Soccer Player at Tiktok Viral Videographer – Lomabeat.com
With 107,000 followers on Instagram and 699,000 on TikTok, 18-year-old Damian Brunton has a star-studded social media presence, with collaborations with Bryce Hall, Riley Hubatka and other prominent TikTok stars and athletes. What started with a torn ACL turned into a career as a full-time videographer and photographer for Brunton.
Brunton, who originally planned to pursue his passion for football at the college level, wondered how to fill his free time following an injury that ended his football career in his freshman year of high school.
“My father is a professional photographer and has been taking pictures for about 30 years. He wanted me to try photography, but I never tried because he did and I wanted to do my own thing,” Brunton said. “When I tore my ACL he was like ‘Well now you have nothing to do so why don’t you go take some pictures.’ I went out, took a picture of a tree in our yard with a really cool sunset behind it, and I’ve fallen in love with photography ever since.
It wasn’t until October of his freshman year in high school that Brunton’s work started getting noticed by popular TikTok accounts. Brunton had around 50-60 followers on TikTok when he decided to post a video with his friend Shyla Ignacio, who had a similar following at the time.
“We were nothing on social media,” Brunton said. “I filmed a video of her dancing on my camera and posted it, put some pictures between her, and it got 900,000 likes and exploded.”
It was then that University of Nevada football running back Reno Dylan Overstreet, who had 100,000 subscribers at the time, noticed Brunton’s work and requested his own collage video. Brunton agreed, which resulted in another hit video.
“I thought it was going to be a one-off hit,” Brunton said, alluding to his work with Ignacio. “Dylan and I filmed it and the video got 1.4 million views. I didn’t think it would be a trend for me to start filming them.
With more than 14.1 million likes surrounding his uploads on the app, Brunton credits his work for starting the high-quality trend on TikTok where content creators use a professional camera to shoot their videos. Brunton typically follows the format of combining videos of a TikTok star/athlete with high-res photos embedded between the clips.
After taking off on TikTok, Brunton was able to create a full work schedule for herself, moving between Los Angeles and her hometown of Sacramento and collaborating with a growing number of major accounts. With the growing presence of TikTok celebrities making their way into mainstream media, such as the new reality show Hype House featuring various app personalities, there is growing stigma and attention surrounding celebrity types. Brunton is working with on the app.
“Very few people know how to handle fame, [so] many Hype House influencers let fame get to their heads and treat others accordingly,” said Haley Martinez, a third-year psychology student at Point Loma Nazarene University. “The show shows how it can frighten you emotionally and make you pretentious.”
Sophomore psychology student Anthony Thomé has similar feelings toward TikTok celebrities.
“Personally, I think our generation paid way too much attention to these random people and it gave them a lot of power,” Thomé said. “The power goes straight to their heads and honestly ruins their lives.”
Contrary to this stigma surrounding TikTok celebrities, Brunton has found his collaborations with the various influencers he has worked with to be an enjoyable experience.
“Most of them are so nice in person, it’s crazy how they’re portrayed on social media,” Brunton said. “They’re so welcoming and willing to take pictures and it’s really cool to be able to work with them.”
Brunton recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue her photography and social media career full-time, scheduling a minimum of three photoshoots a day.
“When I started it was just for the fun of taking pictures with my friends,” Brunton said. “It’s been crazy ever since.”
Written by: Kylie Capuano