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Lora  Yeater

Rick & Deborah Ferro of Jacksonville, Florida

Discovering the Power of Virtual Backgrounds

Jacksonville, Florida photographers Rick and Deborah Lynn Ferro didn’t give much thought to acquiring a Virtual Backgrounds system until Rick attended a Joseph and Louise Simone workshop two years ago. He was very impressed with the Simones’ use of Virtual Backgroundsbut Deborah wasn’t so sure.

Then, last year Deborah attended a Simone workshop and she too got excited over the unlimited potential for more creativity through paying more attention to the background by using a Virtual Backgrounds system. They both realized that their 1000 square foot studio was crowded with backgrounds and props. They needed a way to do more with less. So together, they made the decisionto get a Virtual Backgrounds system.

Initially, they were so busy with their other activities, including studio appointments, a full speaking schedule, and their own school, the new machine sat untouched in a corner. Rick and Deborah later took advantage of the opportunity to receive training at Virtual Backgrounds in Texas and from there were off and running.

Through training they quickly became comfortable with the technical aspects of the system. They realized that dropping backgrounds in was “cool,” but they wanted to be more artistic. Before becoming a photographer, Deborah was a painter and she wanted to find some way to incorporate her artistic skills into creating her own distinctive backgrounds. Deborah was always an admirer of Anne Geddes of New Zealand and how she uses flower images with her subjects. She wanted to do something with children and flowers but something that reflected her own style and was not a mirror image of Anne Geddes’ work. So, she went through thousands of slides and began coming up with selected images such as close ups of flowers that she could modify with her digital tools and use as backgrounds.

Now, the Ferros have had an epiphany. They really “get it.” They have absolute control over the total image - the subject and the background. No one else, especially the competition, would have their identical backgrounds. The backgrounds were now totally theirs. This was very important to the Ferros. In using the Virtual Background system with their own photographic slides as backgrounds, it sets them apart, not only on a business level but also in competition.

The photograph is no longer just about the subject but the background compliments and the subject and the total image becomes one work of art. They started working with several models and then began using Virtual Backgrounds with regular customers. Both the Ferros and their customers have been blown away.

Now, Rick and Deborah are teaching other photographers how to use Virtual Backgrounds through their presentations, live demonstrations and at the Ferro Photography School. It was also a significant part of their WPPI feature presentation. The Virtual Background system is now a  fundamental component in their studio operation. Visit their Web site and speaking schedule.

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