“To me, Virtual Backgrounds was the best investment that I've ever made! It is what makes me money! If it wasn’t for Virtual Backgrounds, I would not be in business.”
Mission, Texas photographer, Walter Austin, has nothing but high praise for his Virtual Backgrounds system which he uses for nearly 100% of his work. He has been actively using Virtual Backgrounds in one form or another since he first opened his studio back in the 1980s. Mission is a small but growing town in the deep south of Texas.
Walter was not always a photographer and has only minimal formal training. He once was a hair dresser and then a videographer. He happened to pick up a still camera one day, and he hasn’t stopped shooting since. His great grandfather and an uncle were photographers, but he really had no intention to go this route. Walter now occupies a building in the historical part of downtown Mission that was originally owned by his great grandfather.
Walter has always been an equipment and technology fanatic. He originally started out with a German made background projector and then got his first Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system. Today he has 3 Virtual Backgrounds systems, including a 10 x 12 foot screen and a 10 x 10. “I collect Scene Machines like I collect Harley Davidsons. I have 4 Harleys.” Walter is also very well equipped with the latest digital technology including three Canon 5D cameras and a wide variety of lens. His favorite is a Canon 35 to 350 zoom. He describes his equipment as his “toys.”
Austin Studio does all kinds of photography but much of his current emphasis is on bridal formals, quinceanera and general studio portraits. He avoids those areas of photography that are now dominated by amateur photographers such as weddings and general portraits taken in the park. “I do most of my work in the studio. Portraits are my main thing. I love to do studio work. I take 50 photographs of a quinceanera and I sell them even large wall portraits up to 30 x 40. Nearly every time they love the proofs so much that they buy all of them - even if it is 50 of them. I make them all so different using many different backgrounds, and they buy them. This is why Virtual Backgrounds is so super nice. If I did not have it, they would not have so much variety to look at and they would not buy so much. With this Scene Machine. Customers like all the different pictures and different backgrounds and they buy them all. I can personally vouch for that. They like them all and buy them.”
Austin studio has only one painted canvas background. He finds that the painted canvas is really quite good but it is such a lot of trouble to get it right. Walter much prefers studio work. Many of his competitors shoot in the park where every amateur also shoots. This is why he prefers to work in his studio where he has full control and can do things the amateurs and even most professionals can’t do. “Today anyone can buy a digital camera and take a picture in the park and have it come out real nice, but they can't do what Virtual Backgrounds can do. It makes me very special and that is why customers come to me.”
Walter Austin reports that many of his customers visit several studios before making a final decision on a professional photographer. But after they see Walter’s work, they always come back and select Austin Studio and Walter Austin as their photographer.
Walter has had a hard time figuring out his friends in the business. “They look at my set up and my Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds System and they are impressed, but then they don’t do anything about getting new equipment for themselves. They say they have money, but I don’t see it and they don’t invest in equipment. They say they are too old. Investing in technology is what makes me special. It is how I stay in business.”
The new Web site, http://austinphotostudio.net/, is his newest and most important method of advertising. He also uses his display windows and makes sure that he sells a wall enlargement to his bridal and quinceanera customers. The portraits always are on display as guests enter the studio foyer.
Virtual Backgrounds is proud of Walter Austin. He is clearly demonstrating how Virtual Backgrounds can be one of the most important tools a professional photographer can own.