2019 Reflection – Ben Briones Studios

Ben Briones 2019 Thank You

[Reflections of 2019]

There are so many people I could think of right now that I should be listing to give my most humble appreciation for their assistance in the success of Ben Briones Studios in 2019. To be transparent it wasn’t our most profitable year but it was a major year of growth, partnership, lessons, and love and understanding for business. I went from renting an office / studio at Grindstone in Edinburg, Texas to purchasing a home in north McAllen and dedicating two rooms of the four to the business. There were some great losses as well in personnel, time and tons of money but I truly grew from the losses.

[The Thank You List] 

Sara Yanez, Luis Reyes, Maria Dolores Alvarado, Roland Hernandez, Emiliano Peña, Xiomara Denisse Anzaldua, Jennifer Trevino, Jessica Musick, Joe Martinez, Ray Pedraza,

[New Job, Less Time]

I took on a major role at my 8-5 job, which really affected my business. As the chief photographer of South Texas College, I have become more involved than before and I am on salary as well so basically I am always on duty. There are some benefits of it though. You can see the work I produce for STC on RGVison Magzine, at our website and on billboards across the Rio Grande Valley. With this newly upgraded position at the college it has taken a big chunk of my attention away from the business and to my clients who have been affected I am truly sorry. In 2020 I will be better at balancing both jobs for sure.

[Things I Am Proud Of]

Here are few things I am proud of that I did or did not do in 2019. For the longest time I have been a huge advocate for Apple products when it comes to photography, but in mid-2019 I bought myself a powerful gaming PC to replace my iMac and Macbook Pro. I never thought I’d see the day where I would be using PC to run my photography business. In 2019 I also increased my studio photography work, which I am very proud of and really enjoy. 35mm film became a new thing in my arsenal as well, I even dedicated a page on my blog for my scans. Lastly, I resisted the whole Sony / Mirrorless crazy everyone and their mother was buying into, literally. I am happy to say I am still shooting and creating beautiful work with my Canon 6D of which I purchased in 2012. I did not need a mirrorless camera to “to take better photos”. I formed a great new partnership with Terry The Wedding Gal and that has been a long relationship way before 2019 but this year it really flourished.

[New Things I Learned]

New things I learned about running a photography business in 2019 were as follows; always pay your quarterly taxes on time, if not you will get fined big time. Lesson learned. Always backup your files three-fold because losing someones photos is emotionally and financially costly. I bought a Synology and stacked it with 16TBs and use Amazon Drive as well. Buying digital ads is the new and probably the only way to get new eyes on your brand, which lead to new prospects and clients. I thought I didn’t have to buy ads but I was wrong. Stop giving discounts! In 2020 I hope to give less discounts, unless you paying cash… Last thing I am going to say I learned was to take breaks or vacations. I tried my best to take Sunday’s off but as a workaholic it was very hard but I managed to have some free fun Sunday’s with no work. Hence the “Studio Closed” messages on my business Facebook timeline.

[2020, What’s New and What to Expect]

Price increases across the board for sure and no more discounts, unless you are paying cash. We can talk about that more in person. New gear for sure, although I love my beat up 6D, I am really wanting to minimize my gear list, so I am looking at some mirrorless camera like the Fujifilm XT-3, which I rented in 2019 to test out for various shoot types like portraits and architecture. Better communication and time management for the studio utilizing a CRM or business system. More days off and vacation. Been working my ass off since 2007 as a photographer, about time I take some vacations and go explore the world and photograph it.

With all that said I leave you with a SEE NEXT YEAR!

Looking for Light – Austin, Texas

When I lived in Austin, Texas while attending the University of Texas at Austin I would take walks and search for light. I loved exposing to the available light really capturing true contrast in real life. None of these photos are edited, they are JPEGs straight from my classic Canon 5D. I recently found these photos while backing up file online and I thought it would nice to share them! Enjoy!  IMG_3606IMG_3608IMG_3621IMG_3635IMG_3643IMG_3646

Nature Photography – Austin, Texas

Traditionally my photography leans toward portraiture and photographing people. I’ve noticed that the majority of photographers start off their photography careers photographing nature and I don’t blame them because photographing people is very intimidating, especially as a beginner.

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There was a time when I would photograph butterflies on my college campus in between classes but that was as far as my nature photography would go when I was first starting my photography career.

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I find it kind of hard to photograph nature and I have learned it’s because I don’t have any patience and because nature doesn’t respond to you. Recently I have had a want to shoot more nature but I just don’t feel like I have the time to do so. Hopefully that can change soon. In the mean time here are some of older “nature” photography I captured when I was living in Austin, Texas attending the University of Texas at Austin.

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Austin has beautiful sceneries in every corner so a lot of my “nature” photography was done when I would need to walk / commute somewhere. The majority was also taken on the UT campus because it’s such a beautiful mix of landscape, nature and architecture. _MG_9887

Hopefully I will be sharing more of my nature photography after this post. I feel excited to go out there and shoot, hopefully I find the patience and make the time. Thanks for reading!

Eat, Live, and Breath Photography

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EAT

For those who have been a career photographer for three years or more can probably relate. When on a gig or assignment you literally eat on your drive to the next gig, while editing photos at a coffee shop or in your office and sometimes your clients feed you too. If you are like me, I charge all my meals to my business account because for the most part I am always eating while working and for that I am thankful. Through photography I have been able to feed myself, my family and loved ones because I have followed my passion through and through, as if it was my next meal.

LIVE

Photography has been my passion since 2007 and we have just entered into 2019 and I am still going strong. I am more than sure I have done something photography related on the daily since 2007. When I graduated high school I went straight to the University of Texas Pan-American where I quickly got involved with the college newspaper and magazine as a photographer. When I transferred to the University of Texas at Austin it was to be admitted into their photojournalism program. When I was absent at parties and school events it was because I was either working on my photography business or shooting something for the college yearbook. Today I work at South Texas College from 8am to 5pm as their PR & Marketing Photographer and when I leave at 5pm I go straight to my home office to work on my photography business from 5pm – 2am in the morning. I live photography daily because it is my passion. It’s all I know and it’s all I love to do.

BREATH

When you become a business owner, especially a photography business owner, sometimes it’s hard to catch your breath because you are constantly working and bettering yourself. It’s important to sit back and take a breath of fresh air….SIKE! It’s actually really hard. To those photographers who find time to travel and put down the camera and remove yourself from the editing computer, kudos to you, I envy you. To those who are workaholics like me and have a camera within arms reach, hell yeah, let’s get this cheddar. (Sara, “But you’re lactose in tolerant.) Fuck it, I will still get the cheddar. If you love photography, breath it daily. If you find yourself gasping for air because you’re not working, start working and work hard.

PSJA Elementary School Choir Festival – Pharr, Texas – Ben Briones Studios

Very proud of my Sara for the performance her kids put on at the annual Elementary Choir Holiday Festival for PSJA ISD. She’s such an amazing music teacher and great choir instructor! Here are some fun memories from this event.

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If you want us to cover your special event please fill out the contact form below.

Sara Yanez – Waco, Texas – Ben Briones Studios

Last photo shoot of 2018 with my number one model, my Sara Pie! Sara and I have been vacationing in Waco, Texas for a few days but it has been cold and rainy but today the weather was nice so we took advantage and had a photo shoot with our Nikon D600 and 50mm 1.8 lens. We shot all natural light at this beautiful historic bridge in Waco, Texas. These are some of my favorite shots. Enjoy and happy new year!

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If you would like a photo shoot in Waco, Texas please fill out the contact form below.

Self Portraits – Ben Briones – 2008

Every photographer at one point takes a self portrait. I think this must of been my first self portrait since I purchased my first semi-pro DSLR camera in 2008 with my college fin aid money. After checking the metadata I saw that I shot this with my Canon EOS 20D. That stripe shirt use to be one of my all time favorite shirts to wear around that time. Memories! I think I am due for another self portrait session soon with another stripped shirt. 11.02.08_Ben Briones Self Portrait_MG_594411.02.08_Ben Briones Self Portrait_MG_595911.02.08_Ben Briones Self Portrait_MG_596011.02.08_Ben Briones Self Portrait_MG_5966

Butterfly Photography – An Old Obsession

Between 2008 and 2010 I use to have this obsession with photographing butterflies. I would take my camera to school at UTPA and hang around the small butterfly park next to the chapel and just wait around for butterflies to land on plants and flowers. Once I transferred to UT-Austin I would continue my obsession capturing pictures of butterflies on my spare time or when I needed to have a chill moment. I remember walking around with my headphones full blast playing Sigur Rós and just getting lost in the moment looking for butterflies to photograph. Here are some shots I found in my old hard drive. Butterfly2Butterfly3Butterfly4

My First Photo Shots – Yvonne Longoria – 2008

This is one of my very first “professional” photo shoots from way back in the day. The file metadata said it was created in 2008. These shots are recent edits but they are not far from the original JPEG files. I shot this with my first camera the Canon Rebel XTi. I think back then I aspired to be some type of fashion photographer. Yvonne was the cousin of my best friend Eddie who setup the photo shoot for us at Yvonne’s mom’s backyard. Wow, memories! If you wish to see the unedited JPEGs PLEASE let me know and I will add them to this blog for comparison. Look how are you have come young Ben Briones. 07.27.08_High Res_Yvonne Longoria_BBP-925907.27.08_High Res_Yvonne Longoria_BBP-926807.27.08_High Res_Yvonne Longoria_BBP-927307.27.08_High Res_Yvonne Longoria_BBP-928207.27.08_High Res_Yvonne Longoria_BBP-929807.27.08_High Res_Yvonne Longoria_BBP-9333

On Demand Photographer

Yesterday Sara Yanez strutted into our photo studio we have at Grindstone Coworking and demanded a portrait because she was wearing a new black dress she recently bought! She was lucky I had my camera ready to go because I had just finished documenting some events at Games of Texas in the morning.  Okay maybe even if I didn’t have my camera ready I think I still would of prepared the gear. I mean just look at this portrait… isn’t she just gorgeous? When Sara and I first met I would always take portraits of her and I think its time I start that backup again!

There is something beautiful about photographing your significant other. There are so many photographers who actually never show their girlfriend or wife off and that’s a little strange to me. I try my best to show Sara off when the opportunity arises. It also helps that she is drop-dead gorgeous and has amazing style. Men I say you bring your girl to our studio and have Sara and I conduct a beauty portrait session for y’all.

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Men if you are looking for a unique photo session for your girlfriend or wife with us please fill the contact form below.

The University of Texas at Austin Remembrance Walk – 2017

When you think about life there will always be those milestones that you are extremely proud of and will forever be stored in your memory. For me that’s my time at The University of Texas at Austin. The four years I spent there were some of my happiest moment but of my toughest days. To be honest the range of emotions range from the the worst to the best.

A weekend ago I took a trip up to Austin, Texas to take some furniture to my youngest sister Veronica because she is now attending UT-Austin now. Her and I have visited together before she was an actual student but this time around we took a two-hour tour of the places I use to have class and the routes I use to take back when I was a student.

I spent the majority of the time at the Moody College of Communication building

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View from Dean Keaton from the Moody Bridge at the University of Texas at Austin.

Moody College of Communications Court Yard at the University of Texas at Austin.

Moody College of Communications Court Yard at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Moody College of Communications Study Area at The University of Texas at Austin

The Moody College of Communications Study Area at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Student Union walkway at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Student Union walkway at The University of Texas at Austin.

Stairs to the Main Mall at The University of Texas at Austin.

Stairs to the Main Mall at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Main Building (also known as The Tower) at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Main Building (also known as The Tower) at The University of Texas at Austin.

Garrison Hall at The University of Texas at Austin.

Garrison Hall at The University of Texas at Austin.

Garrison Hall hallway at The University of Texas at Austin.

Garrison Hall hallway at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Main Mall at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Main Mall at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Turtle Pond at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Turtle Pond at The University of Texas at Austin.

This spring break I will spend a whole week in Austin!