Date A Photographer – Ben Briones Studios

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Sara has been my lighting stand in ever since I starting doing more studio photography and I love the looks and photos we produce of her. This one was from a light sit in from a photo shoot we did with a local Christian Rapper Efrain Salinas.

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Then there was this one taken in between a photo shoot. When our client Sara Montoya went to go change we took a few shots to readjust the lighting and this was the result.

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This last one was from a Sunday when Sara came to the studio after church to help me and demanded to be photographed because she loved what she was wearing.

Honestly I just wanted to show these off because Sara looks gorgeous in the photos!

If you’re looking to get professional portraits please fill the contact form below.

 

 

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Santa Ana’s Last Stand? – Republished Photo from 2008 – Alamo, Texas

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Back in 2008 I was contracted by The Texas Observer to photograph Mr. Ken Meritt, who managed the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refugee in Alamo, Texas. Merritt was trying to save to protect the refugee from plans of a border-wall and as of recent the national park faces that same thread again.

I am sharing this blog for two reasons. One, to show that in 2008 I was just as passionate about photography and story telling as I am today in 2017. Secondly, to bring awareness to this issue through the power of photography. Here stands a man doing right and fighting for a cause and still ended up losing his job. This portrait of Mr. Ken Meritt will forever represent the fight he put up to protect something very important to our community.

Stay informed because these are issues happening right in our backyard. If you are a photograph try to capture it as much as you can. Story tell!

If you are a publication and looking for a freelance photographer in the Rio Grande Valley please contact me for rates.

Dynamic Duo – Lourdes Paz & Sara Yanez – Ben Briones Studios

This summer Sara and Lourdes have been a tremendous help at the photo studio. Lourdes is a seasoned photographer who has managed a studio before and has a lot of experience being a professional photographer. Sara, on the other hand, is not a seasoned photographer but truly believes in me and my business and has invested her time into learning how it works and basically managing the office and even shooting and filming at events.  I couldn’t be more proud of the both and extremely thankful for everything they do for the business. 7U8B74907U8B7931

These two girls have more in common then they know. Both work for a school district outside of Ben Briones Studios. They both are into strange fashion. They both are artist in their own right. Sara is a musician and learning photographer and Lourdes a painter, graphic designer, drawer, and photographer. I am extremely fortunate to have them on the team and truthfully without them Ben Briones Studios wouldn’t be where it’s at. If you search their name in our blog you will find the work they do for the studio.

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You can follow their artist page by clicking the photo below!


FOLLOW SARA YANEZ

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FOLLOW LOURDES PAZ

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2 Days After Dad’s Heart Attack – Keirsten & Bobby Lopez Wedding – Ben Briones Studios

#TBT

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Two days before I filmed this wedding I sat in the waiting room of a hospital with my family at the left of crying and praying for my dad to come out okay from his operation. It was Christmas morning 2014 and my dad had a heart attack and my mom had secretly rushed him to Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance. In the mist of all the emotions I remained calm. I knew that whatever was going on was out of my control and I was okay with that. Thankfully my Dad came out of his stint operation successfully and lived to tell the story of his Christmas miracle.

Let that story show you that even in the chaos of life I took upon my responsibility and the promise I made to Keirsten and Bobby to document their wedding day. With the help of my best friend Imanol Miranda we took care of business. Thankfully Bobby, the groom, had gone through a similar situation and he shared empathy for my situation.

I almost didn’t do it. I was already looking for substitute photographers but my Dad, with the little strength he had, he told me to go and do it. My Mom too also assured me it would be okay.

Passion is what moves you forward. Passion is what keeps you strong. Passion is what builds reputation. Passion is what builds you up. Dad, you have always allowed me to do what I love and it’s because of you I can serve beautiful couples like Kirsten and Bobby.

If you’d like to know more about video production for your special event by Ben Briones Studios please fill out the contact form below.

Mistakes of a Photographer – Ben Briones Studios

As a business owner without any formal education you tend to learn things the hard way. In my career as a professional photographer I have made many mistakes. This blog post is to share my experiences and how I was able to overcome those mistakes.

There are four important things as a business owner you must stay on top of to succeed, your finances, your products and services, the care of customer and yourself.  Those components are what spins the wheels to move your business forward. Unfortunately, if one is off balance it can bring you to a complete halt.

In the commercial photography industry the care for your customer ranks number one and the care taking of their data follows. As photographers we capture and archive precious one in a lifetime moments. We photograph valued objects and subjects. Then after all the photos have been taken we archive them and protect them because the y are images our clients value. You too should value them just as much as your client. You are the caretaker of that data.

This leads me to my first mistake.

LOSING DATA | HARD DRIVE CRASHES | MISPLACEMENT OF ASSETS 

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I waited nervously at a corner table of a busy Starbucks on a Wednesday night. I was missing church but I had to because what I was about to do was extremely important.

I kept looking out the window for my clients to arrive. Finally, I saw their call pull up and park. They walked in together looking a little worried but still greeted me with a smile. By this time my heart was pounding out of my chest. I first presented to them their large canvas prints that they loved. I wanted to bring them joy before I brought them sadness. Then the moment came.

“Mr. & Mrs. XZY I have very bad news.”, I said in a low tone. I turned my MacBook to them I had setup prior to them arriving and I showed them the very small collection of video and photos I had left from their wedding. A few months before the hard drive I had their images stored in crashed leaving no chances of a full recovery. A company named $300 Data Recovery sent me back all he could restore from the disk. Most images and videos were currpot and unusable.

Tears rolled down the newly wed couples eyes. Gloom and disbelief filled that little corner table of Starbucks. I felt dead to be honest. The god of electronic data storage should of taken me with that hard drive too. They asked if nothing else could he done. If we could send the drive to another company. Nearly 70% of their wedding night memories in photo and video were gone!

Then the bride asked the right that nailed my coffin shut… “Why didn’t you back our files up on another drive?” [insert internet troll insults here] She was right. How could I be so stupid?

I thought all hope was lost until my friend Mike Garcia texted me one day asking me if some files off his CF card were mine. I asked him to send me a photo of them and low-and-behold…they were the “lost” files. Mike had allowed me to borrow his camera and memory cards for that specific wedding and I guess since the event he hadn’t shot or formatted his card because many images and video clips that were missing or not recovered were still stored in that CF card. I quick rushed over to his home to get the files and triple back them up because I now had good news for my clients.

The first thing I did while driving to Mike’s was text the bride about the good news! Not all the files were able to be saved but thanks to Mike, we had at least 80% of her wedding files back! Act of God! But though we had found the majority of their wedding files I still took responsibility and refunded the bride and groom completely for the wedding video services. I owned up to my failure with my wallet.

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THE MORAL OF THE STORY

Photographers: Always backup your files immediately after a shoot or event or even during the actual shoot. If you do manage to fall into this predicament always own up to it and do not be afraid to talk to your client. Never avoid them and be as transparent about any issues that will affect their data or files. Try your hardest to fix the issue or create solutions that will balance out the issue at hand. If any issue requires you to refund the client be ready to do so and talk to the client about a re-payment plan.

Clients / Future Clients: Technology is not trustworthy and is always changing. Be aware that there will always be some type of hardware failure when dealing with computers, cameras, and memory storage media. I assure you that it’s very rare and can be avoided by proper storage data archiving practices. Know that I will always do my best to resolve the issue and will pay top dollar to restore, revive or recover any lost or corrupt data or files that belong to you. I understand that as your photographer you are entrusting me with the most beautiful and special moments in your life and I am beyond honored to be a part of. I will do my best to communicate with you in all aspects of our business relationship and outside of our business relationship. I, most importantly, want you to know that you can trust me. 

If you have gone through a similar situation as a photographer or a client and would like to talk in detail about the issue please fill the contact form below.

Inspire Others Through Your Career! – Ben Briones Studios 

I was photographing a career day a while back at the South Texas College Mid-Valley Campus in Weslaco, Texas, when some students came up to me to ask if their was a booth to find out more on how to become a professional photographer.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT? 

Although everyone and their mother can become a photographer now-a-days, it’s still a great money making skill to have. I’ve been a career photographer for more than 7 years and it’s been extremely rewarding both financially and emotionally.

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My career in photography has been perfect in my eyes. I have photographed United States presidents and presidents in the making. I have photographed small coffee shop concerts to big time hip hop artist like T.I. My photography career also spans from small backyard parties to $5,000 plus extravagant weddings. I have also worked for various magazines and newspapers and have been published nationally.

LEARN AND TEACH 

One important thing about inspiring others is for you too to be inspired. I am always constantly learning about new photography techniques, new business models, about new equipment. Secondly, you too must be open to teach others what you know. Sharing knowledge is part of inspiring others. In the photography world you have two types of photographers; those who share and those who don’t. The ones who do are the ones who often you find  running a successful business.

HONESTY 

The core value of a good photographer should be honesty and let me tell you why. If you are a bullshitter you will be found out. The camera never lies. You should hold yourself accountable for all your screw ups as well as your success because people are watching you. I will be the first to admit that I have lost client files, I have broken equipment that wasn’t mine and I have run out of money where I couldn’t pay my help… but I manned up to all of them and took care of those issues. If you go around lying about your work and what you do in photography the industry will expose you. 

FANS, FOLLOWERS AND CRITICS 

To those who follow my work and are fans and even to those who dislike me, I say to you, THANK YOU! In some way you have inspired me to grow as a photographer and business owner. If you’re on your journey in becoming a professional photographer always be aware of your fans, followers and clients and never forget about your critics too. There’s going to be a day when you will need to draw inspirtiarion from them! 

 Love what you do and you may inspire others!

Entrepreneur Rant 

 I always see a lot of people post about their “grind” or their “hustle” but their behavior doesn’t reflect that…they are just bullshitting. For those who know me, know my work ethic, and for those who don’t–maybe in their eyes I’m just a bullshitter too. I know how hard I work and my day-to-day reflects it. There are very few people I know who truly work as hard as me or even harder and I respect them for it. 

When it’s true “grind” and “hustle” your portraying it disrupts your whole being, it disrupts your family, it disrupts your love life, it disrupts your friendships, and definitely disrupts your peace. You’re always “on” constantly thinking, planning, executing and producing. Problem solving becomes your superpower. Execution of ideas go from goals to relality. Every oppurtunity you get you try to build business. 

It’s hard. It’s lonely. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 choice and I’ve made mine. Now, “Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers only!” 

Austin Texas Photographer – Mount Bonnell – Ben Briones

#TBT

Years ago when I was attending the The University of Texas at Austin I conducted a had a photoshoot on top of Mount Bonnell for my client and she turned the camera on me and took these fun portraits.

I would always wear that leather hat that I bought at the City Wide Garage Sale hosted inside the Palmer Event Convention Center and those old roper boots with holes that I have had for years. You would never see me leave home without my Canon 5D (original).

Austin was good to me during my college years and I do miss it sometimes but right now I am building my brand in the Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg to be exact. Maybe one day once I am established here I will franchise in Austin but for now I travel up only when hired or to visit my friends.

If you are looking to get some photos done in Austin, Texas please feel free to contact me. We travel up at no cost. Click on the links below to see some of my work done in Austin.

FAMILY | ENGAGEMENT | GRADUATIONS

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If you’re interested in booking a photo shoot in Austin, Texas please fill out the contact form below.

Border Wall – RGV – Ben Briones Studios

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In 2008 I was contracted by The Texas Observer to photograph some portraits of 2 people being affected by the then new border wall. The two people you see below were challenging the government because they lived on a property in Brownsville, Texas and Granjeno, Texas where the government had plans to build the border wall literally in their back yards. The two won the fight and the construction of the wall was pushed back about 50ft – 100ft from their property.

Here is the original article titled Holes in the Wall by Melissa del Bosque featuring my work:  https://www.texasobserver.org/2688-holes-in-the-wall/

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I hope to go back to photographing major issues happening in our community! It was an interesting assignment that I had privilege of photographing. It actually got picked up by many other publications outside of the Texas Observer.

 

 

Graduation Celebration | Lora Lee Martinez | My Best Friend

Sometimes I miss my best friend but I know she’s enjoying her new life over in Virgina with her awesome boyfriend Tony aka TheLaoTieGuy! I was going through my blog drafts a few nights ago and I came across this draft and decided to write about this experience.

Lora graduated that day with her masters and she had planned to double up the celebration with her good friend Alessandra. Back in the day I use to carry my DSLR everywhere but now I rarely take it anywhere but this time around it was a milestone so I brought it out and captured these great memories. Today I look back at them and I am very proud to call Lora Lee Martinez my best friend.

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