January 2011 Issue

In this issue:

Introducing the VB Express

Lora Yeater Scores a Perfect 100 with Composit Art using her Scene Machine

There is More than One Way to Skin a Cat

Lori Lens Photography takes the Christmas Portrait to the Professional Level

Featured Photographer: Peter Budraitis

Imaging USA
in San Antonio!

Visit Us at Booth #834

It’s a No Brainer

Once you know the facts, the decision whether or not to get a Virtual Backgrounds system is really a no brainer.  The new VB Express comes with 24 backgrounds.  Assuming that the minimum cost of a decent background is $200, then the backgrounds that come with the system are worth more than the cost of an entire basic VB EXPRESS  system.  In addition, the photographer can change backgrounds in seconds!  There is no need to find ways to store them which is always a big nuisance for regular backgrounds.  Plus, for just a few dollars each, photographers can buy additional backgrounds and they can capture their own local backgrounds which can have huge economic advantages.

Many photographers try green screen because it seems so cheap.  Later they come to recognize its many shortcomings:  not being able to see the subject and background live in the viewfinder, not being able to show and sell results immediately, and having to spend endless hours pasting in backgrounds and cleaning up issues.

The only path to success today in the midst of the perfect storm is for the professional photographer to offer a product that the public cannot produce on their own.  Amateurs and many other professionals do not have or even know about Virtual Backgrounds.  That makes it an even more powerful tool for the professional who is searching for ways to be clearly different.

Coming Soon
30 Photographers Open
to Talking to You
about Virtual Backgrounds

Do you have questions about Virtual Backgrounds but feel uncomfortable calling us?  Later this month, you will be able to talk to 30 photographers from across the country who have agreed to participate in our new program.  For years, we have been asked, “Who can I talk to in my area about Virtual Backgrounds?”  This has always been a problem since many of our most successful users have not wanted to be public about how they use their Virtual Backgrounds process to successfully drive their business.  Now, however, with this new program, you will have a variety of photographers to talk to, get advice from, and even see samples of their work.

This exciting new program will enable you to get first hand information about the most powerful tool a photographer can own, next to their camera and lights.  Watch for the announcement at www.virtualbackgrounds.net or in the next edition of The Backgrounder.

Ohio Photographer, Robert Mihalko, used his Scene Machine to take Halloween photographs for a Boy Scout fund raiser.

Richard Sturdevant Workshop

Focus on Products that
Make a Real Difference

Professional photographers have only two factors that lead to success or failure.  One is their talent at photography and business management.  The other is the tools they use in the studio.  Very often photographers purchase tools that don’t make a real difference that can lead to extra profit such as by buying a new digital camera when their current digital cameras are working just fine.  Customers don’t notice or care if your camera has 14 or perhaps 20 megapixels.  When spending for equipment, it is critical to buy equipment that will make a distinct difference to the customer.  Purchase equipment that enables you to create new products that will clearly impress the customer.  A perfect example of this is getting into Virtual Backgrounds.  Virtual Backgrounds enables the photographer to produce unlimited variety which very often cannot be done any other way.  It is a distinguishing factor.

Purchase equipment that allows you to produce results that are clearly recognizable by the public as being really different.  It is an investment because it will pay for itself many times over. 

Is VB Everything
We Say It Is?

Many photographers don’t believe our ads.  They don’t believe that VB can be as good and profitable as we, the manufacturer, claim.   After all, don’t most manufacturers really stretch the truth about their products?

With Virtual Backgrounds there are many ways you can check out the authenticity of our claims.  You can talk with highly successful VB users and get their firsthand accounts of what VB has meant to them.  Alternately, you can come to a Virtual Backgrounds workshop, learn the facts, and test drive the products for yourself. 

Learn How VB Can Help You Get the Facts

Learn all about Virtual Backgrounds and how you can incorporate the concept in your business to fight the storm and grow your profits. The next Virtual Backgrounds workshop is scheduled for February 7-9, 2011.

Taught by Jim Wilson, Cr. Photog. and Montana photographer, Trevon Baker, Cr. Photog. M Photog., the VB workshop is a powerful no-nonsense 3-day workshop held at the VB Learn and Earn facility in San Marcos, Texas.  Thousands of photographers have attended this workshop. 

Your satisfaction with the workshop is guaranteed.  The more you know about VB, the more you recognize how this process can be fundamental to the success of your business.  Contact us to learn more and for reservations.

Will the Perfect Storm
End in 2011?

No!  It will not end! While many photographers think that their quick fall in sales is a result of the economic slump, the truth is, the economy only plays a small part.  The main problems are in the fundamental changes that have happened:  (1) the digital revolution enables the general public to be good enough photographers, (2) the current do-it-yourself rage, and (3) a huge increase in new entries to the business who are willing to work for so little.  As a result, most established photographers are struggling and many are being forced to quit. 

The only real answer is for photographers to make a concerted effort to produce attractive products that the public cannot produce on their own and to effectively promote such products.  This is where the Virtual Backgrounds process can help the creative photographer efficiently and effectively produce products that enable them to be distinctively different when coupled with their own creative talents.  We know of no other answer to the storm that is so powerful.

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!

Introducing the VB Express

Virtual Backgrounds System

(camera and stand not included)

It’s here!  Many photographers have been waiting for the VB Express, a dynamic new background system is going to be introduced by Virtual Backgrounds at Imaging USA.   The VB Express is less than half the price of the very popular Scene Machine Digital projector but still retains many of the key features. 

A VB Express projector sells for only $2,495. Aside from being so cost effective, the VB Express is extremely compact and simple to use.  It can work with background screens from 4 x 6 to 9 x 8 feet.  The system is so portable that it can be set up and taken down in minutes.  This makes it ideal for school and church directory photographers as well as for studio photographers. 

Twenty-four backgrounds come with each VB Express system.  The value of the backgrounds that come with the system more than exceed the cost of the total system including projector and screen.  VB also offers a unique upgrade plan for those VB Express owners who may want to move up to a larger background or another projector.

A payment plan is available from Virtual Backgrounds making it possible for professional photographers to begin to profit from the unlimited variety and other unique offerings made possible by the VB Express.   More than ever, professional photographers realize that their very existence depends on how much they can clearly separate themselves from other photographers and from the do it yourself amateurs.  Implementing Virtual Backgrounds is a key solution to fighting the Perfect Storm that affects every photographer.  With the VB Express, you can generate infinite variety and produce powerful images that others cannot create.  VB Express is the answer for those photographers who want to be more creative and more profitable.

VB Express: Easy to store and take on location!

Lora Yeater Scores a Perfect 100 with Composite Art Using her Scene Machine

Lora Yeater

West Virginia photographer, Lora Yeater was presented with a variety of awards in 2010 including Photographer of the Year at the Mid-East Regional Competition.  Her perfect print went on to the PPA Loan Collection and also won the Kodak Gallery Award.  The background for the print was created with the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  Lora is an avid user of the Scene Machine and was a featured photographer for The Backgrounder.  She will receive her Masters degree at Imaging USA in San Antonio. Click here to read her story in The Backgrounder.

There is More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

Here are two ways that enterprising photographers are making more money at weddings:

Some enterprising professionals are arranging to do professional quality portraits of all the guests and the bridal party and families.  They contract with the bride to set up a portable studio at the wedding reception to photograph all the guests and deliver a print as a gift from the bride and groom.  They often calculate a pre-paid price much like a caterer so no money has to change hands at the reception.  They do on-site printing.  However, they may offer the guests they photograph the opportunity to go to a website after the wedding to order extras.  So while the amateur/professional picks up a few hundred bucks running around shooting thousands of snapshots for the bride and groom, the real photographer can earn a thousand or more dollars with the portable professional studio.  If they are using Virtual Backgrounds, when guests shoot over the photographers shoulder to grab a free set up, they get a photo with no background!  It’s great!

Another idea I just heard about from a Rochester friend is professional wedding photographers who have lost all their business to amateurs who now promote themselves as Photographic Wedding Coordinators.    For a fee of perhaps $500 to $1000 or more, their coordinator’s job is to organize everything so that the amateurs get the best possible photographs.  They set up groups, pose people, and even help to get the expressions while the amateur shutterbugs shoot away.  This way, they get a nice fee and never have to touch a camera or do a bit of Photoshop.

Yes, the cheese has moved, but there is still good cheese available for those who want to go after it.

Trade Show Advice:
Get the Most You Can Out of It

January starts the trade show season for professional photographers. Most photographers, however, get little or no real benefit out of a trade show because they either don’t bother to attend or they spend their time socializing.  A trade show is your chance to see what’s new, to discuss possibilities with manufacturing reps, and most importantly, to get ideas to increase your business and profits. 

Attending a trade show should be fun, and it should also be work.  As an entrepreneur, a trade show is your opportunity to strategize and get involved with products that can make a difference between profit and loss.  We encourage you to visit every trade show vendor with an open mind and see what could work best for you.

See Us at Imagine USA in San Antonio.

Be One of the First to See the New VB Express!

Featured Photographer:

Peter Budraitis

“We have a studio today because of the
Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.”

It has been 20 years since Peter M. Budraitis first opened a portrait and general photography studio in Glen Cove, New York.   Pete didn’t start out with the intent to make professional photography his life career. After college he got into computer software development, managing a Tandy Computer Center and then operating his own software development company. But he always had a love for photography.  In 1990, this led to Pete getting into photography on a professional level. Photography quickly became the major emphasis of Pete’s work.  He has no regrets in changing his course to professional photography.

In 2003 Pete moved his studio to a new retail storefront location in the downtown area of his hometown, Glen Cove, NY.   His primary emphasis is on general portraiture including families and children, seniors, executives, real estate professionals, general head shots and modeling portfolios.  One area that Pete especially likes is doing first communion portraits.  His first communion portrait business has grown to the point that it actually surpasses his Christmas sales.  Pete attributes much of his growth in first communion portraits to his use of virtual backgrounds which enable him to create a multitude of different images in a very short time. This makes his work different from that of other area photographers and vastly different from anything mom and pop can create with their home digital camera, no matter how expensive that camera might be.  “Buying a camera makes you a camera owner, not a photographer,” Pete points out. 

Pete continues, “People come a long distance for me to create their communion portraits...often traveling for an hour or more because of what I am able to create for them with my Scene Machine that others cannot do.  I offer communion themes through my wide selection of props and communion backgrounds, which I could not do without the Virtual Background system.  I change backgrounds frequently and this encourages the parents to buy more images because they are all so different.  I can even offer a coffee table album which is popular because when they buy multiple poses they are getting very different looks because I keep changing the backgrounds.”  Pete has a separate website for his first communion work,  www.firstcommunionportraits.com.   “Parents see the kind of work I do and hear about it from others and they come because they want something unique to commemorate this special moment in their child’s life."

Pete didn’t start out with a Virtual Background system but when he moved to his latest commercial location, he wanted to make a new splash.  Up to this point most of his portrait work was done on location, especially in local parks, but this was where every other photographer and amateur could work.  His overall plan was to be distinctively different and more creative and he felt he could do that if he took a chance on investing in a Virtual Background system, doing more of his work in his studio.  “I just didn’t want to have another plain old studio with plain old backdrops like everyone else…I wanted to set myself apart.”  That is exactly what he did by combining virtual backgrounds with his natural talent and creativity.

“The Scene Machine made me different, and it made me money.  It would not be a stretch to say that we have a studio today because of my Scene Machine Virtual Background system.  With virtual backgrounds, my average order went up dramatically.  So much so, I feel like I should be paying a commission to the folks at Virtual Backgrounds with every portrait I sell.  I attribute that to the variety that I could not have any other way - different poses and different backgrounds.  Even if I have similar poses, the different backgrounds make the images appear very different.  My customers love the variety."

Pete attributes his ability to secure a local high school senior contract, held previously for over 30 years by a large studio that offered very traditional poses and backgrounds, to the Virtual Background System.

Family photography is also a big part of Pete’s work.  He has many families that come every year for a family portrait.   Unless the family specifically wants the exact same background every year, Pete changes the background. This encourages the families to return each year and buy additional prints.  “I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again and I don’t like being like every other photographer.”

What about the future?  Pete is concerned about the unfortunate side-effect of the digital revolution that makes everyone believe they can take pictures just like an experienced professional.  However, he says that as long as he can produce high quality, creative images that are above and beyond what other photographers and the amateurs can do, he is confident that his clients will continue to come to him.

Pete’s regular website is www.pmbphoto.com.

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.