Only four months after receiving his first Virtual Background system, Rick Avalos hit it big with his new Scene Machine! After a little bit of practice, Rick started to achieve what he felt was award level work so he submitted an image to the Professional Photographers of America for national judging. Not only was the print accepted for merit, it was also accepted for the PPA traveling Loan Collection which means Rick’s print will be shown in exhibits around the country. It will also appear in a book published each year by Marathon Press.
Scores Big with His New Scene Machine
In order to become part of the PPA traveling Loan Collection, a merit winning print has to be considered so superior that it can be used as an example for other photographers as well as for the general public to view.Only a small percentage of the many thousands of prints submitted to PPA for judging each year are selected for the Loan Collection.
Rick comes from a family of photographers. His father, Jack Avalos, started the Pueblo, Colorado studio in 1947. Rick joined the studio when he was very young. The studio had always been very traditional when it came to studio backgrounds, using only traditional canvas and muslin. They did not even have any polystyrene sets. But Rick clearly noticed the difference in the customers the studio served, especially the younger ones. They were looking for something different - something that reflected their style and personality. To accomplish this “new look” for Avalos portraits, Rick turned to adding background variety to his portraiture and chose to work with the Scene Machine Digital from Virtual Backgrounds.
Quoting Rick, “I was really surprised to find how easy it was to work with the Virtual Backgrounds system. I had some experience with a background system years ago, but now,it is so simple to use.”
Continuing, Rick said, “What really excites me is that I haven’t had tochange my lighting strategy even though I am using a Starfish which didn’t used to work with Virtual Backgrounds. They tell me the secret is in the new screen technology.”
Rick initially was concerned that his subjects might be uncomfortable with sitting in front of a black screen and not knowing what the background was going to be, but he simply turns this around to being a positive. He talks with his clients about the new technology and the exciting things he is putting behind them. When they see their results, it is all OOOHHHs and AAHHHs. Sales are great!
Always a believer in providing his clients with more variety and more creativity, Rick is now able to inject more creativity into his sittings than ever before. While he still reports that he personally likes classical type backgrounds, he admits that kids today want a jazzier look. Many of them actually reject the old classical look. Now he is able to give them both - the more classical look to suit the parents and the jazzier look to satisfy the subject.
Rick is anxious to share his new tools with other photographers. He is also eager to do more programs in which he will present his work with Virtual Backgrounds. His programs are based on Tom Peter’s three elements for success which include quality, service and innovation. Rick believes that we have to show the public something innovative and creative - something new every year that they can’t get right next door or with their own cameras.
Rick has already done a couple of proms with Virtual Backgrounds. He finds it much easier to bring a Virtual Backgrounds system than it is to lug around an entire set. And, the kids love having custom backgrounds for their event. A recent event had a wild west theme and the kids wanted a desert scene with cactus. Rick found it easy to create the scene from a slide and then added a few props.
“Virtual Backgrounds came at a good time for us - we needed it - and we had time to learn to use it.” Rick’s first presentation of Virtual Backgrounds to other professionals came recently in Phoenix. He had a system set up and operating with the images he captured being transferred immediately to a viewing screen.
We at Virtual Backgrounds are thrilled to have Rick using our equipment, winning awards, and talking about it to other photographers. Keep up the great work, Rick!