Featured Photographers

Walter Austin
Rick Avalos
Trevon Baker
Stanley Burgin
John & Teresa Chandler
Rainy Chastine
Cindy Cofer
Lori Lynn DeRouen

John Dingo
Horacia & Nunila Dominguez
Rick & Deborah Ferro
Dave Filler
Elma Flores
Warren Gordon
Shauna Gustavson

Rick Harding
April & Larry Helsel
Don Hileman
Seung Hyu Baek
Lee Jang Sun
Jessica Laredo de Sierra
Esso Nordhoff III
Basil Pecknyo
Joseph Pellingra
Richard & Patty Rives
Shirlee Robinson
Joseph & Louise Simone
Bonnie St. Pierre
Richard Sturdevant

Angela Vaught
Brian & Debbie White
Winnifred Whitfield
Paul Wingler

Diane Wilson
Lora  Yeater

Joseph and Louise Simone

Not only are they recognized as the two best photographers in North America, but the Joseph and Louise Simone are also the most sought after teachers. They present their special methods to photographers from the Philippines to France to San Jose. Their portraits win one national award after another, both in Canada and in the United States.

With all this success and acclaim, what could the Simones possibly do differently? The answer is, they have discovered Virtual Backgrounds. The Simones had already developed a style of portraiture that made extensive use of backgrounds. Their backgrounds were either hand painted by Louise or they projected slides using multiple Kodak Carousel projectors. Obviously, the methods worked but they were cumbersome, time consuming and limiting. When they heard about Virtual Backgrounds and the Scene Machine, they traveled to San Marcos, Texas to take a look. It was an instant success.

The Scene Machine was like moving from snowshoes to a snow mobile. The very first portraits the Simones made with the Scene Machine were “loan collection” quality. In fact, one of those very first prints is being displayed by Kodak as a 40 x 60 in the Kodak booth at various trade shows.

The Simones immediately began creating their own background slides to fit their style. They found ways to incorporate Scene Machine backgrounds with their props and then quickly found ways to extend their range of creativity with its many special features.

Now, nearly three years since first discovering the Scene Machine, the Simones use it for much of their studio work in Montreal as well as a key part of their teaching. No one teaches more week long classes and makes as many one day presentations as the Simones. They love to share their methods and concepts with other professional photographers.

In addition to everything else, the Simones have published their newest book, titled The Portrait - Mirror of the Soul. They already have available a variety of video tapes, and a DVD. Many of the portraits in the new book were created with the Scene Machine.

Check out their web site at www.simoneportrait.com. You’ll find a listing of their upcoming presentations and weeklong schools. If you have never attended a Simone presentation or school, you don’t know what you’re missing.

“We’re thrilled to have the Simones using the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system,” says Henry Oles, developer of the product. “The Simones have shown us that there are no limits to what can be done with this product. We thought we had seen it all but now that the Simones are using it, there is a lot more to be seen.

Producing Their Best Work Yet!

Mention the name Simone among a group of professional photographers and you immediately have everyone’s total attention.  Without a doubt, Joseph and Louise Simone, from Montreal Canada, are recognized as two of the very best photographers in the world today.  They are also two of the most popular teachers.  They have won every competition and have achieved the highest levels of awards, including the prestigious ASP Fellowship.  The Simones will be teaching seminars across Italy in November, and across France after the first of the new year.

Just over 3 years ago, the Simones began using the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system so they could have infinite control over their backgrounds, which are an important part of their photographs.  No one has ever learned to use the Virtual Backgrounds system faster.  Their very first images not only made it into their new book, The Portrait...Mirror of the Soul but were also used by Kodak as giant poster prints in their trade show booths. Joseph used several of these very first prints with Virtual Backgrounds to earn his ASP Fellowship award.  Prints entered for the ASP Fellowship award are the most critically judged prints in print competition today.

Their book is becoming a classic that every portrait photographer should own.  Every image provides the viewer with ideas on lighting, posing, Photo Shop, Painter, and of course, background choice.  The book is available directly from the Simones.  They can be contacted at  [email protected] You can also visit their website at www.simoneportrait.com.

Two of the Greatest Portrait Photographers in the World!

Joseph and Louise Simone are known world wide as two of the greatest portrait photographers and teachers in the industry.  Not many people know the details about their history and how they rose up from their humble beginnings to a position of true prominence in the world of professional photography.  They do not know how they started to use Virtual Backgrounds and make it one of their most important tools to help further enhance their work.

Joseph Simone was born in Italy and at the age of just 14, he studied industrial design and then immigrated to France where he worked for ten years for different companies as a “turnmaker.”  The turnmaker is the person who works on a master design which is then copied for mass production.  It must be perfect.  Always looking for something different, Joseph decided to move choosing between Africa or Canada.  He finally chose Montreal where he started selling photographs for a studio photographer.  This is where he began his love of photography and where he also met Louise.  Joseph soon decided that it was time to open his own studio which he named Photo Studio Louise.  Joseph and Louise married in 1972 and Louise then became actively involved in photography in 1974.

Louise was born in Montreal and wanted to become a painter.   From a very early age she showed exceptional talent in art, including being able to draw a face from scratch as a teenager using pastels or charcoal.   Her father wanted her to become a teacher and discouraged her artistic endeavors, but the drive to be a true artist dominated.  Meeting and marrying Joseph cemented her future.

In 1974, the Simones purchased an established studio in Montreal and did every type of photography that came in the door including weddings, first communions, baptisms, portraits, and commercial.  It was in 1977 that they first heard about the Winona School of Photography, and they began taking courses to upgrade their understanding of true professional portraiture.  They wanted to be fundamentally different.  As a result of learning from great mentors like Don Blair, the Simones decided to move away from production photography and concentrate on producing only the highest quality images.  The studio name was changed to Simone Portraits.   

They decided that they could learn from the great master painters of the past, so Joseph and Louise spent a large amount of time in art galleries studying the fundamental factors that are common to timeless images. They then applied these principles to their own studio work.  Almost immediately, they began winning awards including being named Photographers of the Year many times by the PP of Canada.  Both Joseph and Louise quickly earned their Craftsman and Masters degrees.  Joseph recently received his Fellowship from the American Society of Photographers.  Both Joseph and Louise have been inducted into the Photographic Craftsman organization.

Five years ago, Sam Pelaia and Terry Deglau suggested to the Simones when they were teaching at the Texas School that they drive to San Marcos to see the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  They had been only vaguely aware of its existence.   Within hours of first seeing it, the Simones knew that it had to become part of their “tool box.”  Backgrounds had been an important part of their work but the Scene Machine made backgrounds so much easier to create and added infinite variety.  Today, they use Scene Machine for about 75% of their work and their results are impeccable.

After spending a great deal of time over the past 15 years teaching their methods all over the world, the Simones have a dream that is now coming true.  Together with Joseph’s brother, they have a true vineyard, the Cote de Vaudreuil, 30 minutes west of Montreal.  It is a very serious vineyard.  They just planted another 4000 new vines last year.  Their wine will be commercially available including plans to produce ice wine.  Every vineyard has to have a Chateau and the Simone Chateau is where the Simones are now teaching their methods to photographers who travel from all over the world. Of course, wine-tasting is part of the class as well.  Teaching at their Chateau greatly reduces their hectic travel schedule although they are also teaching this fall a special class in Tuscany Italy.  One place is still available in the Tuscany class. Click here for more information.

Four years ago, he Simones published a phenomenal “coffee table” book of their work titled The Portrait - Mirror of the Soul.  The book was so special that many of those who purchased the book were not photographers but rather people who appreciated fine art photography and wanted the book for display on their coffee table.  Professional photographers use it as their “bible.” The Simones are now working on a DVD training program as well as planning their Tuscany Italy program.  Their appearances on the national circuit will become more rare, but they are scheduled to once again teach a five-day class at Virtual Backgrounds this November.  Participants in a Simone class come away with a whole new appreciation for classic timeless portraiture.

The Simones style is clearly recognizable in all of their work, perfection, and timelessness.  They don’t shoot dozens or hundreds of photographs when doing a session.  They capture a minimal number of really great photographs.  That’s the nature of a timeless Simone portrait.   Studying with the Simones is indeed special.

Click here to be directed the Joseph and Louise's Web site.

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