March 2007 Issue

In this issue:

Larry Peters Scheduled to Teach
at Virtual Backgrounds

Monte Zucker - The Legend

Wally & Nancy Stocks Off to a
Great Start

PMA Report and Sample Images:

Larry and Karen Peters
Will Share Their Success with
Virtual Backgrounds

Virtual Backgrounds is pleased to announce that Larry and Karen Peters will present a 2 ½ day workshop at Virtual Backgrounds May 9, 10 and 11.  The workshop is part of the new Virtual Backgrounds “Learn and Earn" program.

This workshop is also part of one of many double header workshops set for 2007. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend a 3 day Virtual Backgrounds workshop and the Peters event. The Virtual Backgrounds workshop is May 7th, 8th and 9th.  The Peters workshop is May 9th, 10th, 11th.  Those attending both workshops can expect a special discount.

Larry will be sharing his photography methods including his use of Virtual Backgrounds as well as discussing his marketing skills that have enabled him to operate three studio locations with 24 employees. In these three highly successful locations, Larry and Karen Peters have been able to gross over 2 million dollars.

Larry’s methods of marketing coupled with his highly creative and always evolving photography have placed him high above the so-called “Perfect Storm” that is negatively affecting so many professional photographers. 

Karen Peters will share studio practices and methods including the systems she uses to run the business efficiently including customer service, record keeping, accounting, marketing, sales, plus the statistics used to evaluate their profitability.

The Virtual Backgrounds workshop, taught by Jim Wilson, a graduate of Brooks Institute and Vice President of Virtual Backgrounds for Education and Customer Service, is designed for anyone with an interest in learning how Virtual Backgrounds works and how it can help to bring “new magic” to customers. The Virtual Backgrounds process cannot be duplicated by amateur photographers. 

Space is filling up fast for this exciting May double header! Contact us to reserve your seat. It may well change the way that you do your business!

Wally & Nancy Stocks
Seeing Success from the Start!

Wally Stocks has been capturing unforgettable images for over eighteen years.  Wally says, "My love of photography and people help me capture what only the heart can see."

His wife, Nancy, is now assisting in capturing those incredibly special and romantic moments at weddings.  This pair teams up to create unbelievable wedding albums -- a true storybook.

Stocks Photography also specializes in children and family portraiture, black and white, brides, weddings, sports teams, high school seniors, proms, and restorations of heirloom photographs.

Wally and Nancy have recently purchased a Virtual Backgrounds system to add to their "tool belt" of professional photography offerings to their clients and they are off to a great start! The images below are some of their first and we anticipate many more outstanding images like these will be captured for their clientele.

Keep up the great work Wally and Nancy!

Praise for VB Workshops!

Thanks for a very productive workshop, I can honestly say I got all the answers I came looking for, a few I didn't think to ask, and some creative concepts that opened even more avenues I'll be exploring. The workshop is a definite must for anyone buying the system, that is without question! Your instruction style worked very well considering the time line and amount of material to be covered (to be honest even if we had more time there's no sense wasting it). 

Stephanie Schlener
Amazing Photo Fun
Lancaster, California

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Maximum Variety
Minimum Space

How can a photographer get maximum variety out of minimal space?  The answer is simple - Virtual Backgrounds. 

The feature story in the February issue of The Backgrounder about Canadian photographer Diane Wilson certainly verified that.  Diane’s total studio is in a 15 x 18 foot space in a flea market.  Her walls are peg board.  This 15' x 18' room is not just her camera room.  It is her entire studio, reception, storage, camera room, sales room, everything!   

Diane makes it work because she only needs one single background screen, her camera, the Virtual Backgrounds projector and a couple of lights.  With that, she can provide her clients with infinitely more variety than long established traditional photographers with thousands of square feet of space.  That’s her secret. 

It works for Diane and
it can work for you too!

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!

Larry Peters - The Father of
Modern Day Senior Photography -

Scheduled to Teach at Virtual Backgrounds

Larry Peters has developed a new method to enhance his props.  He applies reflective material to the props.  By doing this, he can project colors and patterns on both the props and the background screen with his Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  It is a completely new idea that has proven to be “hot” with his senior clients.

The Monte Zucker Legend
1929 - 2007

It is with great sadness that we report the recent passing of our good friend, Monte Zucker.  Monte has been a legend in the professional photographic industry throughout most of his life.  He was respected world wide for his outstanding photography and especially for his vivacious and energetic teaching. 

Monte was a special friend of Virtual Backgrounds.  He used Virtual Backgrounds on board Carnival Cruise Line ships years ago, and just last year Monte visited with Virtual Backgrounds in San Marcos to catch up on recent developments. Monte was always enthusiastic about innovations in photography and in life in general.

A special celebration of life is being planned in the Washington DC area on Sunday, April 22nd from 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Visit Monte's website for details on this special event. This special friend will be missed by all.

PMA Report: Virtual Backgrounds
Sees Great Success at PMA

Images by Trevon Baker

The Photo Marketing Association (PMA) annual trade show was held in Las Vegas in early March.  Virtual Backgrounds exhibited with an operating studio demonstrating the infinite applications of the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  Visitors watched Montana photographer, Trevon Baker, work with two delightful models producing a wide variety of images in a space no larger than 8 feet x 10 feet. 

Virtual Backgrounds received visitors from around the world.  The PMA trade show is primarily tailored for photo dealers and labs, but a number of professional photographers also attend to see the latest. The overall show itself was very interesting.  Actual floor space was down 30% from earlier years as a function of many companies cutting back or going out of business. 

There were many new companies testing the waters to see if their products would sell in the photographic industry.  There was a great deal of attention at the HP booth where visitors found a number of solutions ideally suited for the professional photographer.  The major producers of digital cameras, Canon, Olympus, and Nikon were well represented and always busy. PMA 2008 will again be held in Las Vegas in early February.

Click here to see over 30 images that Trevon Baker captured in the Virtual Backgrounds trade show booth at PMA.

What about Alternatives to Virtual Backgrounds?

Image by Jessica Laredo

Walk around a trade show like PPA, PMA, or WPPI and you’ll see many vendors showing and selling various canvas backgrounds and muslins along with expensive roller systems to roll the canvas up so it is out of the way.  With the declining popularity of the traditional classic canvas look, innovative canvas background suppliers are now offering painted scenes on canvas, from vague foggy background images to more realistic looking scenes painted on canvas.  There are also some suppliers who use giant ink jet printers to print huge enlargements of various scenes that can be lowered into position behind a subject. 

This is all well and good because it provides the photographer with more variety. In light of the Virtual Backgrounds process, much of it is rather senseless since nearly all of these backgrounds can be projected from a simple little tiny slide with much more realistic looking results and infinitely more flexibility and an overall lower cost.

A single canvas background of reasonable size can easily cost between $500 and $1000 or more.  That same background can be purchased as a slide for under $15 and there is no need for an expensive roller system to hoist it up and out of the way.  Plus, there is no need for a separate background light to illuminate the background! 

With Virtual Backgrounds, the photographer also has the flexibility of creating original background images that are specifically tailored to the local community and even to a specific customer.

Doubters need to test drive a Virtual Backgrounds system for themselves to discover its quality, flexibility, and cost savings.  It’s that simple!

Virtual Backgrounds Workshops Fill Fast

Every month, Virtual Backgrounds puts on a 3-day workshop on how to successfully use Virtual Backgrounds.  The workshops are designed not only for those photographers who already have a Virtual Backgrounds system but also those who may be just thinking about it and want to find out more.  The workshops, which are part of the "Learn and Earn" program, draw professional photographers from throughout North America as well as all parts of the world. The April workshop is scheduled for April 2-4, 2007 and the special May double header workshop with Larry and Karen Peters is scheduled for May 7-9, 2007. 

The workshops are intensive, educational and fun.  They cover not only the “nuts and bolts” of successfully operating a Virtual Backgrounds system but also experience in actually using the system and how to market the results to increase profits.  The workshops begin early Monday morning and continue into the evening with lunch and dinner provided on the Virtual Backgrounds railroad dining car.  On Tuesday, the class gets into actually photographing subjects and talking about how to capture good background images.  Wednesday morning is reserved for a guest photographer who talks about specific experiences in using Virtual Backgrounds as well as shares valuable marketing and sales tips and strategies.

Some months will be “Double Header” months where the Virtual Backgrounds workshop is coupled with another workshop that continues the remainder of the week.  May will be a Double Header month with highly successful senior photographer Larry Peters conducting his class Wednesday through Friday. For more information on the "Learn and Earn" workshop program, call 1-800-831-0474 or send us an email!

Photographers ask, "Where is the Software?"

Image by Cindy Cofer of Cindy Cofer Creations

Many photographers who see Virtual Backgrounds for the first time are puzzled. They keep asking, "Where is the software or what software are you using to drop those backgrounds into the photographs?" 

When we tell them, “There's no software; it’s all optical," they really get puzzled.  Then we explain to them that Virtual Backgrounds is an optical process and there are many advantages of not using digital backgrounds such as green screen or blue screen.  A light goes off and they "get it."

There are so many advantages to creating portrait backgrounds with the optical process compared with using the digital method. The most important advantage is photographer time.  We are all challenged with finding ways to get everything done.  Using Virtual Backgrounds, it is so much faster with the optical method.  When you click the shutter, it’s done, the image is complete.  With the digital process, clicking the shutter is just beginning of a long process of being in front of the computer, dropping in backgrounds and touching up that cut and pasted look!

WPPI was Our Most Successful Show Yet!

The above image was created by Trevon Baker
at the 2006 WPPI trade show in the Virtual Backgrounds booth!

We are literally stepping off of the plane and recovering from what was one of our greatest WPPI shows to date! We met so many photographers who were all saying the same thing - Virtual Backgrounds can provide that "something different" and create the WOW factor that their clients seek!

Trevon Baker, Cindy Cofer and other guest photographers spent time in our booth photographing our three lovely models. In next month's issue, we will highlight the event and share with you the images that were captured at the show! If you haven't done so already, take a look at the images that Trevon captured at the recent PMA Convention and Trade show by clicking here!

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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