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.
When I got my final letter recognizing my graduation status as complete, I celebrated with an over-the-top-wear all your UT apparel-hook’em horns selfie, but I wasn’t always this excited to be a University of Texas at Austin Longhorn. There were days where I wanted to give up, pack my bags, and move back to my mom’s. And that is because I was accepted into UT’s very competitive photojournalism program of which I didn’t complete. My best friend claims that I said, “I’m going to dropout and pursue photography full-time.”
So, why didn’t I?
The reason I didn’t drop out of school to pursue photography full-time was because a degree helps beyond school book knowledge. Ben Briones Studios would not be as successful as it has become without the experiences a college education gives you. It feels good to have a bachelors from a university ranked 22nd best in the United States and the 8th best public university and 30th among the words universities. Earning a degree period, should push you to become a better you. UT’s motto is ‘What Starts Here Changes The World’ and I truly believe I am doing just that.
Here are five ways my degree has helped me:
- Status; because I am a Texas Ex I have booked clients on that connection alone. #HireALonghorn
- Discipline; deadlines, exams, and studying has allowed me to reactivate my inner-student and apply it to my photography career. As ‘pros’ we have multiple deadlines, we are faced with real life exams and photography is constantly changing so we must study to stay relevant.
- Network; the lawyer who setup my LLC was also a University of Texas graduate and the day I went to pay the $2500 setup fee, it miraculously dropped to $700 because it was ‘3 P.M. and OU STILL SUCKED.’
- Knowledge; my last semester I took an Introduction to Accounting course as an elective, which I dropped a few weeks before graduation, but the knowledge I gained you best believe it has helped me manage my business finances.
- Confidence; college is scary but when you graduate you come out a totally different person. Confidence is built through relationships made on campus. Confidence is built through class presentations. Confidence is built when you walk on stage to grab that fake diploma and walk off stage without falling flat on your face in front of all your classmates, family and friends.
When college and your photography career collide.