topics like F-stops, off-camera lighting and the importance of saving to RAW when shooting. I began to shoot more of my own photos at family gatherings and special events like my brother-in-law’s wedding in Romania. I started to gain more interest in photo editing. Those were the seeds.
So, a little over a year ago, a fellow photographer friend, Kaylynn Krieg (IG: @kaylynnkriegphoto), who did 10th-anniversary photos for my wife and I, indicated she was interested in going to the opening of The TX Studio in Oak Cliff. I decided I wanted to go too, and I took my wife’s camera. Kaylynn didn’t show up, but I met a few up-and-coming creative photographers like Jorge Gomez (IG: georgeofthejunglecx). He invited me to a meetup he was hosting. I thought it was going to be a sit-down seminar, but it turned out to be my first Instagram meetup. There were a large number of photographers and Instagram models there. Photographers would take pictures of them while they modeled and post their creative versions of them on IG. It was free, and I had never heard of anything like that or even a “creative” community. I decided to join in this opportunity, and that led to more meetups, my own posts on IG of Dallas creatives, and then a realization that I was spending so much time attending these meetups and learning to edit the photos afterward, that it would be beneficial to start a photography business. And that is how I got started with Balloon Photography.
Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to do shoots with many models, creatives and personal clients through meetups and personal bookings. I’ve been privileged to photograph new Dallas entrepreneurs like Mose, IG: @prokid, and to narrow my focus in on portraits, dance, lifestyle and concept photography.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Well, it has helped tremendously to have a good steady job and to be able to do TFP shoots with models for a long while and mingle with generous photographers who enjoy collaborating, like Vy Trinh (IG: @vyvyph0t0graphy). Those have made the road smooth so far. The tougher part has been advertising and finding paying clients, because the market is so saturated.
My main obstacle has been time management. Like any passion, it is easy to get carried away with photography and photo editing and neglect family time, or to overspend on models or equipment and not think as much about needing to market my photography to make an income with it. But balancing all those is crucial to success in any business and in life. So, lately, I have started to charge for most of my services and be more selective. I have also earned some income through commercial photo submissions and photo editing.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I started Balloon Photography in late 2018. I specialize in portraits, lifestyle, conceptual and dance photography. My main presence is on Instagram and my website. I am most proud of the business relationships I have built with fellow photographers, studio owners, and models and the appreciation I get from a job well-done. It really gives me satisfaction to see a final product that the client and I both love!
I believe my style is unique. If the client doesn’t request a different style, I gravitate toward a moody, cinematic, editorial feel. I like changing perspectives.
What were you like growing up?
I grew up in California as part of a privileged family. My Mom was an elementary school teacher, while my Dad became an entrepreneur. I was part of a Christian household and maintain that faith today. I didn’t get into a lot of trouble. I focused on school work, but liked music and singing a lot, and always had songs in my mind that you might catch me humming. I had a reserved personality but was also quite silly at times. I was different in that I enjoyed contemporary jazz (my favorite band was The Rippingtons) and aviation. As hobbies, I sang, was in choirs, composed music and even started my own a cappella group in college. For a couple of years, I went to the same high school as Colin Hanks. When I went on to college, I majored in Flight Ops and Air Traffic Control, earned a Commercial Pilot License, completed FAA training at Oklahoma City, but ultimately didn’t make it in ATC, so I transitioned to technical support, while keeping an avid interest in music. I had an interest in different cultures and went to South America and Europe and met my wife online when she lived with her family in Romania. Now we have been married for 12 years, have a son and another on the way. There are lots of things you have to do in life, but never put away for good what you’re truly passionate about.
- $85 per hour for most photography without studio costs
- Occasional TFP photoshoots
- Website: https://www.brianballoonphotography.com/
- Phone: 916-548-9230
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mose Thomas (dance pose in front of DART), Tristan Rodney (ballet dancer in suit), Tori Sullivan (both studio rain shoot pictures), Katerina McCandless (outdoor umbrella shot), August Wright (headshot), Lara Cheng (ballet dancer jumping in front of brown doors)