January 2007 Issue

In this issue:

Simone's January Seminar
was a Great Success!

Grand Opening of VB Learning
and Demonstration Center

Senior 2008 Slides Available

Korean Delegation Visits VB

Joseph & Louise Simone
Seminar is a Resounding

Success in San Marcos!

Another date will be scheduled
in the Fall of 2007!

Transcending the great divide and moving from everyday people photos to artistry in portraiture; that is what fundamentally happens at a Joseph and Louise Simone workshop.  Such was the case for 27 professional photographers, from as far away as the Netherlands and Canada, who attended the Simone workshop January 8th – 11th at Virtual Backgrounds in San Marcos, Texas.

The Simones emphasize putting passion into one’s photography, raising the level of the total experience with the end product being an artistic creation that the public will seek and purchase.

“Portraiture should not be a bunch of snap shots taken with a hand held camera and quickly printed and delivered,” states Louise Simone.  The Simones go to great lengths to set up perfect lighting and perfect posing, combined with the perfect background.  Much of the work the Simone’s produce is done with their Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.

The Simones are very much aware of the Perfect Storm which is affecting all professional photographers.  They emphasize that the only way to deal with the storm is to rise above it, providing the highest level of quality. 

A number of photographers who attend Simone workshops completely change their methods of operation.  They learn to present themselves more as photographic artists than just every day photographers. They learn how to fight the Perfect Storm

There was a long wait list of photographers who wanted to enroll in the class after it was closed.  As a result, the Simones will be returning to San Marcos in the Fall to conduct another class.  Watch for announcements in upcoming issues of The Backgrounder.  The Simones are also scheduled to lecture this year in Korea, France and Italy.  In addition, they are the lead presenters at WPPI's annual convention in March.

Grand Opening for New
Learning and
Demonstration Center
at Virtual Backgrounds!

Virtual Backgrounds is dedicated to providing professional photographers from around the world valuable education that involves the use of Virtual Backgrounds.  We are developing a comprehensive educational program called the “Learn and Earn” program. In preparation for the 2007 line up of monthly workshops and guest speakers, we have opened our new 1,500 square foot classroom/demonstration center. 

The new facility features a full studio set up with a 10 x 12 foot background screen.  Each of the Virtual Backgrounds projectors can be demonstrated in this state of the art studio!

The very first class held in the new facility was the Joseph and Louise Simone seminar in January.  In addition to the regular Virtual Backgrounds workshops held each month, a variety of other well known speakers will be conducting seminars in the new facility including Larry Peters, Greg Stangl, and Ralph Romaguera.  Watch for special announcements in future issues of The Backgrounder.

Senior 2008 Background
Library Slides Now Available!

You can now conveniently and
securely purchase this set online!

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It's never too early to start thinking about portraits for the Senior Class of 2008. Every year, Virtual Backgrounds creates an entirely new Senior slide set collection and this year's Senior 2008 is touted to be the most popular one to date!

This set of 20 new slides is sure to impress your Senior clientele and have them telling their friends about the super cool "magic" backgrounds that you offer at your studio!

For a special time, Virtual Backgrounds has made arrangements with our sister company, Web Photo Supply, to offer fast, secure and convenient online shopping for this slide set.

So, what are you waiting for...order your Senior 2008 slide set today! Click here for more information and to see the entire set of 20 Senior 2008 slides!

Korean Delegation Visits Virtual Backgrounds

Just after PPA's Imaging USA convention in San Antonio came to a close, a group of Korean professional photographers visited Virtual Backgrounds for a special private training. Tony Oh of Seoul Korea and Vancouver Canada and his associate, Collin Kim will be importing Virtual Backgrounds products into Korea to provide to Korean professional photographers.

As reported in the July 2006 edition of The Backgrounder last year, Trevon Baker traveled to Korea and gave programs to many professional photographers there. This spring, Joseph and Louise Simone are scheduled to conduct a major seminar for the Korean Professional Photographers Association in Seoul. During this seminar, the Simones will demonstrate how they use Virtual Backgrounds, and Korean photographers will be able to generate sample Virtual Backgrounds images using Korean backgrounds and Korean subjects.

The January group of special guests is pictured on the popular Virtual Backgrounds caboose parked
along side the Virtual Backgrounds facility.

Does Anyone Still
Think that Backgrounds
are Unimportant?

There are still some die hard traditionalists who do not feel that a professional portrait photographer should pay any attention to the background.  They say it’s all in the eyes and the smile. The background should be as simple and plain as possible.  There is no question that photographers around the world are discovering that the background can play a critically important role in enabling them to create a more desirable image for their clients which means more profit for them.

To prove the point, take a look at the latest Denny Manufacturing catalog.  The front cover features a subject in a very elaborate and complementary background.  Then, thumb through the Denny catalog and you’ll find that a sizable percentage of the catalog involves polystyrene background sets, digitally printed photo murals, hand painted murals, some traditional canvas backgrounds, and a whole lot of props. 

The days when the photographer can only concentrated on the eyes and smile and nothing else are rapidly going away.  At Virtual Backgrounds, we believe that the eyes and smile are still critically important, but the overall image is complemented by the use of backgrounds and props.

There is still a place for the traditional portrait with a classic canvas background, but for most photographers, this is only one component of a modern studio sitting.  People today want variety.  They want more contemporary photography.  If they don’t get it from the professional photographer, they will do it themselves!

VB People Spotlight:
Cindy Cofer and Mike Lamm
Become VB Field

Dr. Henry Oles, Founder and President of Virtual Backgrounds has announced that Kentucky professional photographer, Cindy Cofer, and Ohio professional photographer, Mike Lamm, have been named field consultants for Virtual Backgrounds.

Both Cindy and Mike will be exhibiting VB products at state and regional conventions in their respective areas, and they will be directly involved in helping professional photographers with their questions about Virtual Backgrounds. 

Both Cindy and Mike attended special training at Virtual Backgrounds and also helped represent VB at the recent PPA Imaging USA convention in San Antonio. We welcome you both to the Virtual Backgrounds family!

Cindy Cofer

Mike Lamm

Featured Item From
Web Photo Supply

32 inch Touch of Warmth
Reflector Kit

  • 32 inch Touch of Warmth Reflector
  • Mounting Arm with clips
  • LS10 light Stand
  • 1 Year Warranty

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Web Photo Supply

Joseph and Louise Simone
January Seminar Huge Success!

Louise Simone prepares a young model and her mother for their timeless portrait.

Joseph and Louise Simone instruct the class during the January 8th-11th seminar.

The group enjoys lunch on the company's authentic dining car
situated on real train tracks along side the Virtual Backgrounds facility.

Dave Filler of Kalispell, Montana was the guest speaker at the January 2007 Virtual Backgrounds workshop located in the new Learning and Demonstration Center.

New Senior 2008 Senior Slides Available

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Shown above are only 12 of the 20 slides in this set.
Click here to see the entire collection!

Korean Delegation Visits Virtual Backgrounds

Pictured left to right are (bottom row) Tony Oh, Seung Hyu Baek, Young Hwan Kang, Collin Kim, Henry Oles, (top row) Sang Jun Lee, Jim Wilson and Yong Bong Kim.

"You might be on the right track,
but if you are not moving or moving slowly,
sooner or later you will be run over."

Stay on track and fight the Perfect Storm!

"One thing you have to realize is that backgrounds are one of the few things now that separate us from the amateurs. Like Henry says in his Perfect Storm booklet- They have cameras as good or better than we do, they take pictures in the same favorite spots we do and a lot of time they are taking pictures over our shoulders. Why should they come to us as professional photographers? Backgrounds, backgrounds, backgrounds!!! "

Rick Harding
San Antonio, Texas

Contact us for your FREE copy today!

Backgrounds are Becoming
More and More Important!

The cover of the 2007 Denny Manufacturing catalog illustrates that backgrounds are indeed important to successful professional portrait photography.
(Shown with permission from Denny Manufacturing Co, Inc).

Eros Peterson of Toronto Shares
His Experiences with Virtual Backgrounds!

If you haven't been to Rick Harding's Virtual Backgrounds Forum in a while, we encourage you to join and become active in the community. Here you can communicate directly with Rick himself as well as photographers from around the world who use Virtual Backgrounds. The excerpts below are taken (with permission) from a posting by Eros Peterson of Toronto, Ontario Canada.

Eros writes...

I know I haven't posted in a long time (been busy with a few photography contracts AND a full time job on top of that!) but I thought I would share some of my experiences with the use of Virtual Backgrounds.

A little over a year ago, I began my VB journey out of curiosity to see if the technology would benefit an idea for a photography business. In the fall of 2005, I traveled all the way from Canada down to San Marcos, Texas for a seminar hosted by the friendly folks at VB on their system. My intrigue turned to an "A-HA!" when I saw first hand what these systems could do.

Fast forward to Spring of 2006. I got a VB system (used) and had a screen redone by VB from a wall mount to a portable system. October 2006 - got my first contract to do the photos at a charity ball for my local community. Using a VB system, my digital camera and a high speed colour printer, I shot, printed and delivered photos of the ball participants onsite. The reactions were incredible! People were amazed at the results and I even had one gentleman come up to me, shake my hand and thank me for "putting the magic" back into having his photo taken.

November/December 2006 - went nuts shooting a major adult hockey tournament. In late December 2006 - I got the opportunity to take the Santa photos for the annual office Christmas party. In less than a 3 hour window, I setup, shot printed and delivered over 100 5x7 inch photos to the attendees before they left the event. (Note: had many reprint orders afterwards too because of the sheer quality of the background image).

I think what amazes folks the most is the mystery of looking at the black screen, wondering what its all about and then seeing the results. Having a variety of quality backgrounds that don't look cut and pasted is the key to my success. It really is magic when people see their images.

What I like the most is that folks can't shoot over your shoulder - the screen is so blown out, folks often wonder if their camera is broken! I actually get more complaints from the-over-the-shoulder shooter crowd that it's "unfair" that they can't take their own photos!!!

Henry, Jim, Christian, and Patrick and everyone else at VB - now you know why you haven't heard from me... will try to email you direct sometime soon.

Cheers from Canada,

Pictured above are (on the left) Eros Peterson of Toronto and (on the right) one of
the first images that Eros has taken using his Virtual Backgrounds system.

New Slide Sets Soon to be Released!

Look for an announcement in the next issue of The Backgrounder for new slide sets that will become available very soon! There will be new Abstract, Stained Glass and Textures slide sets. Click here to see our current selections of Background Libraries.

Remember - you can always create your own square or 35mm background slides. Click here to see how!

VB Founder Interviewed on WPIR

Dr. Henry Oles, Founder and President of Virtual Backgrounds, was recently interviewed by Roger McManus for Photo Industry Radio
Also interviewed was San Antonio professional photographer, Rick Harding, a long time user of Virtual Backgrounds. Rick is known for
all types of photography but especially for proms, seniors and sports.  The interview will soon be available as a podcast. Look for a link to
this interview in the February edition of The Backgrounder.

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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