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!

Exiting Photography? WAIT! READ this first!

DON’T DO IT!

If you’re a professional photographer who’s been thinking about leaving the industry, don’t! There are so many opportunities for growth and income. I understand it can get tough. Especially if you are the only one doing everything in your business. You loose your free time, your weekends and sometimes you family. But don’t give up! There are plenty of ways you can still be an active photographer but with much less stress.

OPPURTUTNIES

  1. Second Shoot: reach out to the local photographer’s who are super active and always booked and offer your skill and time to assist them. Mostly likely you are already friends with these people and so it won’t be awkward or difficult to try to get hired as a second shooter. Second shooting is less stressful and at times allows you to be more creative than when you are the head photographer.
  2. Photo Editor: become a photo editor for local photographers. I would advice you to reach out to some photographers and let them know you are offering this service. If you are already a pro and people know your work, you wont have to prove anything to them. The most work would be learning how to edit in their style. Trust me, if you are an active professional photographer, you do not want to be sitting behind a computer editing photos for hours. Most professionals I know outsource their edits to online companies but I think hiring someone local will give them better peace of mind. Figure out a price point that you like and offer editing services to replace the income earned from one photo shoot each month.
  3. Photography Classes: since you are a seasoned pro, I think it would be valid to offer photography classes. I offer some to a few people and it’s a good little side hustle. Find a group of beginners and start a collective class or give individual courses in all things photography. Start with basics all the way up to complicated outdoor lighting. Put out an add on the paper, yes the newspaper! Or on craigslist or Facebook.
  4. Photo Booth Rentals: this side hustle idea has been one of my best ideas ever! I own a photo booth and rent it out frequently. It cost me a little over two grand to build, in which I built it in 2010, and since then it has returned my investment 10x. You can add this service to your existing packages to earn more from one sale or client or you can offer it as a separate business. It doesn’t really take much to operate one. You can setup and operate yourself or hire someone to do it for you. If you would like to find out how you can do this, message me!
  5. Rent Your Gear: Another risky but lucrative side hustle that will help you supplement some income. Many of you reading this will most likely never rent out your Canon 5d Mk3 or Nikon D810 and now the popular Sony AR III, but I would! Why you ask, because money bro! Money and culture! I have all the right legal documentation in place to protect my gear and sue your ass if you break it or steal it. And I also enjoy helping people who are barely starting and want to know if a certain lens or camera is worth buying, so they rent it first to test it out. I don’t have the best gear but I do have quality items and instead of them just sitting in my office Monday – Friday collecting dust, I rent them.

 If you need help finding ways to make extra income as a photographer, hit me up by filling out this contact form below.

 

HHD to SSD to HHD – Ben Briones Studios

ADVICE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

In 2016 I had a major hard drive failure with a 1TB Seagate and a 4TB Lacie, which were both regular Hard Drives. I lost client wedding photos but months later was able to recover them!

After that incident I went from HHDs to SSDs because they are much more reliable, faster and portable. Today I’ve officially gone back to HDDs and let me tell you why.

In the photography industry there is always innovation. Things get smaller, faster, better built, more intelligent and easier to access. In 2017 I had issues with the amount of space I had to backup my files. 1TB was not enough for the pace my studio was growing plus the amount of video production gigs we are booking. So quickly my 1TB SSDs ran out of space and we had to turn to the cloud to backup storage space. Files where spread everywhere and that was not safe. I was using both Dropbox Pro and Amazon Drive, plus a combo of different SSD and regular HD drives.

The issue is not that HHD are not reliable it’s how safe you keep them. Safety means not moving them, good enclosures and having enough space that you won’t have to be saving files anywhere else.

In 2018 we are working with 4TB of local HHD space for the year on RAID 1. We are also using Adobe Lightroom to backup and archive files because dragging and dropping files or folders from a mounted memory card to a hard drive is faulty. I advice all photographers to setup their Lightroom, Photo Mechanic’s or even iPhoto app to backup your files when you mount your memory card.

I can’t dictate how you should backup your files but I would give you this advice. Always back them up right after your shoot or event and double that backup because those pictures are one in a lifetime memories that you might not be able to replace. Ready my personal story on that here: https://benbriones.com/2017/04/23/mistakes-of-a-photographer-ben-briones-studios/

Edinburg’s Night of Lights – Ben Briones

A little throwback from this fun parade and small performance by the one and only Sara Yanez. Sara and her dance studio had a float and she sang as they passed by crowds of people lined up on highway 107 in Edinburg, Texas. If you didn’t have a chance to catch the Edinburg Night of Lights Parade this year make sure to catch it next year!

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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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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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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 reality. Every opportunity 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!” 

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.

 

 

Andrea Almaguer – Mcallen, Texas – Ben Briones Studios

One day, after work, Andrea approached me when I was leaving work. She asked if I could take some photos of her because she was running for Student Governemnt Association President. Well guess what? She actually won and I’m very proud of her and happy I was a small part of that achievemt.

This is her story.

“As an International student, moving to the United States has been a time of difficulty. The adjustment of immersing myself in a new culture through the language and personal experiences, was overwhelming. South Texas College has been my very first school in the United States, and I wanted to start getting involved on campus. During my first semester, Spring 2016, I joined the Student Leadership Academy, the Honors Program, and the Student Government Association. I became the Secretary of SGA, and having that position as officer helped me to learn leadership, communication, and networking skills. Currently I’m an SI Leader here at STC for College Algebra, and enjoy the gratification I get from helping my students. I wish to continue serving students and helping them in any way possible.

Deciding to run for President of SGA was a simple decision, and what I have learned is that people will try to push you back and undercut your goals, but the only limits you have are the ones you set for yourself.

Give me your trust.

Help me win this battle.

Help me win by voting this Wednesday and Thursday at Building H.

Give me the privilege to be your voice, and to be the voice of all STC Students.”

Andrea E. Almaguer

For President

Wishing you the best friend! 

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If you are interested in getting photos done for a special achievement please fill out the form below.

Stephanie Rios – Professional Photographer – Ben Briones Studios

There comes a time in your life when you have to ask for help! It is inevitable because as much as we think we could do everything and anything, truly, we can’t. And after we receive help it usually customary to thank that person. Today, I thank you Stephanie Rios!

crm-images_08-18-16_stc-203-copyMerriam-Webster’s dictionary defines help as the following: to give assistance or support to. Allow me to be the first to admit that I constantly need help and thus call one people for assistance. Mrs. Stephanie has become one of those people who has become my go to for support because she’s simply amazing.

Stephanie Rios is a wonderful mother, a gracious wife, a trusty worthy friend, an amazing sister, and ambitious and talented photographer.

I often refer to Steph as my shooting partner because the relationship is beyond a paycheck. I got to witness Stephanie walk down the isle as her wedding videographer. I got to witness Stephanie carry her beautiful son for nine months and document that milestone in her life. And I cannot forget about her husband, whom I have come to love equally, because to be 100% honest, Mr. Carlos Rios is badass. [Excuse my french.]
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Stephanie has helped me on numerous events, photo shoots, photo booths, and everything photography related. She’s extremely talented. She has an eye for detail. She has personality to become a super-star photographer. And I support it all. I support her ambition so much that I will defend her against anyone who tries to discredit her or worst not give her any credit for the skilled photography she provides anyone who hires her.

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This morning my friend Steph posted a  genuine question on a photography forum on Facebook called South Texas Photo & Video Community on how to approach photographer’s she second shoots with for credit on photos they share that she shot. For those familiar with forums you know it can get rowdy, and mainly by the know-it-alls [me included]. Well the question sprouted a healthy debate and insightful  opinionated information. [my two cents included]

The simple solution that I proposed to this type of issue is for the hiring photographer to create and have all second shooters / freelancers sign an agreement. Within this contract  the hiring photographer should include the verbiage and clarify the expectations,  responsibilities, and  intellectual property privileges of the second shooter. Sadly, none to very little photographers do this at all. I don’t blame them though, business knowledge is not that common in the photography industry. Many don’t take the time to see their brand as a business and that later become issues. [please read business books photographers]

A while back Stephanie and I did establish an agreement on how we will handle credit and images she has taken for my brand. And far from it do I ever not credit for her the help she provides me. I go beyond and link my clients to her personal brand; Stephanie Rios Photography because she’s worthy of praise.

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Photographers who are reading this I challenge you to credit your second shooters or assistants after your next photo related job. Give thanks publicly. Post your favorite shot they snapped for your brand. Take a behind the scene of them passionately grabbing capturing a moment. Take even further and share their personal portfolio so that your clients can see that you hire top quality talent.

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If you are looking to hire a photographer for your next event or photo shoot I recommend you a talented photography by the name of Stephanie Rios.


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Stephanie Rios Photographer 
Owner / Photographer
Weddings | Portraits | Children
(956) 313-1741
stephanievalencia7@gmail.com

Tric is the World’s First Professional Flash Trigger for iPhones

Tric is the World’s First Professional Flash Trigger for iPhones.

This blog is for all the iphonetography enthusiast. Have you ever seen the perfect shot that to your eye is beautifully lit and framed but when you when you finally take out your iPhone to capture the image you cannot document what your eyes sees? This happens to me all the time. We probably still end up shooting the image anyways and then taking it into an app like Snapseed or VSCOcam to edit the heck out of it to try to get it close to what the eye saw.

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Could you image in we could add our own lighting to these iPhone photos? How much better will your shot be? A lot of great photography is spontaneous and in the moment but now there are a lot of times when you do pose a subject because you just see a shot but yet again the lighting is out of your control. Well a few weeks back I was going through this super awesome photography concentrated website called Petapixel and found an article on a new product app combination photography iPhonetography enthusiast. Check out the video!

Isn’t that awesome? Could you imagine how much fun and convenient this product will be for us who just love taking photos with our iPhones? I love taking random portraits of my friends and sometime strangers and I think this app Tric would really super helpful in really capturing the image you see with the eye because now we will be able to control the lighting. For the seasoned professional this app could take their photography to the next level. Journalist would be able to provide quicker images, wedding photographers could upload images immediately instead of waiting to go home and backup the files to a computer with wifi and ultimately this can be a fun tool to have in your camera bag for any iPhotography enthusiast.

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