December 2008 Issue

In this issue:

Season's Greetings from
Virtual Backgrounds!

The Calendar Project:
2009 Free Theme Photography Calendar

VB Print Competition Update:
Over $5,000 in Combined Prizes

for the Top Three Winners!

A Great Way to Promote the Studio

2008 Featured Photographers:
The Year in Review





Goodbye 2008
and

Hello 2009!

If any professional photographer doubted the existence of the perfect storm, 2008 has been a real awakening.  No one questions it today, especially now that the economic catastrophe has hit the country and even the world.  Professionals face their biggest challenge ever. The challenge is coming from many sources.  Some think it is all over for professional photography, and for some it is.  However, for those who find ways to rise above, there is a bright future.  The very technology that is challenging the professional also provides the professional with new opportunities.  There are choices to be made.

There are many ways for the professional to rise above and prosper, utilizing tools and methods that result in highly desirable products that the amateurs and low level professionals cannot create on their own.  The Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system plays an important role in helping the photographer rise to success.   The professional can provide the client with a total experience that includes infinite background variety enabling the matching of background content to the total image including totally customized backgrounds.  The key is to provide the client with as many clear reasons as possible to schedule an appointment with a professional and then to produce results the customer cannot refuse.  A trip to the local park to do some shots or using just plain old studio backgrounds just won’t work anymore.   Absolute variety is the key especially when that variety includes products the amateurs and low level professionals cannot produce.

With the dawn of 2009, we’ll see more and more photographers reaching new levels of success, even in these tough economic times.  When we make our products desirable enough and market them well, we will have customers, especially if we utilize innovative ways to bring the customers in.



VB Closes for
the Holidays



Virtual Backgrounds will be closed December 24, 2008, through January 4, 2009, so that all of our employees can enjoy the Christmas holidays. We wish you and your family a very happy holiday season!



New VB Workshop Format
Trevon Baker Will Teach Day 2 and 3 Each Month!




Beginning in January, there will be a major change in the very popular Virtual Backgrounds workshop.    Trevon Baker from Kalispell, Montana will teach the second and third day of the workshop.  Jim Wilson will teach the first day.  The third day will be extended to a full day to provide more hands-on time.   An optional fourth full day will feature a special presenter.  In January, the speaker will be The Prom King, Rick Harding from San Antonio, Texas.  Rick is going to share his high volume prom and special-event photography secrets!  For more information, contact your VB consultant.












All of the above images we
captured by Trevon Baker



Be a Featured Photographer

Virtual Backgrounds is always looking for photographers who are highly creative in their use of their Virtual Backgrounds system to be featured in our “Featured Photographer” section of The Backgrounder.  So, if you have some great prints, send them to us for our editor to review.   

Photographers everywhere are coming up with great new ideas in their use of Virtual Backgrounds.  You can do it too.



There is More than One Way to Make a Buck or Skin a Cat

There is no one perfect way to operate a professional photography operation.  There are so many variables.  There are so many different ways to do professional photography.  There are so many ways to market professional photography.  If what you have been doing isn’t working, or isn’t working as well as it used to, chances are it won’t get any better if you don’t change.  Remember, a definition of insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

If you plan make a living or at least a significant number of extra dollars from professional photography, maybe it’s time for a change.  We’ve all heard the political statement, “Yes I Can” and psychologically speaking, there is a lot of meaning to that statement.   If you carefully research your market, if you come up with new ways to satisfy your public, you can win.  In fact, Yes! You Can Win!



Save on Demo Equipment



VB is offering all of its current demonstration equipment for sale at a special reduced price.  The equipment has been only slightly used for demonstration at trade shows and special programs and, therefore, is just like new.  This is an ideal way to obtain a Virtual Backgrounds system at a special reduced price.  Contact us for pricing information!



The Prom King will Teach at the January 2009 VB Workshop



January 26 – 28, 2009 are the dates for the first Virtual Backgrounds workshop of the year held in the new Earn and Learn center at Virtual Backgrounds in San Marcos, Texas.  The workshop will be the first one taught by Jim Wilson and Trevon Baker.  It will be three full days allowing ample time for hands-on experience.  The workshop is followed by an optional fourth day featuring Rick Harding, a specialist in prom and school photography. 

Contact us for more information and to sign up for the January workshop!

Click here for more information on our VB workshops and the workshop dates in 2009!


















Get The Perfect Storm
for Professional Photographers

Free!



Contact us for details!



BACKGROUND POWER!



An amazing book filled with cleaver marketing ideas! Regular price $39.95. On sale now for only $19.95. Contact us to get your copy today!


Send Us Your Thoughts!

If you have any experiences with Virtual Backgrounds that you would like to share with the readers of The Backgrounder, please write to us at [email protected]

Perhaps you have had an especially successful experience, or perhaps you solved an issue that would be helpful to others.  Let us know and we'll share it with the readers of The Backgrounder!


Season's Greetings from All of Us at
Virtual Backgrounds!




The San Marcos based team at Virtual Backgrounds wishes all of you the very best in holiday wishes.  It is our intent to help you, our customers, grow your business, enjoy what you do, and have even more prosperous new years ahead by helping your customers with their professional photography needs.  It’s an adventure we all share.  We thank you for the relationship we have had and look forward to serving you in the future!


The Calendar Project:
2009 Free Theme Photography
Calendar for Photographers


Sample from The 2009 Calendar Project

Professional photographers are going to be able to get a free 14 month photo calendar, with a host of new ideas to profit from theme photography.  The calendar is the result of a joint project of Virtual Backgrounds, Marathon Press, American Photographic Resources, and photographers Diane Wilson, Cindy Cofer, and Elma Flores. 

Originally conceived by Diane Wilson, the calendar project will contain portrait images which all represent various examples of theme photography, which is rapidly becoming a highly successful niche profit producer for photographers.  All of the images were captured using the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system to create the various backgrounds.  The props are all available from American Photographic Resources.  Marathon Press did the printing.  Forty-thousand calendars are being printed.  Calendars will be given out for free at various trade shows including PPA in Phoenix and WPPI in Las Vegas.

Diane Wilson, the lead photographer for the calendar project, will be presenting a number of workshops on growing profits with theme photography at the VB Learn and Earn education center in San Marcos, Texas.  The next themed workshop is scheduled for February 9-12, 2009.  The four-day class will be limited to just 10 participants so that everyone can get extensive personal experience with Diane.  Diane is known as the flea market photographer because she operates her highly successful studio out of an indoor flea market north of Toronto, Canada.  The Diane Wilson workshop will cover a broad range of topics all involving theme photography.  There will be extensive hands-on experience with the intent of enabling participants to immediately launch their venture into theme portraiture.  Contact Virtual Backgrounds for information and to get signed up for Diane’s themed workshop today!


VB Print Competition Update:
Over $5,000 in Combined Prizes

for Top Three Winners!

Plus Everyone Wins Something!

There is only one month left to enter the Virtual Backgrounds photo contest.  The only requirement is that the entry photographs be created with the use of Virtual Backgrounds.  The other rules are simple.  Only unmounted 8 x 10 prints will be accepted.  This is a competition for the photography itself.  We are not judging on mounting, matting, and other effects not relevant for this competition.  There is no entry charge.  Also, if requested, every entrant will receive personal consultation on their entry prints.  No other competition offers these features.

The first place winner receives over $3,100 in valuable prizes.
The second place winner receives over $1,600 in valuable prizes.
The third place winner receives over $900 in valuable prizes.

Every entrant receives a variety of special coupons from our competition sponsors. These coupons could be worth in excess of $1,000 when used.  It’s a no brainer.  Everyone wins!

Go through your image files to find some of your best or plan for special sittings for the competition.  Deadline for receipt of prints is January 15, 2009.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity.  It’s a win-win opportunity.

Click here for a PDF download of
the model release and entry form!



2008 Sponsors



Click here for a PDF download of
the model release and entry form!



A Great Way to Promote the Studio

Elma Flores of Elma’s Portraits in Dripping Springs, Texas takes a unique approach.  She wants her potential customers to see her work and to start thinking about investing in portraits.  She decided to exhibit at the Dripping Springs Christmas event, using a tent and showing numerous large samples of her very intriguing work.   The event gave her a lot of exposure for minimal dollars.

Earlier this year, Elma attended a Diane Wilson workshop at Virtual Backgrounds to learn about theme photography.  She immediately went home and began producing extremely impressive results and was the Featured Photographer in the September issue of The Backgrounder.

You can learn more about Elma by visiting her Web site at www.elma.ws .




Pictured above is one of the latest images created by Elma Flores of Dripping Springs, Texas.  Customer’s love the results!    Quoting Elma, “I love my Virtual Backgrounds system!”



2008 Featured Photographers
The Year in Review

Each month, as an inspiration to professional photographers everywhere, we feature a specific photographer in each issue of The Backgrounder. These featured photographers create outstanding work with their Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system, using our products to grow their business and profits.

Below is a recap of the featured photographers for 2008. Each of these photographers have unique styles. Virtual Backgrounds is such a flexible tool that as seen below, each of the photographers can express their individual creativity. Even more so, with Virtual Backgrounds, they are able to enhance their creativity and go further than they ever thought they could go.


Click on the links after each month to view each entire story and many, many more of their fabulous images.

JANUARY



Image by Don Hileman

Boardman, Ohio photographer, Don Hileman is determined to take his New Visions Photography to a whole new level with his Scene Machine system.   Hileman says, “I’m not traditional.  I would not want to be traditional ever again because when I was traditional, I was a starving photographer.  My studio doubled its business and continues to thrive even though so many other photographers are suffering.” Click here to see the full story.

FEBRUARY



Image by Walter Austin

Walter Austin of Mission, Texas states, “To me, Virtual Backgrounds was the best investment that I ever made.  It is what makes me money.  If it wasn’t for Virtual Backgrounds, I would not be in business.”  Walter uses his photography for much of his work but is especially recognized for his full length photography combining Virtual Backgrounds with complementary props. Click here to see the full story.

MARCH



Image by Rainy Chastine

Rainy Chastine is earning a really outstanding reputation in the Atlanta, Georgia area for her extremely creative photography and especially for her photography of children.  Almost immediately after setting up her Scene Machine, Rainy was turning out results that we were anxious to share with our readers.  We are sure that you will be hearing much more about this high energy photographer. Click here to see the full story.

APRIL



Image by Lora Yeator

For West Virginia photographer, Lora Yeator, the Perfect Storm doesn’t seem to exist.  This mostly self taught professional photographer is thriving and just moved from her basement studio to her totally new facility.   In business for only 2 years, Lora is clearly demonstrating that it is possible to thrive during these difficult times if you deliver unique highly creative products for your clients. Click here to see the full story.

MAY



Image by Trevon Baker

Trevon Baker of Kalispell, Montana, a regular instructor for Virtual Backgrounds, demonstrated in his recent workshop how he could take 24 shots with 11 different contemporary backgrounds in 20 minutes!   The temperature may be well below zero in Trevon’s community, but he is never at a loss for providing his clients with an infinite variety of complementary backgrounds without venturing into the cold.  Trevon will be teaching two of the three days of our monthly Virtual Backgrounds workshops in San Marcos, Texas. Click here to see the full story.

JUNE



Image by Joseph & Louise Simone

Joseph and Louise Simone continue to set the standards for the ultimate classical portrait.  These two Montreal Canada photographers teach around the world as well as at Virtual Backgrounds in Texas.  Their emphasis is on creating the truly classic timeless portrait as opposed to machine gun type shooting.  The Simones use the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system for about 75% of their work. Click here to see the full story.

JULY



Image by John & Teresa Chandler

John and Teresa Chandler set up their studio in Richlands, North Carolina after their career in the US Marines.  “Since we came to your facility to get our Scene Machine and attend the Simone workshop, conservatively speaking, we have tripled our income.”  The Chandlers were looking for a way to be super creative and they found it in the Scene Machine. Click here to see the full story.

AUGUST



Self portrait by Stanley Burgin

Stanley Burgin of Mansfield England has been a world leader in producing award winning work with his Scene Machine.  He was Virtual Backgrounds' very first international customer.  Today, Stanley is 79 years old, and he has by no means shut down his Scene Machine.  He continues to conduct research into producing new and different images for his clients. Click here to see the full story.

SEPTEMBER



Image by Elma Flores

Elma Flores of nearly by Dripping Springs, Texas regrets not investing in a Scene Machine years ago.  “Virtual Backgrounds is probably the best investment I’ve ever made.  It’s not expensive at all considering all the possibilities.  I wonder how I managed to work without it.” After taking Diane Wilson’s workshop on theme photography, Elma is making theme photography one of her specialties. Click here to see the full story.

OCTOBER



Image by Brian & Debbie White

Brian and Debbie White of Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada use their two Scene Machine systems to set themselves far above their competitors in school photography.  “We use the Scene Machine for 100% of our school work and our business has doubled!”  The article shows their basic set up for in school photography.    “There is no looking back,” states Brian White. Click here to see the full story.

NOVEMBER



Image by Esso Noordhoff III

Esso Noordhoff III and his father thought about getting a Scene Machine for their Amsterdam Holland studio for years and finally made the plunge in late 2007.  Their results and their customer response have been so outstanding that they are planning on getting another system for their second studio.  They use their Scene Machine to maximize their minimal studio space.  They photograph both tourists as well as local clientele. Click here to see the full story.

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