Growing up, I was always looking for a way to express my creativity. I knew I had found that outlet when I started photography. I first became interested my sophomore year of high school through a course and ever since I have been hooked!
I started my career ten years ago, working at a high end photography studio in my early twenties. No college, just hands on experience. While working there for a few years, I was also working on building up a clientele of my own. Once I had established a good amount of clients, I left the company and started my own business. My one hope for my art is that it will withstand the test of time and that further generations can appreciate it.
My style of photography is a reflection of my own tastes and aesthetics and has developed over the course of time. When I was younger my imagery was more playful and whimsical, but nowadays it has transformed to a more outdoorsy and adventurous style. I love the outdoors so photographing families and couples with beautiful scenery is a must. One of the most important elements in a photograph is the backdrop you choose; I look for backlighting often to help cause separation between my subject and the background. I love to explore. Over the years, I have compiled a list of photo locations that I offer to clients to choose from for their portrait sessions.
I love being able to create art for people. It gives me a sense of gratification; I enjoy the feeling that comes at the end of a long wedding day. When the wedding is over I walk away with a handful of memory cards, satisfied knowing that what is on those cards is all that is left of the most important day of people's lives. I take every wedding I photograph very seriously.
My commercial photography work kicked off when I began photographing what I love: men’s fashion. I am partial to men’s boots, outerwear and bags. I started a commercialized Instagram account posting my favorite items which brought in new clients in the industries of footwear, leather goods and bags. I love American Heritage brands and am fortunate to work with such great companies as Pendleton Woolen Mills, Thursday Boot Company, Woolrich, CLIF BAR, and Hold Fast Gear to name a few.
When someone asks about a favorite shoot, the first that comes to mind is a project for CLIF BAR. Their art director was browsing the hashtag #thingsorganizedneatly on Instagram, found my work and gave me the perfect assignment. I had to create images for three different pack situations: The Hiker’s/Campers Pack, The Touring Cyclist Pack and The Winter Sport Pack. The assignment also included finding vintage items for each pack so I got to browse EBay and antique shops for days. I then photographed the packs in a neat and orderly flat lay fashion, something that I am really well versed at.
No matter what location I am headed to, I carry everything in my Roamographer bag, made of one of the most durable leathers there is, bison. I like to compare it to a home made out of solid brick. It is rare nowadays to find a solid leather bag, most companies accent with waxed canvas to avoid having to use too much leather. This bag opens fully making it functional and it looks amazing! It is beside me with all that I do. My favorite bag setup is 2 Canon 5d Mark III’s with a 24-70mm lens on one camera and a 70-200mm lens on the other. I carry both cameras at once on the Hold Fast Gear Moneymaker, as it lets me move quickly.
As for gear, I love the Profoto B1 for its high-speed sync capabilities and its portability. I light all of my wedding receptions using this light with a medium Chimera octabox. I never leave without a tripod, Hold Fast Gear Roamographer, and my CamRanger. I use the CamRanger for all the self portraits on my commercial Instagram account and it is an amazing device! I always make sure I bring a backup camera to my backup.
For new photographers looking to invest in gear: first, buy quality. Spend more for something that will last forever. I would invest in a nice camera, 24-70mm and 70-200mm lens, Profoto B1, Chimera Softbox and a tripod.
Today, 15 years after my initial discovery of photography as an art, I well into my professional career as a photographer specializing in weddings, family portraiture, and commercial photography. The most important thing I have learned in my ten years in this business is that there are people who do art to create and then there are people who do art to make a living. As artists, many of us are perfectionists. We want to hang onto our art and work on it for days and months making it perfect. We have a hard time letting go of it. To be a full time artist and make a living, you have to learn to let go of your art, get the job done and move onto the next one.
Brandon Burk is in his tenth year as one of Utah’s top photographers specializing in wedding and family portraiture. He is husband to Leia and father to Ella and Eden.He loves A-frame cabins, hiking, leather goods, indie music, flannel, boots, mountains, ranches, lakes and canoes.