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.

Miriam & Jario -Mission, Texas – Ben Briones Studios

This sweet couple are such dolls and I mean that in all honesty. They are such a good looking couple. We had a blast doing this photo session. Miriam is the younger sister to one of the my brides, Melody Rios Contreras. Beauty does run in the family. I have photographed Melody, their parents and now these two love birds. One of my favorite things as a photographer is becoming a “family photographer”. In the photography industry that is goal worth working hard towards.

The photo shoot took place at one of my favorite places; Memory Lane Photo Spot in Mission, Texas. It’s a beautiful 100 year old home that has an old country style setting with a variety of sections to capture different type of unique photos. I really love the simplicity of their outfits. The touch of the red heart shaped balloons was super cute as well. Even though I may not be their wedding photographer I still feel blessed to have documented this milestone.
memory lane photo spot mission texas ben briones studios Miriam & Jairo_FB_BenBrionesStudios-2 Miriam & Jairo_FB_BenBrionesStudios-3 Miriam & Jairo_FB_BenBrionesStudios-4 copy

If you are celebrating a milestone in your life please fill the contact form below.

 

Adolfo Alanis – Boxer – Ben Briones Studios

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.

 Photo Credit: Jessica Musick mcallen photographer commercial photography Adolfo Alanis boxer ben briones studios photography weslaco texas houston austin san antonio AlanisBoxer_WEB_BenBrionesStudios-9 AlanisBoxer_WEB_BenBrionesStudios-13 AlanisBoxer_WEB_BenBrionesStudios-24 AlanisBoxer_WEB_BenBrionesStudios-29 AlanisBoxer_WEB_BenBrionesStudios-32

 

If you would like to schedule a unique photo session please fill the contact form below.

Good or Bad, A Review Is Good Business For You!

How valuable are reviews to your photography business? 

I would say that having good reviews or any type of reviews, rather they be good or bad, is extremely important to your business and to your potential client.

A good review assures you that you’re fulfilling your responsibilities and allows potential clients to see that you’re creditable.

A bad review also allows you to see were you need improvement. It challenges you as a business owner to correct the issue and lastly it shows potential clients that you’re human and make mistakes too. Just make sure to correct the issue and make it known to your online community.

On what social platforms should I have client reviews? 

  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Yelp
  • The Knot
  • Wedding Wire
  • Your Website

How do I get my clients to leave me reviews?

To get a client to leave you a review is a job in itself! Don’t get me wrong, many clients would love to leave you reviews but getting them to actually follow through is tough. In my business, I remind them at our product delivery meeting, via email, via Facebook, and through personal texts.

At times, we have offered an incentive to our past clients to leave reviews on all our platforms.

Client Reviews Take Home 

Obtaining reviews is good business practice. Reputation management is an area in business (especially a photography service type of business) that gets overlooked. Usually, a business only gets attention when it is being badmouthed! I urge you, as a aspiring professional, to look into boosting your client reviews.

If you would like to have a one-to-one conversation about the importance of client reviews, please email me at ben@benbriones.com

Why Should People LIKE Your Facebook Photography Page?

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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.

Photographer 1

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.

Photographer 2

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?

Photographer 3

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.

Photographer 4

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.

Photographer 5

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.

Photographer 6

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

Photographer 7

I don’t know if I get the return on promoting it with Facebook new sponsorship pricing. So no.

Photographer 8

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.

Photographer 9

To see my promos.

Photographer 10

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.

Photographer 11

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.

Photographer 12

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.

Photographer 13

To be updated on any work I’ve done or to updated on any contest or deals. Simple!

Photographer 14

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.

Photographer 15

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.

Photographer 16

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.

 

 

 

60% Businessman, 20% Technician, 20% Artist

Deciding to take your photo-career to the next level and start a business is a milestone in your photography journey.

I believe when you have reached this state in your career you are on the right path; especially because a decision like this comes from real demand for your unique services.

WARNING!

Your life is about to change. The balance between the businessman-technician-artist in you will have to shift for survival. Starting a business is the worst thing ever! You are taking a leap from a Monday-Friday 9 to 5 secure job and steady paycheck to a highly demanding Monday-Monday all hours of the day fluctuating income lifestyle, not a job, but a new lifestyle. The small business life is not for the faint of heart. You now have to value time over money. The misconception of going into business for yourself is that you’re doing it for more money or to be your own boss. Well my friends, that’s not the case, especially as a photographer. If you’re the type of photographer that wants to book clients, manage clients, shoot, edit photos, design products, personally deliver, market, advertise, and handle finances all on your own you will not go far! Going pro means you have evolved into a businessman and thus must think like one; this means focusing on your strength and outsourcing your weaknesses.

If you haven’t peed your pants yet, then here is how to get started on this wild transition from being a hobbyist to a professional photographer.

THE LEGAL

  • Decide your business structure; sole proprietor, LLC or corporation. Read more about business structures here,  Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. I personally began as a sole pro and then switched over to an LLC because there are risks one takes as a photographer that can result in lawsuits and an LLC protects your ass(ets). When it comes to dealing with government crap I get all scared, and because of that fear I hired a lawyer to handle the paperwork and legalities of registering my business. This route can get pricey as I stated in one of my previous posts but it was the best choice for me. I believe the registration fee if you’re going solo is $350.

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  • You also have to register for a Federal Tax ID. The government requires you to collect local and state taxes. Every service you offer has to be multiplied by 8.25% and that’s that amount you have to set aside for Uncle Sam. Click on the image below to find out why you have to pay taxes and how to go about it. The link will also allow you to began registering your business for a Tax ID.

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  • Register your business name with your local county. If you are operating in Hidalgo County Texas download and fill out this FORM.

BRANDING

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  • Will you be a signature photographer or create a studio franchise? This question is important in identifying the services you will be offering and how those services will be managed. My suggestion is to make a list of the services you want to offer and then ask yourself if you will have a hand in all those services or if you’re willing  to delegate them. This is important to know before registering your business because the government asks you to state the intention of your business. At this point you’re no longer just a creative now, your businessman-technician-artist balance is shifting.
  • After legalizing and deciding your business direction now a new concern arises; personal image. How do you want your business seen as? Who are your clients? As stated above once you have reached this milestone it’s because of demand for your unique services. That being said I would hope your business has some type of identity but you’ll be surprised how many photographers have decided to go from hobbyist to pro without any following or branding.

FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION

ben brione studios bank of america

Money makes the world go round and it will make your business go round as well. You have to open a business bank account! In order to do this you must present your Federal Tax ID. For my business I use Bank of America because I’ve had a personal account with them since I was 18 years old. Talk to my homegirl, Ada Montemayor over at the Bank of America on N. 10th Street in McAllen. She handles my business account(s) and can help you (956) 928-7151, tell her Ben Briones sent you.

The importance of a business checking account is crucial because it will help you manage the expenses and profit of your company. You can literally see if your business is growing or failing through the numbers. Most business checking accounts are accompanied by a savings account, which you could use for saving purposes or taxes. I used my business savings account to separate my sales taxes.

CLOSING

Follow these steps and do the research needed for your business. If you need to hire a lawyer do so. An account can also set up your business as well. I hope this blog was helpful and it will help you decide on taking your photography career to the next level. If you have any questions feel free to email me or fill out the contact form below.

 

When Do You Know If You Have Made It As A Photographer?

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Yesterday my friend Imanol Miranda reminded me of a question I posted in photography group we belong to called RGV Photoshoot Connect: When do you know if you have made it as a photographer?

Before I give my opinion on that question let’s Throw Back Thursday to the time we use to do photography for fun. Picture that first photo shoot you ever booked. Are you visualizing it? If you were like me you were probably asking your most prettiest friends to model for you. Remember putting the camera to your face and seeing endless possibilities? One, two, or three hours would fly by but you didn’t care because you were having fun. And don’t forget the hours spent in post processing contrasting the sh#% out of the shot because you wanted to show it off to your friends who would tell you your camera was the best and you would agree!

Those were the good’ol days!

Now we’re booking sessions left and right for both the pretty and the ugly. The possibilities have ended because every photographer and their mother have shot at so and so spot. The three-hour-for-fun photo shoots are now 30-minute mini sessions for ten-times the amount of money because our time and knowledge is now “valuable”. And if most of you haven’t outsourced your editing you’re probably still spending hours in Adobe Lightroom until your a$$ has gone numb.

So have we made it as photographers?

I’ll tell you this much…I freaking miss those days when you didn’t have think about paying taxes every time you pick up your camera to photograph a client. Creating a business is like birthing a hungry monster who never stops eating. But we’re making money doing what we love right? What’s that saying? “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Some of you are doing well for yourself. You have your own studio, you’re featured in magazines, and even traveling to shoot gigs. Still there’s some of you struggling who have a career job because photography does pull in enough cash. So who’s made it as a photographer; the full-timer or the part-time shooter? My opinion is both can claim to have made it! This why I say this.

You have made it when you learn to value free time and your passion over money!

Take this time to reevaluate your passion for photography. Sit down with a pen and paper and plan the next best thing for your brand. Approach a fellow photographer to talk shop. Share some your best work from the for-fun-days to remind you of why you picked up a camera in the first place. Take a Monday off to take your kids out to lunch at a park and take silly selfless with them. Time cannot be bought and we as photographers, know the importance of memories — so go out and make some.