May 2007 Issue

In this issue:

Trevon Baker will Present a Full Day
Program at the Kerrville Summer Seminar

The 2007 Florida School is Right
Around the Corner

WPPI - The Largest Professional
Photography Show Ever!

Special Senior 2008 Backgrounds

Tongue in Cheek: A Scene Machine for
Cell Phone Cameras???

The Scene Machine Goes to the Dogs!

Introducing the New Studio Pro Monostand

Featured Photographer Lee Sang Jun -
One of Korea's Finest Professional


The 2007 Florida School
is Right Around the Corner

Celebrating their 15th Year
June 3-7, 2007
Daytona Beach Community College

Plan now to attend one of the biggest Florida School’s ever!  The 15th Annual Florida School will be held at Daytona Beach Community College’s Southeast Center for the Photographic Arts on June 3-7, 2007.  The well-equipped facility has spacious studios and a renowned museum of photography on its beautiful campus.

Florida School offers an outstanding lineup of instructors and a full schedule of special events. Joseph & Louise Simone, Greg Stangl, and  Rick & Deborah Ferro will all be either using or talking about Virtual Backgrounds. We will also have consultants from Virtual Backgrounds there to support these fine photographers and answer your questions!

The Florida School experience allows you to learn a lot from some of the leading experts in their fields and have some fun too. Tuition for the 5-day course will be $475.00, FPP/PPA members only. Check out the school’s website for more in depth course information, class schedule, samples of instructor’s work and hotel information.

We hope to see you there

Special Senior 2008
Backgrounds Available

If you photograph seniors and if you have a Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system, you need to order the Senior 2008 special backgrounds. As more and more seniors are satisfied with their own home made photographs, It is more important this year than ever before to stand out from the crowd .

Scene Machine owners can produce portraits the seniors CANNOT do on their own, and the Senior 2008 background collection is part of it. The collection includes 20 backgrounds specially created for the modern senior to add a new dimension to the variety of images from their sitting. 

The Senior 2008 collection is exactly the kind of thing that brings special attention to your studio.  The Senior 2008 collection is easy to use and should be part of every senior sitting you do. The Senior 2008 collection of 20 backgrounds is just $159.00 (plus shipping) and is available for immediate shipment.  Order now!

A Hot Time at Foto 45

At 9:30 in the morning, January 24, 2007, Marcos Morales was alone hard at work at his Las Vegas studio lab.  He noticed it was getting pretty hot inside and was wondering what was wrong with his heating system.  Just then, a fireman burst in and chased him out of his strip center store because the building was on fire!  There was no time to save anything. 

Morales lost everything in his studio/minilab, including his Studio Pro package printer and his Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  He also lost everything in his cellular phone store next door.  Morales had been in this location for 18 years, and throughout that time, the Scene Machine was part of just about every photograph he took.

While such a loss would cause most people to give up, Marcos decided to start again, eventually hoping to get back into his original location when it was rebuilt.  Unwilling to operate without his Scene Machine, Marcos called Virtual Backgrounds and arranged to pick up the Scene Machine system being demonstrated at WPPI in Las Vegas. “I did not want to take a single portrait session without my Scene Machine.  I can change backgrounds so fast, and I don't like being without my Scene Machine.  I use it for everything,” Morales said. 

Marcos purchased the WPPI display system and a new monostand and wheeled it out to his truck and into his temporary studio to be ready for his first session. That was at the end of March.  Today, Marcus is doing well and coming back strong. He expects to have a new lab operating soon.

Good luck, Marcos, as you rebuild your studio and continue your outstanding career! We're all behind you!

Introducing the New
Studio Pro Monostand

Click on the image to see it larger!)

A new and contemporary monostand has been introduced by the Studio Pro division of Virtual Backgrounds.  This new monostand sports many features not found on other camera supports.

The Studio Pro is a heavy duty and very professional looking monostand.   The photographer is able to quickly move the camera from nearly floor level to above eye level with the counterbalanced system taking away the weight.  Photographers who try to hand hold their camera will especially appreciate this feature. When their camera is mounted on the Studio Pro monostand, they are free to concentrate on other factors such as posing, lighting, expression and the background rather than worrying about holding on to the camera.  The stand is on wheels which move freely about the studio and has locking pins that can hold it in place.

It is also important to note that the Studio Pro monostand is a very professional looking product to help professional photographers distinguish themselves from the amateurs who are chewing away at the business.  This monostand is indeed a professional tool.

The monostand includes an accessory tray for small items (like slides or gels), plus a optional tray to hold the photographer’s laptop computer right next to the camera.  The camera/computer support arms can be easily rotated 360 degrees around the central column.

The Studio Pro monostand is ideally suited for use with a Virtual Backgrounds system.  Even with the added weight of the Virtual Backgrounds projector, the assembly still moves up and down with ease.  In addition, a special mounting plate screws on to the bottom of the stand to hold the Virtual Backgrounds power supply.

The professional net price on the new Studio Pro monostand is $950.  For more information click here or call your Virtual Backgrounds consultant.

Debra Weisheit Shares
Her Very First Shots Captured
with Her Scene Machine

Debra writes -

"I'm attaching the first set of images that I did when I returned from Texas.  I was thrilled with the outcome, although I need a lot more practice and some lighting refinement. I'll be spending a week with the Simones in June, so that should resolve any issues I have still going on by June!"

"The image with the Trevon Baker (blue) background was literally the first image I shot when I got back from Texas, and the other's were all done during the same session.  I'm SOOOO impressed with Scene Machine, and I have a million ideas for things I want to do with it!!"

Keep up the great work Debra!

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!

Trevon Baker will Present a Full Day Program
at the Kerrville Summer Seminar in Texas

Montana photographer, Trevon Baker will present a full day programd at the popular Kerrville Summer Seminar sponsored by the Texas PPA. The seminar is held in the Texas Hill Country in June 24-27, 2007.  Trevon will be talking about how he operates his Kalispell, Montana studio concentrating on the four dimensions of studio photography - lighting, posing, expression, and background.  He will discuss how it is the background that has a major influence on how the other three components are handled.  The background can set the stage for the whole photograph, but all four components must be properly integrated together.

In addition to his portrait work, Trevon does a wide variety of commercial work and serves as a consultant for Virtual Backgrounds.  Trevon, a Certified Professional Photographer, was awarded the Photographic Craftsman degree in San Antonio in January, 2007. Visit the TPPA website for more information on the Kerrville Summer Seminar.

WPPI - The Largest Professional
Photography Show Ever!

The above was captured by Trevon Baker in an 8 x 10 foot booth space at the recent WPPI Trade Show. Click here to see more WPPI images.

More than 11,000 professional photographers descended upon Las Vegas at the end of March for the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) convention and trade show.  No other show for professional photographers draws so many photographers and trade show participants.

Virtual Backgrounds had a 400 square foot island exhibit in the trade show which included a working demonstration studio where hundreds of photographs were taken each day using the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system to display the infinite flexibility of the system.  Visitors had a chance to capture their own exposures. Trevon Baker and Cindy Cofer captured many timeless images with only two lights, one reflector and the Virtual Backgrounds image enhancement system. Click here to see all of the images that Trevon and Cindy created!

WPPI has an extensive array of programs.  A number of programs provided information about the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system including programs by Joseph & Louise Simone and Rick & Deborah Ferro.

An extensive gallery of photographs by many different photographers including Joseph & Louise Simone, Deborah & Rick Ferro, Trevon Baker, Cindy Cofer, Larry Peters, Rick Avalos, and many others showed the wide range of creativity made possible with Virtual Backgrounds.

Also displayed the many accessories that Virtual Backgrounds offers including the new Studio Pro monostand. All in all, it was a very successful show for Virtual Backgrounds, and we appreciate everyone who stopped by to say "hello."

Click here to view all of the portraits that were captured in the booth at WPPI.

Tongue in Cheek: A Scene Machine
for Cell Phone Cameras???

The above is a fictional representation of the funny idea that Ed Alexander proposed to Henry Oles about developing a Scene Machine for cell phones!

In response to last month's article called Combating the Latest Developments (click here to read the article), Ed Alexander of San Antonio, Texas sent the following bit of tongue in cheek comments that we thought we would share with the readers of The Backgrounder.

This is Ed's response to the fact that new cell phone cameras are now coming out with 3 to 5 mega pixels of image capture capacity. With everyone with a camera of every kind, including cell phone cameras, now thinking they are "real" photographers, here is what Ed had to write:

Thoughts from an "Ol' Timer” by Ed Alexander

"Henry, you, as the inventor of the Scene Machine, should develop a conversion kit that would allow cell phone users to use your Scene Machine.  Maybe the conversion could include a cell phone size set of lights and, of course, a posing guide CD, which they could download to their cell phone for quick reference when they are at weddings, sporting events, etc. When you develop this "Scene Machine for Cell Phones" I do expect a portion of the high profits you will receive.  Don’t you think? We as photographers in the 21st century must stay On The Cutting Edge to avoid The Perfect Storm."

The Scene Machine Goes to the Dogs

Manitoba Canada photographer Ingeborg Skliros does not just photograph people.  Her real specialty is photographing show dogs at competitions. Until recently, Inge worked like every other dog show photographer - she used a plain background, usually a muslin, canvas or seamless paper, and photographed each dog in front of it.  Quickly, Inge became bored with results that all looked alike.  It didn't matter who the photographer was because only the dog’s changed.  Ever photograph looked alike. 

Then Inge heard about the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system and wondered if it would work with dogs.  She gathered all the information she could and decided to purchase a system.  She also attended the Virtual Backgrounds 3 day workshop in San Marcos, Texas. Immediately after returning to Manitoba, she began photographing dogs with a wide variety of backgrounds.  Suddenly she had the ability to bring new variety to what had been rather mundane canine photography.  In a short time, her approach has been immediately recognized by Canine Review magazine and her innovative methods resulted in a feature story in the April 2007 edition.

Quoting the magazine article titled Scene Machine Takes Manitoba by Storm by Geri Thompson, "The bar was dramatically raised at the recently held COKC Show in Brandon, Manitoba when `Images by Inge’ introduced a Scene Machine. This is believed to be the first appearance of this technique at a show in North America and is quite possibly a world's first for dog shows.”  When she photographs Siberians and Samoyeds, she uses a wintry landscape.  Seconds later, when she photographs a Poodle or Basset, she uses a shadowy figure of the Eiffel Tower.  For Afghans and Salukis, she uses desert backgrounds.  Saint or Swiss Mountain Dogs are photographed with a mountainous terrain background. She also photographs each dog with traditional backgrounds just by slipping in a new background slide.  As a result, owners have so much more to choose from and, therefore, purchase more prints.

Inge stated that she made a major investment in order to acquire a Scene Machine system, but she expects the system to quickly pay for itself through larger sales averages and more contracts.  She does know that the graduating students from Brandon High love the results and are coming into the studio in droves.

One of the special pleasures we at Virtual Backgrounds get from our work is seeing the many ways in which our equipment is used and the results that follow. Click here to download a PDF of the entire Canine Review article.

Lee Jang Sun
One of Korea's Finest Portrait Professionals

In His Own Words

Lee Jang Sun

You heard it right! Virtual Backgrounds is taking Korea by storm and is changing the way professional portrait photography is being done in Korea! Tony Oh and the good people at Bonmatch have brought Virtual Backgrounds to Korea and have helped to open the eyes of many Korean photographers.

Before Virtual Backgrounds, photographers in Korea had to construct elegant new studio scenes once every few months costing them tens of thousands of dollars each time. Now, a simple transparent background slide and a few props are not only saving Korean photographers money, but they are also giving the photographers more variety! This month, we highlight one of Korea's finest portrait professionals, Mr. Lee Jang Sun. Read below as he shares his experiences both before and since he has purchased his new Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.

Lee Jang Sun - In His Own Words

"It must be one of the most common issues all photographers over the world always face in front of a camera at the studio - longing for newer styles of pictures and wanting to capture the subjects in a more creative and elegant way.  I have been always questioned about backgrounds.

The conventional way of studio shooting in Korea is to put up canvas, paper, or muslin backgrounds.  Some photographers with artistic talent try to fix their own studios for backgrounds by themselves, but the others simply asked an interior decorating designer to take care of revamping their whole studio which is very expensive. 

I have been traveling for quite a long time to look for more creative scenes, while dreaming about the solutions of backgrounds which can satisfy my needs in time, cost effectiveness, and quality.

A light of hope came to me when I happened to visit San Antonio, Texas for Imaging USA in January 2007 and was introduced to the Virtual Backgrounds system.  It was more than enough to excite me.  Within only minutes, a number of creative pictures could be expressed in many various ways.  I returned to my studio in Korea, being full of excitement and enthusiasm after private lectures in San Marcos.  My Virtual Backgrounds system arrived and simply turned me to be the happiest photographer ever!

Jumping into the machine, I got my own backgrounds ready and tried to figure out the proper lightings and so on. Some additional props were set.  Yes, I’m all set!!!  My initial images let me down and I was puzzled with the unexpected results.  I quickly started understanding more about the system, and now I feel like I’m on the right track for great success!

It surely depends on the photographer’s own capability to produce the great works rather than on any equipment.  None of the state-of-art systems in the world could give effortless guarantee on the quality works. What photographers should do is to decide for yourself if any system can work well with you or not.  Once a decision is made to go, you should keep working hard to make the images come to life. 

I wish I could have my own exhibitions with all of the works with my Virtual Backgrounds system in the near future.  In order to make it happen, I will make every endeavor with enthusiasm to produce the shots that are my most creative ever."

Lee Sang Jun

Click here to see more of Mr. Lee's photographs taken with the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds Image Enhancement System.

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.

To unsubscribe from this emailing, click here. Type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.