How To Download Your High-Res Photos from Dropbox – Ben Briones Studios

We have been using Dropbox more and more to share your beautiful images with your much quicker than traditional media like DVDs and USBs. I have noticed some people still need help navigating how to download your files. You do not need a Dropbox account to download your images. I created this short easy-to-follow video clip to share with you the easiest way to download one file or your whole photo shoot. Enjoy!

If you are looking to take unique portraits and would like a quote on our photography services please fill the contact form below.

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Top 5 Wedding Planning Advice – by newly wed Ruby Salinas

Top 5 Wedding Planning Advice – by newly wed Ruby Salinas

First of all, congratulations on your engagement! Isn’t God just too good?

Here are a few tips that will help you as you enter this journey of wedding planning:

Pray! Pray! Pray!

Prayer is powerful and the Bible mentions in James 5:16 that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Wedding planning is a wonderful experience that can also be very stressful, everyone told me so but it wasn’t until it was my turn that I realized it was true, very true. Prayer is key!

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Do not let anyone ruin your day.

You’ll be surprised at the type of trouble people will give you during this time. But always remember at the end of the vows, the dinner, the pictures, toast, and the laughs this day is most important to you and your husband. The opinions that matter most is yours and his. If aunt Mary thinks red flowers don’t go well with weddings but you adore and want red flowers at your wedding, then have red flowers at your wedding! Aunt Mary will still love you even if you didn’t get red flowers. This is your day! 

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Get the primary stuff out of the way.

What primary stuff? The simple things, how many bridesmaids and groomsmen would you like to have, what color would you like them to wear, what month and season to get married on, what wedding theme/style to have etc. Once you choose these things lined up, the rest of the planning will flow much easier!

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Don’t wait last minute to contact vendors.

I mean it, do not wait! My husband and I had a long distance relationship and planned to get married in Houston because it was between both of our towns. Wedding planning was super hard for us because neither of us lived in Houston but thankfully we met some pretty awesome vendors who were very caring and nice to us. We also had one person we had contacted a month or two before our wedding and when we finally had the chance to meet up with her to pay for the service the vendor was very rude to us Sadly, since we were only two weeks away from our wedding we couldn’t drop this vendor. All we could do is hope that on the wedding day she would be more kind and respectful; she wasn’t. Wedding day came and things were running smoothly then, our caters started having problems with our vendor, she cursed Olive Garden off, showed up at our wedding, yelled at my mom, my dad, my husband, and even threatened to leave with all of her things leaving us without any silverware for our guest. It was horrible and I truly wish I could of found someone earlier but here we are married, happy, and blessed by God; that’s all that matters now but save yourself from going through the same horror of hiring a bad vendor due to desperation because you waited until the last minute.

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Enjoy this time!

Regardless of the troubles, the ups and downs, the stress, etc enjoy wedding planning the best that you can; before you know it your wedding day will arrive. Take as many deep breaths, breaks, and time to pray as you need to but never over work yourself to the point where you’re not enjoying wedding planning anymore. Surround yourself with the people you love and make this moment unforgettable! Shine bright future bride!

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Ruby Salinas is a Christian writer and beauty professional in McAllen, Texas.

Social Handles

twitter.com/GodFoundRuby
Ruby’s Blog

 

Instagram; how to extend your brand!

As photographers, Instagram should be a must-have app on your mobile device! It really helps tame the urge to shoot because we now have an outlet to photography on the daily!

Now for the professional photographers who are looking to use Instagram for both pleasure and business; the thought process of posting images becomes much more strategic.

Can I make money from the images I post on Instagram?

To be honest there are very few business-minded photographers out there. You’re probably not concerned about capitalizing on “your passion”, but I’ll tell you this…if you’re not then you’re just a hobbyist, even if you charge.

To my professionals who do want to make a living off photography, here are some pointers on how to capitalize on Instagram through your art and personal images.

1. Become transparent or “real” via Instagram. People want to see who you are and what you’re really about. Post your art but also post some of your personal life. This matters because people do business with people, especially in our line of work. Client relationships are important to the service industry because the happy clients are the biggest promoters of your brand.

2. Build a following around your brand by using a unique hashtag that will filter your images for people to explore your brand on the platform. Encourage your clients and friends to use these hashtags on posts and reposts they upload about you on their account.

3. Create a call to action on the post you purposely upload to use for sales. Invite the viewer to your website or blog. Or to repost your image with a reward for doing so. The call to action doesn’t lead to a direct sale but it brings awareness to your brand or unique product.

4. Utilize the video capability of the application. Photography comes first nature to you but video will challenge you to be more creative and appealing to build a larger awareness to your photography. Make a behind the scenes video of a session or of you selling a unique service.

5. Reply to every single comment that is made on any of your posts regardless if pertains to your photography or not. This goes back to being real. People do business with people and as a photographer this matters a whole lot. A social media expert, Gary Vaynerchuck, in his book The Thank You Economy talks about how you need to give the one-to-one attention to your customer base, and in return they will buy your product.

Capitalizing on your passion via Instagram can and will lead to more sells but you just have to be consistent and strategic with how you use the app. 

If you would like to know more on how you can extend your brand on this platform, feel free to email me at ben@benbriones.com for a one-to-one training session.

Redundancy Saves You and Your Photos – Ben Briones Studios

One of the scariest things for a photographer is to have one of your hard drives crash!

This post will walk you through the steps I take in order to store and secure my personal data and client images for my photography business.

1. Wedding Night: Most people after their wedding night would most likely go get it on, but not me! I mean I do get busy…backing up files though. First thing I do is transfer all the data from my SD or CF cards on to my main drive for the year. Next I duplicate those backups to a sister drive. Now I have my data in two different hard drives in case one decides to call it quits.

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2. Wedding Night Round Two: After securing my data on two separate hard drives I then burn a DVD of the data. These disks will only contain the top images from the job. Because I am an over achiever and like to produce a same-night-blog from the wedding, I already have up to 20-50 of my clients’ top images edited and exported in 300dpi. So those images are the ones I usually burn on a disk as a back up to my back up when I first backed it up on wedding night round one.

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3. Up in the clouds: Newly weds always have this feeling of being in the clouds after their wedding night. Well guess what, smart photographers do too! To be more redundant I like to back up my files or more specifically culled images to my Dropbox account. This cloud service allows me to have another secure backup accessible from anywhere just in case my house blows up and all my hard drives go down with it.

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You have no excuse to be losing client or personal data anymore! Back that thing up, people!  

If you would like more detailed information on how to securely backup your images for your business please fill out the contact form below with specific questions on the subject.

Photography, Love, and Jesus; How I Market in 2014.

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What did it take to get Ms. Mariela in front of my camera to produce this beautiful image, taking into consideration, we never met before this session.

Here is my big marketing secret… I asked! 

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 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
 Luke 11:9

Now do I believe this photo session was  miracle, no, but I had complete faith in The Lord that if I asked I would receive. Faith is powerful and practical and ya’ll know I love me some Jesus. One of His commandments to us [John 13:34] is to love to one another as he loved us and that teaching inspires me that in showing love to someone it will be returned. So I took a leap of faith and asked some friends and clients to advertise the services I was offering  while on a two-day trip to Austin and it worked.

Successful Word of Mouth marketing is love returned.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. Of course your brand has to have a good reputation and credibility but I am sure that’s something you already know. You cannot be shy in  photography. It takes good social skills to build a standing brand. Most of my clients hire me because Word of Mouth and yours can too. Paraphrasing the dynamic dual Zach & Jody,  “Turn your clients into walking, talking billboard for your brand.” As photographers we record some of life’s most valuable moments for our clients and that alone is a privilege. Word of Mouth marketing is trust and love between you.

Show love and it shall be returned.

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If you’re interested to book a photographer/videographer, please fill out the contact form below.

Do Friendships Make Better Pictures?

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Building healthy relationships is a key to success in photography. I met Susana back in 2010 while studying at The University of Texas at Austin. My roommate, Miguel Cobos, introduced me to her after an event they attended.  As a photographer I noticed her natural beauty right away. She had it all; freckles, colored eyes. height, dimples and a million dollar smile but what was most appealing was her beautiful personality. Susana was genuinely a very nice girl and that’s why I think we’ve been friends ever since. The pictures above is a peak of genuine friendship that developed over time. Susana claimed that I promised to photograph her one , which I probably did, and that day finally came on May 10, 2014.

Friendships my fellow photographers are what it takes to create good portraiture.

  • A friendship builds trust with your subject allowing you to be more creative.
  • A friendship allows your subject to feel comfortable which helps the session flow well.
  • A friendship allows the client to value your services thus having no hesitation to pay for them.

The trust that Susana had in me allowed for creativity to flow and put her in a state of ease that allowed me to produce some milestone images for her. It’s not everyday someone graduates from a nationally recognized business school like McCombs plus UT-Austin’s Liberal Arts Program. These photos represent a special time in her life. Susana is an extremely smart and driven woman with a bright future ahead of her. I am very proud to call myself her friend. I present to you my favorite images from her portrait session. Hook’em Horns! 

 

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If you’re interested to book a photographer/videographer, please fill out the contact form below.

60% Businessman, 20% Technician, 20% Artist

Deciding to take your photo-career to the next level and start a business is a milestone in your photography journey.

I believe when you have reached this state in your career you are on the right path; especially because a decision like this comes from real demand for your unique services.

WARNING!

Your life is about to change. The balance between the businessman-technician-artist in you will have to shift for survival. Starting a business is the worst thing ever! You are taking a leap from a Monday-Friday 9 to 5 secure job and steady paycheck to a highly demanding Monday-Monday all hours of the day fluctuating income lifestyle, not a job, but a new lifestyle. The small business life is not for the faint of heart. You now have to value time over money. The misconception of going into business for yourself is that you’re doing it for more money or to be your own boss. Well my friends, that’s not the case, especially as a photographer. If you’re the type of photographer that wants to book clients, manage clients, shoot, edit photos, design products, personally deliver, market, advertise, and handle finances all on your own you will not go far! Going pro means you have evolved into a businessman and thus must think like one; this means focusing on your strength and outsourcing your weaknesses.

If you haven’t peed your pants yet, then here is how to get started on this wild transition from being a hobbyist to a professional photographer.

THE LEGAL

  • Decide your business structure; sole proprietor, LLC or corporation. Read more about business structures here,  Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. I personally began as a sole pro and then switched over to an LLC because there are risks one takes as a photographer that can result in lawsuits and an LLC protects your ass(ets). When it comes to dealing with government crap I get all scared, and because of that fear I hired a lawyer to handle the paperwork and legalities of registering my business. This route can get pricey as I stated in one of my previous posts but it was the best choice for me. I believe the registration fee if you’re going solo is $350.

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  • You also have to register for a Federal Tax ID. The government requires you to collect local and state taxes. Every service you offer has to be multiplied by 8.25% and that’s that amount you have to set aside for Uncle Sam. Click on the image below to find out why you have to pay taxes and how to go about it. The link will also allow you to began registering your business for a Tax ID.

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  • Register your business name with your local county. If you are operating in Hidalgo County Texas download and fill out this FORM.

BRANDING

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  • Will you be a signature photographer or create a studio franchise? This question is important in identifying the services you will be offering and how those services will be managed. My suggestion is to make a list of the services you want to offer and then ask yourself if you will have a hand in all those services or if you’re willing  to delegate them. This is important to know before registering your business because the government asks you to state the intention of your business. At this point you’re no longer just a creative now, your businessman-technician-artist balance is shifting.
  • After legalizing and deciding your business direction now a new concern arises; personal image. How do you want your business seen as? Who are your clients? As stated above once you have reached this milestone it’s because of demand for your unique services. That being said I would hope your business has some type of identity but you’ll be surprised how many photographers have decided to go from hobbyist to pro without any following or branding.

FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION

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Money makes the world go round and it will make your business go round as well. You have to open a business bank account! In order to do this you must present your Federal Tax ID. For my business I use Bank of America because I’ve had a personal account with them since I was 18 years old. Talk to my homegirl, Ada Montemayor over at the Bank of America on N. 10th Street in McAllen. She handles my business account(s) and can help you (956) 928-7151, tell her Ben Briones sent you.

The importance of a business checking account is crucial because it will help you manage the expenses and profit of your company. You can literally see if your business is growing or failing through the numbers. Most business checking accounts are accompanied by a savings account, which you could use for saving purposes or taxes. I used my business savings account to separate my sales taxes.

CLOSING

Follow these steps and do the research needed for your business. If you need to hire a lawyer do so. An account can also set up your business as well. I hope this blog was helpful and it will help you decide on taking your photography career to the next level. If you have any questions feel free to email me or fill out the contact form below.

 

Make To-Do-Lists and Do!

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As a small business owner you have to organize your thoughts and task or else you will fail!

WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING!

Thoughts and tasks only manifest when they are visual. When you can see it then you can do it.

I use my iPhone 4S Notes App to make my to-do-list. Before I was cool with an “i” product I would physically write my to-do-list on Moleskin note pads. You’re welcome to use paper and pen but if you have a cell-phone then you have no excuses not to write down your thoughts and tasks.

I make a to-do-list every other day because I have so many ideas and too many tasks to mentally track. Once I type them out on my phone I email that list to myself and print it. The printed form allows me to SCRATCH OUT items as I complete them so I can see progress.

DOING = PROGRESS = SUCCESS = MONEY IN YOUR POCKET (or whatever you value as success)

If you want your photography business to succeed WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING!