• Michael Ballard (Nilas)

Who is Nilas?

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Hey there, Hi.

I'm Michael... AKA Nilas.

I'm the owner, creative director, photographer, and all of the above at Nilas Photography. Nilas Photography focuses on a multitude of photography subjects, ranging from weddings and lifestyle sessions to adventure work and dark surrealism.

Born in California, late October of 1994, I grew up with a strong interest in photography.  It wasn't until about 2012 that photography shifted into a hobby.  Over the span of a few years, I slowly taught myself everything I know about the art of photography, eventually turning "Nilas Photography" into my full-time career at the beginning of 2016.  

My shooting style is creative, raw, authentic, and a bit unconventional. I love to capture the moment. In groups, I'm very calm amongst the chaos. Collected and laid back. Instructional when necessary, but not pushy. I'm not afraid to get dirty. I'll lay in the mud, hike up a mountain or swim in the ocean. Whatever it takes to get the shot. Though I am a professional, I prefer my relationship with clients and collaborators to be uncensored and laid back. After all, it's always best to be yourself.

While I shoot subject matter of all forms, my main focus at the beginning of my career has been weddings.  Weddings not only allow me to meet amazing people, exercise my skills and pay the bills, but they allow me to travel with pay and visit amazing new locations, just about every weekend.  I've been lucky enough to travel all over and meet so many great people through weddings. Aside from my career in weddings, I focus my efforts on conceptual dark surrealism and outdoor adventure photography.  My family and I are currently located on the West Coast of the United States and I perform my services anywhere in the entire world. My eventual goal is to become known as an international wedding, dark arts, and nature photographer. Perhaps even an educator.

A bit about my personal life; I am a family man. I have two sons, Salem and Nilas. I also have a lovely girlfriend named Hannah and her little cheeseball, Mason. Our little monsters keep us pretty occupied when I'm not working (as any parent would understand). My strongest interests are photography (of course), outdoor adventure, dark art, and the paranormal. I'm a bit of a weirdo, which I'm pretty sure is a good thing. I love stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. Adventure is life, and life is about the challenge. Whether it be the day-to-day or the big quests, we're here to push ourselves to go farther. I'm always seeking adventures that nobody, or at least few people, have experienced.

As a young artist, though I have already experienced successes and monumental hardships, I know that there is still so much to be learned. My grandest adventures are yet to be had, many interesting people left to encounter, and there are many great challenges still to overcome.  I am humbled by and grateful for all of those who support me on this unique and enriching journey. 

-Michael R. Ballard (Nilas)