The Posing Stool – Ben Briones Studios

THE POSING STOOL 

If you own a photo studio or have worked in a photo studio you well know that the the posing stool is probably one of your most important tools in your studio. Here are 3 reasons why the posing stool is a must for studio photographers.

7u8b4375Reason One

Having a posing stool in your studio allows you to diversify your poses. You can sit your subject, you can stand your subject using the stool to lean on and you can use the posing stool to do just that, pose your subject.

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Reason Two

Having a subject sit gives you a different perspective which will also be flattering for your model. When a subject is sitting you can shoot from a higher angle sliming your  subject. You can also hoot from a lower angle giving a sense of grandiose or power to them.

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Pelican Cases = Successful Photographer

My Pelican 1510 loaded and ready for work. I’ve been using Pelican Products since 2011 and the products have been part of my success as a professional photographer.

I bought my first Pelican Case on Sunday, May 22, 2011 from B & H Photo and Video. I proudly purchased the Pelican 1654 Waterproof 1650 Case with padding and a lid organizer and it was the best purchase ever! Back then this setup cost me $338.94 but today something like this would cost you $463.31 from B & H Photo and Video. Sad to say I no longer own this model because I sold it to my cousin who’s a cinematographer.

Today I own three pelican case setups; Pelican 1510 Carry-On Case with padding and lid organizer (seen above), Pelican iM2620 Storm Trak Case with lid organizer and the Pelican 1560NF Case without foam.

If you have owed a Pelican case you know they are durable as hell and you can do so many things with them. Here are some of the ways I have used my Pelican cases:

  • Traditional photo gear storage and luggage
  • Photo Booth equipment and prop storage
  • iMac 27inch Travel Case
  • Clothing luggage travel for two people
  • Standing / Height stool (because it’s durable as hell)
  • Light Stand Weight

I am a big fan of Pelican and it’s has been an important piece of gear in my photography career that I hope to use until the end. If you have any questions about Pelican cases please feel free to contact me by filling out the form below.

 

 

The importance of Pre-production for a high profile portrait!

A week ago at work (South Texas College) I was assigned to photograph the college president. The school president’s schedule is always very tight. I got lucky that she was already going to be taking photos with The Monitor Newspaper in the morning so I was able to piggy-back on that. She was scheduled to be interviewed and photographed on a Monday so the Friday before I did some location scouting and light testing.

I asked a colleague to sit in and recommend locations since she is the facility manager. I was only going to have about 5-10mins with the president so I had to have a simple setup. The lighting equipment I used was the Canon Speedlite 600EX‑RT Flash, mounted and controlled by PocketWizards FlexTT5 Transceivers and diffused by a Westcott Rapid 26″ Octa Softbox. The camera I used was the Canon 5D MK III with a 70-200mm 2.8 Sigma lens.

Of all the locations we tested out we only used two. When you are photographing high profile subjects you want to make them travel the least possible and make them feel as comfortable as possible. My colleague joined me Monday to assist me with lighting and hair for the president. Make sure to take assistants with you when doing these type of portraits. Of the two locations used only one photo was selected and published. View the shot below.

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If you would like a photography lesson on pre-production please fill out the form below.

 

 

 

Dimitra Hernandez – Flashpoint eVOLV 200 Daylight Test – McAllen, Texas

A few months back I tested  the eVOLV 200 in straight 12:00pm daylight with and without a diffuser to see if it can be used during high-noon and these are the results from that product test photo shoot. Special thanks to my coworker and friend Dimitra for modeling for this product test. I have also conducted an indoor studio style test with light that can be seen by clicking on this link –> https://benbriones.com/2019/01/10/flashpoint-evolv-200-studio-head-shot-test-ben-briones-studios 

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If you would like a photo shoot with our studio please fill out the contact form below.

 

Photography Lesson with Edna – McAllen, Texas

Photography Lesson: Composition

A while back I met up with my good friend Edna, who is an amazing photographer, to do a photography lesson on composition. To be honest I don’t know why she does lessons with me because her work is amazing already but I’ll take any moment to teach anyone who’s passionate about photography and getting better with a camera.

 

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Photograph by Edna

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Photograph One – Edna V.

Photograph One – Edna V. –  BREAKDOWN 

The photo is really well balanced from the top and from the bottom. This is important in when composing a shot because you never know when your client may want to purchase a print. I always teach my photographers to shoot for print and this shot was perfectly shot with that in mind. The pose / body also forms a triangle and that is important to note because the human eye is attracted to simple shapes and if you can create those simple shapes through human poses you have won the eye. I also encouraged her to shoot from an angle so we can get the leading lines formed by the bridge and rails. This helps the viewer follow the lines to your subject.

Photograph Two – Edna V. –  BREAKDOWN

Often you find yourself near a set a stairs and want to pose your subject on the steps, which is what we did here. If it’s a long stairway I always suggest to sit the model 3 to 4 steps up from the bottom to allow some space above the head. In the photo above my student Edna gave enough space to frame the subject in the stairway. This setting was perfect for applying repetition, which is another important tool to use in composition. I was able to help see the shape in the body and the repetition of the stairs for the composition.

Kudos to my student Edna, as mentioned before, she’s already an amazing photographer and sharpening up her composition skills will just make her better. You can view here work her at this link: swankyfoto

 

If you are interested in photography lessons please fill out the contact form below.

 

Location Scouting – Sara Yanez – McAllen Convention Center

Here are some outtakes from a location scouting shoot. We had a photo shoot scheduled at the McAllen Convention Center for a quince that evening and I wanted to test the lighting, backdrops and angles so when our client showed up it would be super smooth.

I believe location scouting is an important part of a photographer’s job but sadly a lot of photographer don’t do it. It takes extra time to do but saves you a lot of time in the long run because it will make it a better experience for your client that you’re not having to guess where to to take your client and it will make your editing experience much easier. 04.13.17_PRINT_Sara Yanez_BBS-0000504.13.17_PRINT_Sara Yanez_BBS-0000604.13.17_PRINT_Sara Yanez_BBS-0001604.13.17_PRINT_Sara Yanez_BBS-0002804.13.17_PRINT_Sara Yanez_BBS-00030

If you would like photography lessons please fill out the contact form below.

 

 

Photography Lesson – Student Jennifer Trevino – Model: Paula Ysasi – Ben Briones Studios

Last Friday I gave an off-camera flash lesson to my student Jennifer. She had recently bought a new studio light and wanted to learn how to use it. My friend Paula was kind enough to volunteer to our model and she got a free photo shoot out of it!

Some of the things we went over during this lesson was learning how to expose to the ambient light and use the studio light for fill learning how to place the light and understanding the power outputs of the light and how to adjust your exposure fore them.

I wanted to show off some of the amazing photos she was able to get!

PHOTOS BY JENNIFER TREVINO! 

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ISO 320 85mm f5.6 1/125

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If you are looking into getting photography lessons please fill out the form below.

Local Talent Spotlight – Graphic Designer | Photographer – Maripili Menchaca 

Local Graphic Designer, Social Media Strategist, Photographer and creative Calligrapher, Maripili Menchaca was my go to person for this special project. When my client asked if I could provide photos from our Quinceañera session to create ninety plus unique party favors on 3-inch round wood pieces for their actual event to give away to their guests, I turned to Maripili. I had seen her work previously in her Instagram account and her Etsy shop “Charmingly Created“, and her style of work was perfect for this project.

The photography part for this project was easy for me to complete, but adding the message to the pieces was where I knew I needed help. Maripili was kind enough to make several samples for my client to see and choose from.  The finished project turned out to be great and my client loved it! I highly recommend Maripili for any creative services. You can find her work at the links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maripilistudio/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maripili.mp/ Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CharminglyCreated?ref=l2-shopheader-name

If you are looking for a unique fusion of photography and specialized handcrafted party favors for your special event and would like a quote for our photography services please fill the contact form below.

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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

For wedding photography quotes, please fill out the contact form below.

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.

Ben Briones Studios Equipment List

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One of the first things beginners always ask industry professionals is what equipment they are using. I know when I started off it was it was a question I would always ask.

Now I am not a gear-head nor do I care to have the latest gadgets in photography. I do not want to break the bank. In my opinion, an artist creates with what he is given.

The most common misconception in the photography industry is that the equipment makes the photographer better. My advice to any aspiring photographer looking to make a living off the trade is to stick to the equipment they begin with for 2-4 years at least before switching out or upgrading. The reason I say this and many industry leaders agree is because you must master your equipment and not let it control you.

I have owned my equipment for more than 7-years. The newest piece of equipment I own is probably my Canon 6D purchased in January 2013 and my travel light stand. The rest of the items I have had for 5-years or more.

Today you will get to see all the equipment I use;

CAMERAS: Canon 5D and Canon 6D

LENSES: Canon 25-35mm f/3.5, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 40mm f/2.8 and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8

LIGHTING: Canon Flash 430ex II, Canon Flash 380ex, Alienbee 800

TRIGGERS: Pocket Wizard Plus II Transceiver and Cowboy Studio Wireless Triggers

LIGHT STANDS: Manfrotto 420B 3- Section Combi- Boom Stand and ProMaster LS-CT Compact Travel Light Stand

If you would like to play around with any of the equipment listed here or try out anything else from my arsenal, then feel free to fill out the rental form below. 

 

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.