February 2007 Issue

In this issue:

Diane Wilson Sees Immediate
Success with Her Scene Machine

David Graham of Ireland is Off to a
Great Start with his Scene Machine

Double Header Workshops Begin Soon

Trevon Baker Receives Photographic
Craftsman Degree at PPA

Diane Wilson Sees
Success within the First
Four Days of Operation
Clients Love It!

For three years, Toronto Canada area photographer, Diane Wilson, wanted a Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system, but her limited finances and the negative comments made by other professional photographers kept it only a distant dream.  “They told me it didn’t work and to stay away from it.  How wrong they were.” The images displayed here are from her first four days of operation. These clearly show that the Scene Machine works extremely well.

Diane’s story is really special.  Being a professional photographer was not in her plan.  She was a partner in a furniture company and bought a D1X digital camera to document the furniture they were making.  Some unexpected twists in the road, including being diagnosed with MS, changed all that. She got out of the furniture business and since she already owned a camera, and with training in art, Diane decided to become a professional photographer.  For three years, she developed her unique style based on using "sets" and doing extensive digital work. All of her work was of children with various handicaps.  She produced the work for charity and non-profit organizations.  She worked out of a converted garage and on location, but her health condition limited her location work. Finally Diane decided to try to make a profit with her photography.  She rented a 15' x 18' booth space with peg board walls in a local indoor flea market.  The new location also was her motivation to finally get her Scene Machine.  She made a special agreement with VB Canadian consultant, Patrick Riley to help her install it and Diane was off and running with her new system!

”I have so many things in my head.  I can’t wait to go forward.  I am an artist and I want to do paintings and turn them into backgrounds.  This is so exciting.  I want to do every fairytale.  I want to do little boy blue.  I need enchanted backgrounds.  Realistic is not my style.  I already have people driving an hour or more to come for a sitting. Since the flea market is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, I too can only be open on these days.  This is really exciting! There are no words to explain my feelings about the Scene Machine and the freedom it has given me!  I have no more worry about trying to steam muslins. I have more backgrounds than I can imagine!”

Diane makes all of her own costumes except for the wings which are made by Tammy Henderson at Enchanted Costumes. Diane uses several small props and even though she is confined to the 15 x 18 foot area, she estimates that she already has 20-30 different sets, all because she can change backgrounds using her background library slides.  She gets her props from the flea market, yard sales, thrift stores and antique sales.  She has no polystyrene sets because she doesn’t have the space.

Diane gives special credit to Pennsylvania Scene Machine photographer, April Helsel of Keepsakes Studio for providing her with background images to help get her started. Diane reports that because of her limited mobility from MS, her Scene Machine system is even more important to her because she doesn’t enjoy going on location. 

Diane says, “The outdoors is not art. I want to create my own complete settings. I think about my work long and hard and then transform the everyday environment into artwork.  Some day I am hoping to publish a story book of children’s fantasy photographs."

"Using my Scene Machine, I can take the same slide and use it so many different ways. The slide is only a paint brush...it is a tool.  It is like giving all the students in an art class the same materials and everyone comes up with something different.  This is great!”

Diane Wilson has two websites, one that focuses on her non-profit work (www.fairytalesofhope.com) and her new business venture site Until Dawn (www.untildawn.com).  She will soon be showing Scene Machine photographs on this site.

We predict that you will be hearing a lot about Diane Wilson in the future. She has energy, she has enthusiasm, she has ability, and now she has a better way to display that ability with her Scene Machine.  Diane clearly represents a major reason we are so enthusiastic about the Scene Machine, helping photographers become more creative, more efficient, and more profitable.

Double Header Workshops
are Being Introduced

Larry Peters is Scheduled to
Teach in May 2007!

Larry Peters using illuminated props.

Virtual Backgrounds is adding new “double header” workshops as part of our "Learn and Earn" instructional programs for 2007. Beginning in May 2007, Virtual Backgrounds workshop attendees will be able to attend two different programs in the same week.  You can attend the regular Virtual Backgrounds workshop on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning (May 7-9, 2007).  You can also then stay to attend a second workshop Wednesday afternoon and Thursday (May 7-8, 2007). 

Larry Peters, perhaps the country’s most famous senior photographer, will present the Wednesday and Thursday portion of the workshop.  Attendees can attend either or both workshops, with a special reduced price for those who attend both. Henry Oles, Virtual Backgrounds Founder and President, states, "Since so many of our workshop attendees come from all parts of the US and the world, the double header approach offers them the maximum amount of educational experience on one trip."

Contact us to register for the May Virtual Backgrounds Workshop and Larry Peters' special workshop.

The second double header being planned for the summer will involve Deborah and Rick Ferro from Florida.  The Ferros have developed their own unique methods for using their Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  They operate a very successful studio in Jacksonville and are popular speakers throughout the country. More details to come in the next issue!

Back Issues of
The Backgrounder

Available Online

Photographers can review all past issues of The Backgrounder by going to the Virtual Backgrounds website and clicking on the dancing Backgrounder icon or by clicking here.  There is an enormous amount of information in The Backgrounder about how to turn backgrounds into new profits. Check it out!

Why Should You Attend a Virtual Backgrounds Workshop?

Many photographers who purchase a Virtual Backgrounds system never take the time to attend the very popular 3 day workshop.  They choose to learn it on their own.  While it is not absolutely necessary to attend the workshop to be successful, it does give you a head start on success! Troy Herriott recently attended a workshop and had this to say:

Before attending this class I was scared of my system.  It sat unassembled and unused for months.  This class put me at ease and gave me the tools I needed to implement the Virtual Backgrounds machine in my everyday business.  I have no doubt that it will make a huge difference in my studio's bottom line.

Featured Item From
Web Photo Supply

Softbox 28 inch Octagonal
with Recessed Front


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Availability: In Stock Now
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New Professional Monostand
to be Introduced Next Month

March will be the official introduction date for a new monostand from Virtual Backgrounds.  This stand has many advantages over the traditional tripod or hand holding the camera.  It enables the photographer to quickly raise and lower the camera, from positions near the floor to above eye level.  The new stand can hold two cameras and even has a place for a laptop computer to work in conjunction with the digital camera.  Also important is the fact that it looks like a professional tool.

Watch for the official introduction of this new product in the March edition of The Backgrounder.

Shirlee Robinson Gives
Presentation to Connecticut

Denver area glamour photographer Shirlee Robinson recently gave a key program for the Professional Photographers of Connecticut, talking about her highly successful glamour studio.  The highly energetic Shirlee made it very clear that the business is out there if photographers will just go after it in new and different ways. 

Shirlee has never used a background other than ones created with her Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  It has always been one of her most important tools and now that she has switched to digital, she finds her results to be even more exciting...and Shirlee has never been without clients who schedule way in advance for the opportunity to be photographed by her. More of Shirlee's work can be seen on her website at www.leadingladyphoto.com.

Diane Wilson Enjoys Immediate Success
Working with Her Scene Machine!

Diane operates her studio in a total area of only 15' x 18.'

Foreground props help to create full length fantasy settings.

Irish Photographer David Graham is Off to a
Great Start with Virtual Backgrounds

When David Graham of Hillsborough Ireland purchased his Scene Machine at Photokina in Germany in October 2006, he promised he was going to put it to good use right way.  He’s right on track.  Hasselblad has selected David to be featured in the latest edition of Hasselblad News and two of the four images from David that are published there were created with his Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  The Hasselblad News is a written publication that is mailed to Hasselblad's contingency.

David also already has a few images created with the Scene Machine on his website.   He is looking forward to using his Scene Machine especially for his high key style of portraiture. We will continue to track David's progress and will share it with you in upcoming issues of The Backgrounder.

David Graham using Simone backgrounds

Trevon Baker Receives the
PPA Photographic Craftsman Degree

From left to right: Michael Taylor, Trevon Baker, and Henry Oles
The background was created with the Scene Machine.

Montana photographer, Trevon Baker and his sponsor, Henry Oles, pose with PPA President, Michael Taylor, for the official degree recipient photograph.  The background was created by the Scene Machine.  Trevon serves as a special consultant for Virtual Backgrounds.  He has presented programs throughout the USA and for the Professional Photographers of Canada and the Professional Photographers of Korea.  He has also lectured across Australia and New Zealand for Nulab.  Trevon has also taught a week long course for the Triangle Institute and is scheduled to teach at the North Carolina Spring Convention and the Texas Kerrville Summer Seminar. Congratulations, Trevon, for a job well done!

VB Founder Interviewed on WPIR

Dr. Henry Oles, Founder and President of Virtual Backgrounds, and San Antonio professional photographer Rick Harding were recently interviewed by Roger McManus for Photo Industry Radio. Click here to listen to the interview!

Why Should You Offer Senior 2008 Backgrounds?

If you want to photograph seniors, in today’s world, you have to really entice them with as much variety and contemporary looks as possible.  That is what the VB Senior 2008 background set does.  For only $159, you get 20 different Senior 2008 backgrounds.  That is a whole lot of variety for just a few dollars. 

Most photographers only include a couple of shots made with the special backgrounds but coupled with more formal shots, these images add additional excitement to every Senior sitting.  The Senior 2008 backgrounds are designed to cause Seniors to talk about your new backgrounds created especially for Seniors which in turn can bring in more Seniors and more profits for you.

Click here to see the whole Senior 2008 set.

Move with the Changing Times and
Fight the Perfect Storm!

Thoughts from Greg Stangl, M.  Photog. Cr. CPP

“The times, they are changing,” said Bob Dylan and this certainly applies to the photography industry.  The digital revolution and its resultant battles have impacted our industry in ways that no one imagined.  Dr. Henry Oles, in his visionary book, The Perfect Storm, demonstrates how several different battle fronts have combined to change the foundations of the portrait industry. 

As Dr. Oles says in the book, "Make a decision, Make a plan, Follow it."  As I have traveled around the country and talked to many, many photographers, I am hearing the same thing. “Our business is down, we are cutting back…pulling our punches.”  If you want to survive in this industry, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

Contact us for your FREE copy today!

Basil Pecknyo - Going Strong at Age 82!

Flint, Michigan professional photographer Basil Pecknyo is 82 and looking forward to getting into his new studio, going totally digital, and coming up with new ideas for his Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  Basil has been a long time user of the Scene Machine.  He also is highly devoted to continuing education. 

This January he attend the Senior Photographers Association convention in Florida, Imaging USA in San Antonio, and he once again took the 3 day Virtual Backgrounds workshop in San Marcos, accompanied by his wife, Margaret, on all the trips.  Now armed with a host of new ideas, Basil has returned to Flint to get his knee redone, finish his new studio, and put his new ideas to work for another successful season.

Why is Basil so successful in his studio?  The answer is simple.  He provides his clients with the kind of photography and service they want.  Virtual Backgrounds is a fundamental part of what he does, and so, they come back again and again, generation after generation. Where most photographers start to think about retiring when they are in their 50s, Basil has no serious thoughts about retirement.  He loves what he does!

VB will have a Major Exhibit at WPPI in March!

The above image was created by Joseph & Louise Simone
at the 2006 WPPI trade show in the Virtual Backgrounds booth!

WPPI will be a major show for Virtual Backgrounds where we will display a wide variety of prints and have an operating Virtual Backgrounds studio right in the trade show booth.  WPPI is also special because Joseph and Louise Simone, long time users of Virtual Backgrounds, will be making a major presentation for WPPI, emphasizing the significant new directions that they are taking in their work. 

The Simones are well known throughout the world for their outstanding photography and their teaching. The image above was captured at last year's WPPI show by the Simones in the Virtual Backgrounds exhibit. Imagine what you can do in your studio!

Want to see Virtual Backgrounds in action?

Click here for our upcoming trade show,
seminar and affiliate school schedule.

Also click here for information on our
Virtual Backgrounds Training Workshops.

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