When people tell you that timing is everything, this couldn’t be any more perfect to describe my experience working with Ben. The year I competed at Miss USA back in 2013, we met very briefly and chatted about perhaps working together but as life would have it, our paths never crossed. After four years of drastic changes and intense personal growth, I received a note from Ben asking if we could finally meet up in NYC to shoot and finally the timing was perfect.
I truly can’t express how great the experience was from start to finish. A couple of weeks before we spoke to go over the vision and what my expectations were so we could sync our ideas before the day actually came. From the moment I walked into the NYC hotel where we shot, the energy was magnetic. Bianca, the makeup artist, was one of the best I have had the opportunity to work with. The moment we went to start the shoot, Ben suggested we start the shoot with the casual top I had worn there and from the first snap of the camera, each shot was exceptional. Every outfit change came with a different energy that catapulted into another set of unreal images.
At this time in my life, I think the word freedom comes to mind. The ability to express the feelings behind the significant life events that I have experienced in the past five years, both good and bad. Ben was able to relate to this and help to really portray the start of the next chapter in my life. I am ready for the next step towards my goals and certainly working with Ben again to express my feelings of this journey.
Miss USA 2013
Elizabeth’s photo shoot was one for the books! From the moment we booked the shoot, Benizo was in contact with us on a regular basis and even though he is well known for his flawless work, he literally made us feel like we were the only clients he had! His efforts and the conversations we had were completely genuine. By the time we got to Dallas we felt more like we were visiting friends instead of the obvious, doing business. Benizo and Bianca both greeted us curbside with a welcome you would expect only from family! What happened after that was pure magic! Elizabeth had the best possible experience you could imagine! He made her feel comfortable and confident throughout the entire shoot and she walked away a completely different person! As we waited for the proofs to arrive, we tried to imagine how amazing they would be! What we received certainly exceeded our expectations. Elizabeth looked like a completely different person! She had confidence in her eyes that I had never seen before! It was as if Benizo was able to reach deep inside her soul and ignite a fire that we never even knew existed but was now very clear to see in her photos! Thank you Benizo for giving us not only photos that we will cherish forever but also memories of a trip that changed Elizabeth forever! You are not only her number one photographer but also a friend!
2014 was a year I will never forget – I achieved my life long goal and was able to represent the state I love. That year was also forever changed when I met one of the greatest souls there is – Ben “Benizo” Urcuyo. I had always admired his work and told myself if I won the title i would partner with him & create the same magic I had admired for years from other titleholders & women who, too were brave enough to evolve & grow with Benizo’s guidance, acceptance, & creativity.
We connected immediately and the magic just flowed – our first shoot made waves and that was only the beginning. We talked neary every day and Ben became not just my favorite photographer, but also my dear friend & part of my support system. I am forever grateful for Ben & will cherish our memories & our friendship for the rest of my life.
Miss West Virginia USA 2014
It will be 10 years now that I have worked as a professional model in Los Angeles, New York City, and international destinations. With this blessing, I have been given the honor to work with talented, world renowned photographers, and I can say quite honestly that Ben is the best beauty photographer I have ever worked with. I have never felt that my natural aesthetics have been captured more authentically than in Ben’s photographs. There are people who are passionate about their work, and there are people who live, breathe, and engulf both heart and soul into their work; Ben is the latter. Finding myself to have been the subject of a true artist, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to “make some NOISE” with him. Looking forward to making some more magic soon!
Miss California USA 2012
My first professional photoshoot experience was with Benizo! I was competing in my first pageant and the photos he produced were exceptional. From the start, his intention was to make me feel confident, the goal being to capture the essence of my true self. He gets into a flow while shooting and this makes for inspired work and photos every time! I used Ben’s photos as my headshots for both Miss Oklahoma Teen USA 2013 and at Miss Teen USA 2013. I have been back several times since, celebrating milestone years of my life, through a lens.
To say Ben made my first experience in front of a camera memorable is an understatement. During my shoot, he sought to get to know me and understand life from my perspective. He never fails to build one’s self-esteem and celebrate the unique and individual beauty of those who come to see him. I am grateful for the images we have been able to work on together, as each session brings something new!
Benizo is an amazing and gifted photographer, but also a person of depth. I believe his desire to connect beyond the lens is what makes his photos truly special! He has been with me through both mountaintop and valley years, as a constant encourager and positive soul. He has not only invested in my photos, but has invested in my life for the past 5 years. Ben is a photographer and an artist with a brilliant mind, as well as a faithful friend and supporter.
Thank you for being such an influential part of my life, helping me to see my potential, offering me words of affirmation, boosting my self-confidence when I needed it the most, and pouring into my life!
Miss Oklahoma Teen USA 2013
Miss Photogenic Teen USA 2013
Embracing your authenticity fearlessly is what I have taken away from my sessions with Ben and his HMU sidekick Bianca. I always admired from the sidelines Ben’s work and assumed you needed a crown and sash to be a part of his clientele, which just wasn’t the case.
Anytime Ben has sent me a picture from our sessions I instantly cry because of the emotion it brings me. Because with every shot was a moment that he was able to pull out everything I am as a woman and the feelings I have on the inside and transform that to a photo.
If you are reading this, know that I was just like you and researching “Benizo”, if you don’t have a sash and crown don’t be like me and let that hold you back from reaching out. I learned through my reign as a title holder that the crown and sash do not define you but give you a stronger voice to who you are, what you believe and what you stand for. I also learned that if you do not genuinely represent who you are (title or no title) then you will conform to everything you are not. Ben and Bianca helped me understand and embrace that through our sessions and I always leave those two feeling like a hot tamale that can conquer the world. If this sounds like this expereince could be more than just a photo session well, that’s because it is. So reach out and be blessed!
Miss New Mexico United States 2016
Miss New Mexico USA 4ru, Best in Fitness
Not confident or assured; uncertain or anxious.. that’s what it means to be insecure. I understood this, all too well. At some point in ones life, they too feel this way about themselves. Change. That’s the first thing that comes to mind as a solution. That we need to change our insecurities so they may disappear and we may, hopefully, finally feel confident. However, I recently have discovered a healthier and more efficient way to feel confident. Embracing those insecurities. That is what Benizo, a wonderful person and photographer has helped me accomplish, and I am so very thankful. Feeling confident behind a camera lens, and in my own skin was effortless with his help and his kind but strong words of motivation and encouragement. Never have I been more comfortable in my own skin than I did during this photoshoot. With every flash of the camera there was a reminder to take a breath, think less about how I look, and just be myself. Benizo and Bianca have helped me become more ‘me’ than ever, and that feeling is simply irreplaceable! I will continue to work on my self confidence and esteem so that I may always feel as these two have made me feel. Priceless.
In 2011 I was presented with an opportunity to shoot with Ben on his very first visit to New Mexico. As an admirer of his work I immediately jumped at the opportunity to get in front of his lens. Not knowing at the time, Ben would become so much more than a photographer taking my photo. He would become a mentor, an encourager and a lifelong friend. Ben most likely did not realize how much work he was in for when it came to taking my photo. Our first shoot lasted over 5 hours after some major walls came down. Ben would continue to break down these walls in me as our friendship grew over the next 4 years. I have never met a photographer that is so passionate about helping you let go of your fears so you could give fully of yourself in the photos he is capturing. The creative mind of Ben is ever evolving and with each new picture I am always left with an admiration for his talent. His vision, passion, spirit, dedication and complete joy for what he does are unparalleled. The excitement and energy he brings to each individual shoot are contagious and I can guarantee that the most unique beauty will be captured and a new sense of confidence will be gained. Ben, thank you for your spirit and your heart. Your belief in me has helped lift me up in so many ways. I am so grateful for your passion and your ability to bring out the fire in me. Can’t wait to continue the journey and create some more magic!
“Knowing that you can embrace your true self is the greatest crown of all.” -Benizo
All my love,
I had been wanting to shoot with Ben for over 3 years because I saw the beautiful work he and his models produced. Being in the pageant industry, a shoot with Ben is a must and I finally found out why. He got who I was from the very beginning and showcased it throughout our session and beyond with amazing, beautiful pictures many of my professional modeling pictures can’t hold a flame to. Ben is amazing and I’m so happy I was finally able to get the Benizo experience.
What words would I use to describe Ben? Passionate, artistic, imaginative, and professional are just a few of the words that come to mind. Ben has an extraordinary way of capturing the true essence of a woman’s beauty through his stunning photographs. I had no idea what to expect the first time I shot with Ben. In the past, I had worked with numerous photographers but always knew that Ben was one of the very best. Needless to say, I was a little anxious not knowing exactly what the whole experience would entail. From the moment you meet Ben, there is an immediate connection, and he makes you feel like his best friend. He is extremely down to earth, has an insane sense of humor, and creates such a comfortable atmosphere that before long, you forget you are shooting with one of the best photographers in the industry. He is an absolute perfectionist when it comes to his work which is evident when you view your photos for the very first time. As Miss New Mexico USA 2012, I am both extremely honored and privileged to be able to work closely with Ben. The morning after the Miss New Mexico USA pageant, we were up bright and early for a photo shoot after only a couple hours of sleep! I was amazed at the amount of patience and energy Ben maintained and was able to draw out of me as we shot for the next five hours straight! I was a little concerned about what my first photos as Miss New Mexico USA would look like with my sleep deprivation, but once again Ben was able to create some absolutely breathtaking or as Ben would say “HOT” photos! Thank you, Ben, for making me feel like a true beauty queen and for all the hard work, dedication, and commitment you put in to making all the women that you photograph feel amazingly beautiful and uniquely special
All my NM love,
Miss New Mexico USA 2012
Words cannot express the absolute honor and pleasure it has been to work with Ben. He changes the lives and helps build the confidence of young women everyday by helping them capture their upmost beauty through photography. Not only is he professional, talented, and absolutely brilliant; he puts passion, enthusiasm, and creative thought into every picture he takes. There was never a dull moment during our shoot and laughter filled the room the entire time. Everything we did was with a “go with the flow” attitude and it all felt so natural. He encourages you to be yourself during the shoot and takes into account your ideas along with his, creating the most beautiful photos you could possibly imagine. I am absolutely confident that we captured the most amazing photos together, and in turn I am so grateful to him! Ben is way more than a photographer to me, but a friend. Our shoot was an inspiration success and worth every minute!
Some people think that all it takes to win Miss Arizona USA is rocking it on stage in a swimsuit, walking with grace and poise in your evening gown and wowing the judge during an interview. But boy, is it ever so much more. When Ben came into my life I quickly realized that it took something more to win that crown and I am forever in debt to his enlightenment. Before my race to the title, I was at the gym everyday working on my exterior. However, it wasn’t until Ben’s artistic inspiration that I began to truly shine on the inside. I quickly learned that it was the quiet confidence that would make me stand out and I can say with conviction that it’s because of the creativity, imagination and unwavering support of Ben that I was able to ooze with confidence on that stage. This title is just as much his at it is mine and I can only hope that whoever may read this is willing to open up a new chapter and embrace Ben’s intellect and style. You will not be disappointed. After all, although I was crowned just four short months ago, I already felt like I was a queen on the very first photoshoot I shared with Ben.
Miss Arizona USA 2009
2RU MISS USA 2009
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