July 2011 Issue

In this issue:

Be Different or Perish!

Last Chance - Simone Classic Portrait Workshop

Mumbai India Photrographer Attends VB Workshop

Listen to Paul Wingler's Interview



Richard Sturdevant Gives Dynamite Programs



The Austin, Texas guild turned out in near record numbers to attend a special program given by Richard Sturdevant that included a two hour demonstration on how he uses Virtual Backgrounds in his studio followed by an after dinner presentation on how he enhances his images and generally runs his studio business.  Richard photographed in front of the group, both a University of Texas baseball player and a high school cheerleader using various Virtual Backgrounds.

Richard was not well known outside of Texas just a few years ago, but he has been quietly developing his style and collecting high scores, including 100s, in print competitions.  However, when Richard scored 100 on each of four prints submitted and was a featured speaker for Imaging 2011 in San Antonio, Richard was instantly famous and  has become recognized as an excellent instructor.  He is teaching at many schools, giving programs, and teaching his composite techniques at Virtual Backgrounds Learn and Earn center.

Back at his studio, Richard uses his Scene Machine VB system for just about all of his studio work except high key.  Virtual Backgrounds is a very important component of his general photographic work.  Richard enthusiastically says, “I wouldn’t want to work in my studio without it.”

Richard will again teach his composite workshop at Virtual Backgrounds in October and will also be a primary speaker at Imaging USA in New Orleans in 2012.




Ohio Photographer Don Hileman Shows VB a Thing or Two



Don Hileman, CPP, has now been using his Virtual Backgrounds system for several years for 100% of his work in his home studio in Austintown, Ohio.  Don often tells others, “I would not be in business today were it not for Virtual Backgrounds.

Don isn’t satisfied to just produce a wide variety of highly creative work.  He places a great deal of emphasis on developing unique styles of photography that are new to everyone which now includes his white-on-white.  Whereas most photographers who use Virtual Backgrounds think that it can’t be used for high key, Don is making Virtual Backgrounds generated high key a primary selling feature that brings him clients looking for something different. 

White-on-white is not just plain high key white.  Because the white is generated with his Virtual Backgrounds system and can therefore be whiter than white, Don is able to achieve a unique look that will probably spread far and wide.  We are very pleased that Don will be serving as a consultant for Virtual Backgrounds.  An upcoming issue of The Backgrounder will include a detailed story on his home studio.






Next Trevon Baker
Workshop Scheduled for
September 2011


Trevon Baker will again be offering his three day workshop at his Montana studio September 26 – 28, 2011, with a fourth bonus day as a safari with Trevon in nearby Glacier National Park.  To achieve personal attention, the class is very limited in numbers.  Trevon’s studio is in Somers, Montana, near the vacation paradise of Kalispell.  The response from those who attended his previous workshops in Montana has been excellent.  This is the ideal time to visit Glacier National Park as it begins to slip into the fall season.

Click here for more informaiton and to register.


New VB Website
Coming Soon!

An exciting new website is being developed for Virtual Backgrounds and should be ready in the fall.  The new site will continue to include a great deal of educational information about Virtual Backgrounds. It will also place a lot of emphasis on video clips, video training, news and event information, sample images, a forum, and much much more.  The fundamental point behind the website is teaching professional photographers everywhere how they can be more creative and make more money with Virtual Backgrounds.  The new site will be in a wide range of languages.

We’ll let you know when it is scheduled to be released so you can be among the first to visit! We hope you come back again and again as we change many parts of it on a regular basis.  So, get ready.  We’ll give you a progress report next month.


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!


Be Different or Perish!



The choice is simple.  Today the serious professional photographer must be clearly different in every respect compared with other photographers, including the amateurs, or they simply won’t make it.  If they don’t stand out as clearly special, their business will wither and die.

Skip Cohen, former president of WPPI, has stated that there are as many as 700,000 people in the US who think of themselves as professional photographers.  There are more than 200 million people in the US who can now take pretty decent photographs with their digital cameras.  That is, just about every man, woman and child can do it and have fun bragging that they did it.  How can a professional possibly survive in such a world?

The fact is, the professional can’t survive unless they can offer the public product and service that is highly desirable and distinctively different from anything others can do.  They absolutely must concentrate on what they can do that everyone else cannot.  That is basic business 101.

The answers are pretty simple.

1.     Amateurs and most professionals, especially the lower end professionals, do not have studios.

2.     Amateurs and many lower end professionals do not have studio lighting nor do they know how to use professional lighting.

3.     Amateurs and many lower end professionals have little or no training in posing, lighting, or composition.

4.     Amateurs and many professionals at all levels do not have unique tools like Virtual Backgrounds which enable them to produce unique products that are clearly different without leaving the studio.

What does every photographer, including all amateurs, have?  They all have digital cameras with on board flash and they have the outdoor environment in which to shoot and they work cheap. 


Not long ago professionals had all kinds of special unique tools but not today.  Currently, Virtual Backgrounds is the only significant product available for professionals that amateurs do not also have.  It is the only tool that is still exclusive to the professional.  Think about it - it is true.

The bottom line is obvious.  The professional interested in being really successful must concentrate on their advantages.  Saying I'm better is not good enough.  The worst thing is for the professional to give up their distinct advantages and operate just like their competition: working on location such as in public parks, ignoring the basic rules of quality portraiture and taking on the photojournalistic approach.  Being plain and simple and seeking the natural look is the ticket to declining business health and eventually death.

Real professional photographers at least have a choice.  Choose wisely.


Last Chance

Simone Classic Portrait Workshop



There are a few seats left for those photographers who want to learn from two of the greatest portrait photographers and teachers that exist today.  Joseph and Louise Simone are masters of classic portraiture.   To study with them is a distinct privilege.  Photographers who learn their methods produce work that is distinctively different and highly regarded by the public.  The Simone look creates timeless portraits that become family heirlooms.

The Simone workshop begins Monday August 1st and ends Friday, August 5th at noon.  There is primary emphasis on the Simone style of lighting and posing, coupled with the use of complementary backgrounds.  The Simones will teach the methods they use to  work both in the studio and on location. 

The Siimone workshop is to be held at the VB Learn and Earn center in San Marcos, Texas.   There are special hotel rates of only $45 per night.  Lunches are provided.  Contact Virtual Backgrounds to book your reservation!




Mumbai India Photographer
Rustam Joseph
Attends June VB Workshop

Photographers from all parts of the world have come to San Marcos, Texas to attend the Virtual Backgrounds three-day workshop on how to use a VB system to enhance studio performance.  The June workshop was attended by Rustam Joseph who made the long flight from Mumbai India just to attend the workshop.  He was hosted by his VB consultant,  Christian Feigl.  Joseph’s group is opening their 5th   photo  business in India  in which he wants to make the VB system a centerpiece attraction. 

Professional photographers from around the world are experiencing the same problems and are struggling to find ways to create products that entice the public but which the public cannot do on their own.  Virtual Backgrounds plays a very important role in helping to make this happen since VB is the only tool left that is exclusive for the professional and not also used by amateurs.


Listen to Paul Wingler's Interview



Join me as I chat with Paul Wingler about photographing schools and churches, and how he has changed his business structure to embrace this area of photography and is making more money!

~Amy Zellmer, Founder of My Photo Biz Coach




7 Piece Poser

In a word: Versatile



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.