Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Mount.
Brian, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My interest started in photography at a very young age when I visited my grandparents in Ohio for the summer when I was seven years old. My grandfather had a polaroid camera and I became fascinated with the ability to see your images print out of the camera right after you had taken them. As you can imagine I went through dozens of packs of film during my time there. During a recent trip back east for a family reunion this past summer, my grandmother surprised me with a special gift, the very same camera I had started out with those many years ago.
My love for photography grew as I got older, taking several photography classes in high school, using my dad’s Minolta film camera from the 1970’s. It was in college that I decided to pursue photography as a career (soon after I failed my first economics class as a business major). I continued to take photography-related courses in college, majoring in photojournalism and working as the Photo Editor, Sports Editor, and Staff Photographer on the college newspaper. During my time on the paper, I covered many different things on campus including sporting events, creating editorial portraits, and covering major events on campus.
In 2004, while still enrolled at the college I got my first photography job working at a local photography studio in Southern California, centered around school photography, which allowed me to gain more experience, producing senior portraits, sports action photography for the yearbook, creating portraits school dances and other events.
While still working for the portrait studio I decided to start my own business in 2004, creating family portraits on location at popular local spots around town for family and friends. In 2008 I started working for a different photography studio in town doing similar work but with a more experience I quickly rose through the ranks becoming one of the more trusted professionals on staff.
During those four years I continued working as a photojournalist on three different newspapers, including two college newspapers and a local community newspaper. I graduated from the community college with a photojournalism degree in 2008 and transferred to Cal State Northridge where I continued working towards my Bachelors Degree in Photojournalism.
When the recession hit in 2008 and the economy started to decline I started noticing the trends in the photojournalism community quickly follow, which included a drop in subscribers and subsequent mass staff layoffs at the national and local newspapers. I quit taking courses at the University and decided to concentrate on my own business and photographed my first wedding in the summer of 2008 for a friend – It was an experience that changed my life and my career. Needless to say I was a bit nervous but I did my research beforehand – scouting the event locations and educating myself on wedding protocol and traditions. I met with the couple before their wedding for an personal consultation to learn more about the vision they had for their special day. I have to say, it was an experience unlike any other. That became a turning point in my professional photography career. I became infatuated with wedding photography from there on out, as they [weddings] included all the aspects of photojournalism that I truly loved.
It was in 2009 that I started to pursue other education processes, reaching out to a commercial editorial portrait photographer in Los Angeles to get more hands on knowledge. I started to assist him on photoshoots, learning new lighting and photography techniques, as well as editing and postproduction workflows. This was my first opportunity to see first hand what it was to be a freelance photographer. Knowing my experience in covering high school and collegiate sporting events he introduced me to his boss and I soon started freelancing for the sports photography agency, photographing baseball games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and hockey game for the Los Angeles Kings. Overtime my love for portraits grew and was asked by the agency to cover the PAC12 Football Press Conference in 2011, creating portraits of local players including Andrew Luck, Chip Kelly, Lane Kiffin, and Matt Barkley.
Eventually I left the agency and decided to concentrate on growing my business, putting the client experience first. It was in 2016, unsatisfied with my growth as a photographer, I joined two online education resources, The Wedding School, created by Susan Stripling, and Sue Bryce Education. Both of these organizations were created and dedicated to helping students learn to create and grow sustainable photography brand. With a new, renewed passion in life, creating portraits and photographing weddings I set out to build a brand around what I loved.
It was shortly after that decision, to rebuild my photography brand, that my mom passed away from liver failure and six weeks later my partner’s mother passed away during the summer of 2017. Having experienced the biggest loss of our lives to date we decided to start over, to have a fresh start, and made the decision to move closer to his family in Colorado. I quit my full-time photography job after nine years with the studio, shut down my business in California, and started prepared for new life in Colorado.
It was the experience of losing both my parents that I quickly learned first hand just how important portraits and images were after our loved ones are gone. Since relocating here to Colorado, I have reinvented and built my brand (again), putting a great importance on creating portraits and images that are filled with love, connection and emotion, knowing that they will become cherished family heirlooms for many generations.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In every business, there are struggles, some short term while others last a while longer but at some point everyone experiences them. A struggle that I have experienced here is finding a location for my studio. I have found out there aren’t a lot of vacant buildings or office spaces to rent or lease. Not wanting to give up on my dream of having my own studio I had to find a solution. Going back to my experience of photographing on location I now travel to Boulder and Denver where I rent studio space for my client portrait sessions. I also photograph clients in their homes and at their favorite locations around the state. I regularly meet with wedding clients at local coffee shops in the area too, sharing with them my secret love for a really good cup of coffee.
Please tell us about Brian Mount Portrait.
Brian Mount Portrait is a modern and contemporary wedding and portrait photography brand located in Northern Colorado. I create the experience of a lifetime for my clients. Starting with a pre-shoot consultation, for both portraits and weddings, I get to know my clients on a deeper, more personal level. We talk at length about what types of imagery they are drawn to but most importantly how they want to be photographed. I strongly believe in the idea that everyone deserves to have and own portraits and images of themselves that they truly love.
Portrait sessions clients get to feel like a celebrity for a day! Wearing their favorite outfits and clothing, having their hair and makeup styled by professionals, I focus on making them feel like the best version of themselves. Whether they are celebrating a major milestone in their life such as an engagement, birthday, a new edition to the family, or updating their family portrait wall, I want them to feel special and well cared for throughout the photographic process.
I specialize in, and focus on creating timeless imagery, that centers around emotion and connection, capturing the moments that will be cherished for many lifetimes. I love documenting the transformative process my clients go through during their portrait sessions and on their wedding days. I create an environment in which they feel safe, allowing them to let their personality shine.
My goal for every client is to create portraits and images that they’ll love, ones that they cherish throughout their lifetime, and ones that most accurately represent who they are.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Starting over is a fact of life, obstacles and challenges are thrown at you and you are constantly having to readjust and move on. I have seen this in my own life, in 2017 when my Mother passed away. At the time she was graciously allowing me to use one of the spare bedrooms in her house as my photo studio and when she passed I had to find a new way of providing my portrait experience to my clients. Without a permanent location, I started traveling to their homes and photographing them in their own homes.
If I had to start over again, in a new city, in a new state, I believe I would have started marketing myself earlier before the move, getting my name out there and networking. Over the past year living and working here in Colorado, I have had to work harder to network with local groups and photographers because when I moved here I didn’t know anyone. I am happy to say that I have met many interesting and amazing people that have helped me navigate the difficulties of starting a business in a new area.
- Wedding day coverage (7 hours) starts at $2,100 – PLUS you can customize your experience to include all the extras you love.
- Elopements start at $300
- Portrait Sessions (which includes Contemporary Portraits, Personal Branding, Senior Portraits, Family & Multi-Generational Portraits, and Pet Portraits) start at $295 for your session
- Engagement Sessions start at $300 for your session, including multiple outfits and your choice of a studio setting or an outdoor location
- Content & Video Marketing start at $700
- Website: www.brianmountportrait.com
- Phone: (805) 404-2355
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @brianmountportrait
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/brianmountportrait
All images are by Brian Mount of Brian Mount Portrait
Profile photo – Ashleigh Taylor Portrait