Posted on October 9, 2019
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.
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.
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.
Posted on January 20, 2019
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.
Posted on April 23, 2017
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.
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.
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.
Posted on September 20, 2016
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!
Merriam-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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on September 24, 2015
Iliasis Muniz is a super talented up and coming photographer out of the South Padre Island area. She has been creating lively art for her clients for over 3-years now and has big ambitions to expand way beyond the Rio Grande Valley. She’s bubbly, giggly and a lot of fun! Definitely important qualities to have in the photography industry. For anyone who is familiar with photography personality, Jasmine Starr, Ms. Iliasis Muniz tends to remind me of her a lot, but of course, Iliasis has her own flair and unique qualities that allow her to stand out.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Iliasis for the first time this past Tuesday. What I really enjoyed was that she turned out to be exactly how you would imagine her being just by her personality on social. And to top it off she was so nice and brought me an unexpected gift. We met at Moonbeans in McAllen, Texas and talked about photography, business and life. Then we produced this pretty cool video interview laying out a little bit of her story. I think till this date this is one of my favorite episodes of The Photographer Series! Check it out, enjoy it, and let us know what you think!
You can view Iliasis Muniz’s work at the following links
If have enjoyed this interview and want share your story fill out the contact form below.
Posted on September 7, 2015
Stephanie and Carlos have been together for such a long time now so this next milestone in their lives is only natural. I had the blessed opportunity watch and film them look each other in the eye under God and say I Do and now they are expecting a baby boy anytime soon!
I present to you Stephanie, Carlos and their baby boy!
If you are expecting a child and are looking into getting some maternity photos please fill out the contact form below.
Posted on July 3, 2015
After editing these awesome photos shot by Jessica Musick, an associate of my Studio, I can’t help but to be very happy with one a returning client and two the awesome work all my associates produce for my brand.
Trusting someone to go out and photograph YOUR client can be a scary thing. Delegating is a important factor to growth. It is also a important factor in building up your associates in giving them responsibility and ability to shine. For those who are looking into building a business that works best for you, never be afraid of trusting your associate shooters.
I will never take credit for the work my associates did, especially someone like miss Jessica Musick because she came into my brand as seasoned shooter. But I will take credit for the opportunity for growth in Jessica Musick’s photography career because I choose to completely trust her skill and ability to create quality art for my brand.
I present to you these intense portraits made by Jessica Musick for Ben Briones Studios.
You can view Jesscia’s personal work a Jessica Musick Photography.
If you would like to schedule a unique photo session please fill the contact form below.
Posted on April 14, 2015
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 email@example.com for a one-to-one training session.
Posted on February 6, 2015
Have you ever asked yourself what your greatest fear a photographer is?
Last week I took a survey to see what photographers dread the most and many had valid fears such as; equipment malfunction during a job, or equipment being stolen, and not making enough money.
We have all faced the fears listed above and overcame them and that’s why we can share those experiences but there has to be something deeper that will just shut us down and make us put our camera away forever.
My greatest fear is the image of success without feeling successful.
It tears me apart that people look up to me and yet I can’t stand to see my own reflection. This is me being completely honest with the photography community. Now I am proud of the success I have had as a photographer but during those successes I was actually there, but today I feel my image is not a true reflection of my “success” and that I am living on the image of who Ben Briones once was. The photographer in me has reached a plato. The businessman in me has lost count of all the numbers. To my clients I look busy and to my family and friends I’ve made it but honestly I’m just floating without paddling.
Reversing the fear and moving forward and doing work!
Today I woke up wanting to work, wanting to serve and being thankful for the life my God has given me. I may still be disorganized but I am acknowledging it. I may still be behind on work but I am rushing to catch up. Slowly I am regaining momentum and motivating myself to accomplish more than the day before. Last year I chose to be more transparent with my business through this blog and today I let you see directly into my world and my unspoken fear as a photographer. Now it’s time to work even harder than before.
The photographer lifestyle shouldn't revolve around your image but the work you put in to making that picture.
Posted on December 11, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on October 14, 2014
J’aime Les Livres (I Love Books) is a cool little book store located at 1219 N. Main Street McAllen, Texas 78501. Martha “Marty” Medina has owned and operated this quaint book store for over four-years. One day a friend and I decided to explore the small shops on N. Main and when we walked into J’aime Les Livres (I love Books) we struck a cool conversation with the owner. She gave us the history on the book store and then told us about this special event that she was hosting titled Single In The City. The event sounded cool; she was going to have food, drinks and fun secure social environment to meet new people. When she went deeper into why she was hosting such an event is where it stuck some heart strings. I personally love volunteering my services for great causes and she told us it was a PINK cause by faith; I volunteered my photo booth to this event. I want to be part of the local community of business owners so I knew volunteering the booth for this event and this cause would get me closer to that goal. I even took it one step further… I created this video for Marty and the event she is hosting.
So all you singles out there, come out and enjoy a nice night at a cute book store and meet new people and make a donation to good cause!
If you have an event for a good cause and would like to have a short video created to promote it please fill out the contact form below.
Posted on August 14, 2014
The race to the most Facebook page likes is the “in thing” these days, especially in the photography industry. There is a misconception that the more likes you get, the better you are than your competitors. Every now and then you’ll be scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see that photographers update their statuses with “Please like my page” or “10 likes away from 500 Likes, please visit my page”. I usually ask myself, “Why should I like your page?”
Think about it. What value does a “Like” bring to both you and the person who liked your page? I’ll be the first to admit that I was one of those people that would constantly ask for likes. I used to think the more likes I had the more potential clients I could gain, but now I know that likes does not necessarily transfer to paying clients.
A while back I made a small survey for local photographers and asked them to share their thoughts on why people should like their Facebook business page. Names will not be mentioned but I’d like for you to read what your peers are thinking and to see if it’s similar to your thoughts about Facebook likes.
Next week I will update with a blog post that will list ways Page Likes bring value to you and your clients based on some of the responses here.
I think I’m really good at what I do. My photos can bring a smile to people’s faces. I have 600 likes on my page but it doesn’t mean I have 600 clients or even potential clients. I like to think I have 600 people who appreciate my work and wanted to show it by liking my page. So people should like my page to see and appreciate the memories we, the client and I, make and bring some light into their Facebook News Feeds.
My Facebook page is obviously meant for people to see my work, but also to find out info about my schedule, etc… I make all of my announcements there, like when I will and won’t be available. Also, since my business is 99.9% word of mouth, and contact related, people like to see posts about other people that they know, so mainly I would say they should like it so they can see people’s kids that they know, and to find out about scheduling…make sense?
I think it’s important for people to like my page to get my name out there. For me right now I have a lot of ideas and tips and techniques that I’ve learned and want to put into practice. The more people know about me, the more I get to shoot. But as per Facebook, when a client or friends like your page they restrict the post they can see, since basically it free advertising. This is something I’ve recently heard of but for any page I think maybe “shares” need to be incorporated as well. So other people who haven’t liked your page can see it also.
Free advertising for small business. You got top dogs in the game like Alaa, Yoi and Jay and you got Eric Sierra and then You got the rest of us that have barely entered the game. The more people that like your page the more active your page gets. As long as one “likes” there goes the whole networking. That’s how Facebook works.
For me, personally, my personal page resonates more with my client/prospective client base than the actual business page. I struggle to maintain it and it doesn’t have as much reach as my personal page. When I started a few years ago, Facebook helped a lot and it was solely my personal page. As with my blog, my business is based off of me, who I am, so the blog and the personal Facebook page helped people connect with who I am. Honestly, my business page feels so cold to me and I have little interaction with it and with clients through it. So to answer your question, I actually think I feel indifferent if people like my photography page or not. I enjoy a more natural and tangible feelings everyday with my business so while social media helps, I have found other ways to connect with people than simply through the Facebook page.
Serious note: If they like it, they like it. I’m not one to push weight on people to “check something cool out” or anything in that similar sense. If I had to I’d say “Take a gander at the raw intensity I portray in my event portraits!” Only because I truly believe it’s my strong point in my work
I don’t know if I get the return on promoting it with Facebook new sponsorship pricing. So no.
I think people are always looking for something different and by liking someone’s page they might see something they like and have it made or done that way! It doesn’t really mean they will book you for it but keep you in mind.
To see my promos.
People should follow us if they like what we have to offer. They keep up to date on anything we do. Who doesn’t want to see great pics of people they may or may not know. While not necessary, it is a useful tool for publicizing your business.
That’s honestly a question I never thought about, but why should people like my photography page. Well not only are people able to contact me through there but they can also check out my work and see if my style of work, the way I edit or where I shoot is what they want for their photos. I think it’s easier to navigate and easier to stay posted on upcoming things like in case I do another park mini or even another one of my RAW shows if they are interested in going to check out my stuff up close and meeting with me. I like that it’s easier for clients to share there photos and also great for obtaining new clients.
Thats actually a tough question. haha. I suppose mainly to support local art, but to also keep updated with promotions and specials or giveaways. Everyone needs beautiful photos and its a chance to see some or to book a session for yourself. If anything its to continue to see the beautiful moments in the lives of others and to remind ourselves of true beauty in the world.
To be updated on any work I’ve done or to updated on any contest or deals. Simple!
Hey Ben! Actually I don’t have a photography page due to Facebook rules that require paying a handsome amount of cash to reach for your fans. However, if your question is related to Facebook posts related to the photographer’s work, then the answer is that they should follow it in order to get familiar with the photographer work. Photographer also may offer specials from time to another, that’s a good reason to follow him/her. A photographer can ask for a model male/female, so if the person think he could fit in the description, then it’s an awesome opportunity.
People should like my page because not only would it keep them up to date on the projects and sessions that I’m doing but it would also give clients an idea of what they would like as far as a photo session theme or location. I feel that my page is not limited to just one certain audience, which provides a plethora of inspirational ideas. My page also shows a small portion of who I am, which I think is important to a client. I try to connect with my clients in a way where they can see not only what I look like, what I’m up to, but also so that they can feel at ease during a session – even if we’ve never met previously.
1. Because they like what they see…photos. 2. They’re interested in some type of session….(wedding, XV, senior) and 3. So they can see whenever I offer any specials.
Posted on May 8, 2014
As a small business owner you have to organize your thoughts and task or else you will fail!
WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING!
Thoughts and tasks only manifest when they are visual. When you can see it then you can do it.
I use my iPhone 4S Notes App to make my to-do-list. Before I was cool with an “i” product I would physically write my to-do-list on Moleskin note pads. You’re welcome to use paper and pen but if you have a cell-phone then you have no excuses not to write down your thoughts and tasks.
I make a to-do-list every other day because I have so many ideas and too many tasks to mentally track. Once I type them out on my phone I email that list to myself and print it. The printed form allows me to
SCRATCH OUT items as I complete them so I can see progress.
DOING = PROGRESS = SUCCESS = MONEY IN YOUR POCKET (or whatever you value as success)
If you want your photography business to succeed WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING!
Posted on May 2, 2014
Posted on March 22, 2014
So, let’s get to the juicy goosey part, which is preparing your business for tax season and organizing all your numbers.
When I first started my business I did not know anything about business and how to handle its finances. I had no idea that bank accounts, profit and loss statements, FICA, taxes and all that ‘mumbo jumbo’ is what makes your business legit. I had to learn that as I went, but these days I’m eating up business books like it’s a buffet. You have to know these things to produce a successful business — this means — making a profit, AKA cash-money-dough!
And you may be wondering, what are these “things” ?
Número Uno: You absolutely have to get a business bank account or a separate bank account for it. This will help you monitor the money going in and out of your business. Having record of expenses is extremely helpful when tax season rolls around. This helps a lot because now you don’t have to struggle explaining to your accountant that the $40 charge at Red Lobster was for a client, and not for a date with your girlfriend.
Number Two: You have be good at tracking, and we’re talking numbers here, not zombies like the bad-ace Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. Although, you might end up looking like a walker if you wait last minute to organize those numbers (like I did).
The first day I saw my accountant I was sporting a fresh black button-up with off-white corduroys. The next day, I rolled up my sleeves and half-assed an obnoxious green tie so he wouldn’t notice I was wearing the same clothes from the day before. I slept at my office that night because the method of tracking I did on my income and expenses wasn’t the right one, obviously. I had the correct numbers, correct sums and I had the categories, but not in the form the accountant needed them. So, if you don’t want to make this same mistake, make sure you have the following categories tracked and summed up:
Contract labor, utilities, rent, phone and internet, tax-deductible meals, etc. Everyone will have different categories, but make sure you track the ones you spent the most on each month. At the end of the each month you need to have a sum of each important category, so that at end of the year you can create a profit and loss statement.
Track those numbers!
Número Tres: Learn about business. You will not understand what you are doing if you do not educate yourself on business. Here is a list of websites you can go to, ask questions and educate yourself to be able to do the previous two tips. I go to, Inc.com for the latest on business systems and any questions I have on business basics. For accounting and taxes I go to irs.gov, yes –the most boring website on earth — but it has all the answers to anything related to taxes. Lastly, for more personal photographer-to-photographer information I visit Nashville’s finest, ZachandJody.com.
The reason I am paying $2071 more in taxes this year as compared to the $800 I had to pay last year, is because I have educated myself in business and therefore, made a bigger profit. I have taken learning about business very seriously and you should, too. You are not just a photographer, you are now businessmen and businesswomen.
If you are interested in sitting down with me to help you review your business and give you one-on-one advice on business growth. please fill out the contact form below.