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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Kylo is my first official pet. Sara and I originally got him to gift to Sara’s sister but as we had him at home we fell in love with him and decided to keep him. If you know me I am not a pet person but Kylo really changed my mind. I love him a lot and I wanted to show off these great studio shots I got of him after a session.
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.
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.
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.
Felipe de la Cruz Sandoval, father of missing or slain Mexican student visits South Texas College to talk about their initiative to find their children. Very interesting but hard to photograph. Here are some shots from this event.
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Back in my UTPA days I photographed sports, specifically baseball. I would use a 400mm lens, which weighed chingos and I had to drag it around in a rolling case, but it was fun and a great learning experience. I recently found these shots in one of my old hard drives and thought it would be cool to share them with you. Enjoy!
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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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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.
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Here is another look at some of my first “professional” work I did back in 2006 for the Miracle Riders Bicycle Team. My friend Israel and I took on this gig as a photo and video team to photograph a two day bicycle ride from McAllen, Texas to San Antonio, Texas.
I was barely getting into photography as a career pathway so you can kind of see that reflect in the quality of the images and edits but you can definitely see I had an eye for it. It was quite a journey because for two days we rode in back of a truck photographing and filming this cycling team make their way to Bexar County. We took two days and camped out in Mathis, Texas, which was a really cool experience. It’s been so long since I shot this event but check out some of my earlier work below.
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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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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.
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.
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.
Last week Sara and I got the opportunity to spend thanksgiving week in Dallas, Texas cat/dog sitting for a friend. Naturally as a photographer, I had to document the trip, so I took my Nikon D600 with a 50mm lens and theses are my favorite shots that I captured.
Photo Credit: Sara Yanez, Imanol Miranda, Ben Briones
Understanding exposure is important when learning photography. A few weekends ago Sara and I went to the McAllen Convention Center so that she could practice photography. So that the lessons could be as accurate as possible we had the same camera setup; Canon 60D with the Canon EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens. We also used a Sekonic L-308s Lightmeter to try to get realistic exposures.
The lesson was to understand how Shutter Speed, f-Stop and ISO work together to take a picture. We went through how each one works and what it’s used for and then we began practicing in different areas around the Convention Center. On the photos below you can see the settings and a small description of what we were trying to achieve.
I have been giving photography lessons for over 4-years now but don’t really advertise it. I like to think that some of photographer’s I have hired and worked with learned from me but who knows haha. Currently I have 3 students this year who I meet with to give lessons to. Each student is a different level in their photography so I always try to provide unique lessons for what they seek to learn or improve on.
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