May 2009 Issue

In this issue:

$ Make $ Money $ Now $

Enchanted Photography Workshop

Texas School - Bigger and Better
Than Ever

Yes We Can!

Roy Stockard - From Flying 777s to
Photographing Fairies

Rick and Deborah Ferro
July 16-17, 2009 

Making Money the Ferro Way

Making money is the key component of the Rick and Deborah Ferro workshop schedule for July 16-17, 2009.  It’s a powerful two-day workshop with primary emphasis on methods the Ferros use to generate revenue in these difficult times.   Rick Ferro teaches his unique lighting and posing methods as well as other techniques to create really exciting portraits.  He will also be demonstrating how he uses the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system.  Deborah will be presenting her special methods for using Painter and PhotoShop.  The cost for this workshop is only $195 including two lunches.

The regular Virtual Backgrounds three-day workshop immediately precedes the Ferro workshop.  The VB workshop is July 13-15, 2009.  It’s a great opportunity to attend both workshops with only one trip.  Those who attend the VB workshop will automatically receive a $50 discount on the Ferro workshop.  If your studio needs a jolt, this is the way to get it going.

Attendees to the Ferro workshop will receive a number of special coupons that can more than cover the cost of the workshop.  Contact us for more information.

New Slide Storage and

A great way to store and view hundreds of backgrounds. The Virtual Backgrounds compact table top slide storage and viewing cabinet.  The cabinet  holds 630 background slides and with the addition of a second set of trays, it will hold 1260 backgrounds. 

A drawer on the bottom pulls out and becomes a lighted surface for easy viewing.  The new cabinet sells for $750.  Contact your Virtual Backgrounds consultant to get your hands on one today!

What’s Expensive?

It’s all relative.  Today, many photographers everywhere are hanging on to every dollar, afraid of any new expenses.  But, what if an expense was actually in reality an investment that paid huge dividends?   For example, around the country, workshop and seminar attendance is way down.  But is this the right thing?

The five-day Diane Wilson Enchanted/Fantasy workshop we hold every other month costs $595.  Is this expensive?  It depends.  It’s not expensive at all if the participant puts the concepts to work.  A single sitting using her methods can potentially bring in that much or even more.  Just because times are tough, we should not be cutting back on our investments whether they are investments in education or investments in equipment that will pay for itself very quickly.  But if you don’t buy the tools and knowledge that can help your business, that is a really expensive mistake.

How’s Business?

The most common question photographers ask each other today is, “How’s business?”  The interesting thing is that not everyone is suffering.  Many photographers are holding their own and even growing while so many others are suffering.  The major factor is how the photographer goes after the business.  In today’s world, you cannot just wait for the customers to come in.  You have to find ways to motivate your customers, even drag them to the studio and then wow them like never before. 

There are many speakers out there who will try to educate you in the basic principles of management and marketing.  However, very often these presentations don’t provide down to earth practical information that you can use immediately to turn your business around.  While the more academic type training is useful, what the professional needs today is straight forward concepts you can put into action immediately - concepts that will quickly start to bring in new business and profits.  Many studio owners can’t wait.  You need money now!

We pledge to you that all workshops conducted at Virtual Backgrounds are very practical.  We provide our participants with numerous money making concepts and methods they can put into place immediately upon returning home.

New Book Forthcoming

Virtual Backgrounds founder, Dr. Henry Oles, is starting work on a new book which will serve as a sequel to his book, The Professional Photographer’s Perfect Storm, the book that vividly predicted the difficult times we are in now.   The new book will be completely devoted to how to fight both the storm and the economic recession providing a wealth of specific suggestions and formats to turn a hurting studio into a profitable one.  Keep an lookout in future issues of The Backgrounder for more information!

Rule #1 – If We Don’t Take Care of Your Customers, Someone Else Will

Image by Rick Avalos

It used to be that Rule #1 simply meant that if the photographer didn’t take good care of their customer, the customer would go to another photographer.  Today, much of the time the customer has the ability to take care of their own needs with their do-it-yourself digital cameras.   That’s why it is more important than ever that we devote extra special attention to providing our customers with really special products that they cannot create on their own. This should be the basis for most everything we do.  Otherwise, why do our customer’s need us?  Frankly, they don’t need us any more unless we are special in every respect.

Virtual Backgrounds Scene Machine Chosen for Major Theme Park

The Scene Machine was chosen to be a key element in a display for a major Florida theme park.  The display, part of the pavilion for a major corporation every photographer will know, will feature a giant model of a digital camera with a Scene Machine tucked inside.  The host will take pictures of members of the audience using a 10 x 11 foot projection screen.  The new attraction will be opening in mid-June.  The Scene Machine was chosen because of the high quality results it produces and because of the simplicity of operation as compared to green screen.

Why Does Virtual Backgrounds Sometimes Get Mixed Reviews?

Image by Lee Sang Jun

It’s the strangest thing.  Many photographers using Virtual Backgrounds will tell you that it was by far their very best investment and that without it; they might not even be in business.  Others will tell you that it really doesn’t work.  How could there be such a vast difference in opinion?

If Virtual Backgrounds works so well for some photographers and not so well for others, the difference can’t be in the product. The difference has to be in the operator of the product. It’s just like a camera.  Some photographers make the necessary effort to learn to use the system while others make little or no effort.  They seem to want a system that is so simple that they can just plug and play.  They don’t realize that if Virtual Backgrounds were a totally plug and play tool, then the amateurs would use it.  You can’t have it both ways.

Then there are those who never owned or even tried a Virtual Backgrounds system but they seem to enjoy complaining about it on forums when in fact they don’t know the details.  They just seem to enjoy spreading rumors.  Highly successful Virtual Backgrounds users don’t mind the comments at all because it means less competition for them from other photographers.

There is only one sure way to know the facts and that is to come to a Virtual Backgrounds workshop and see for yourself how Virtual Backgrounds works and how it can help you grow your business.  Alternately, you can make an effort to talk to other VB system owners and get their opinions.

If you are thinking about how you can come out of the storm and the economic slump, it really costs very little to attend a workshop.  You would find that nearly everyone who attends a three-day workshop acquires a system for their own studio.  If you already own a system, the workshop can dramatically help you learn to implement the concept to generate new profits.  It’s a terrible waste to have a powerful system sitting in the corner that isn’t being used.  Also, remember that Virtual Backgrounds always has technical support available.

Virtual Backgrounds not only offers the three-day workshop, but we also offer numerous additional learning tools including the hard bound book, Background Power! and various CD and DVD materials.  Virtual Backgrounds’ goal continues to be to offer the most comprehensive customer training and assistance programs of any company in the industry.  The satisfaction level for workshop attendees is nearly always 100%!

Virtual Backgrounds has been a key life saver for many studios.  You owe it to yourself to check it out.  The more you know about Virtual Backgrounds, the more you will want a system and use it.

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!

$ Make $ Money $ Now $

Image by Jessica Laredo

Virtual Backgrounds can be a studio’s best investment.  Some photographers pay for their VB system in just a few weeks or less with jobs that it helps them to get.  Others may require longer.  It all depends on how effectively the photographer puts this remarkable tool to work to bring in new customers and higher sales.

Consider the facts.  Virtual Backgrounds enables photographers to have infinite background variety which also means infinite creativity right at their fingertips.   This infinite variety in backgrounds leads to more variety in lighting, posing, expression, and props.  More variety in a single session leads to greater customer satisfaction.  Greater customer satisfaction leads to more sales, and that results in more profit for you!  It’s just the way it is.

It’s really pretty obvious when you think about it.  You also must consider that the use of Virtual Backgrounds enables the photographer to produce work the amateurs cannot, even with their latest and greatest digital cameras.  Even today, most professional photographers only use just a few old fashioned canvas and muslins for backgrounds.   Virtual Backgrounds definitely can set the professional photographer apart from the competition.  We often call it new magic.

In addition to the creative advantages of Virtual Backgrounds, owning a VB system can also help to grow your bottom line, especially in these difficult times.  It really does have the power to take your studio operation to a whole new level of success.  It can be the economic stimulus you need right now.  Virtual Backgrounds is the stimulus that depressed studios need to restore their business.  It can take you to a whole new level of success.   It can be your best investment ever.   With Virtual Backgrounds, you can make money now!

Image by Carrell Grigsby

Enchanted Photography Workshop
Diane Wilson Class Moves to
Five Days - June 15-19, 2009

Sneak a peek into Diane’s previous workshops and also her Toronto Canada studio.  Also included in the video are lots and lots of sample images. Enjoy!

The next Diane Wilson enchanted photography workshop is scheduled at VB for June 15 – 19, 2009.  What was once a three-day workshop has now gone to five days.  There is much more to being successful in enchanted photography than what one initially thinks.  This is your chance to get a nice jump start.

Diane covers the entire range from successfully operating an enchanted or fantasy studio to making costumes and props to setting up the scenes, posing the subjects, digitally enhancing the results, advertising, and marketing.  The June class will be Diane’s fourth workshop this year. Diane is the only professional photographer regularly conducting workshops to help photographers get into the profitable world of enchanted photography.

The cost of the workshop is $595 which includes four lunches and many extras. One single enchanted sitting could easily pay for the entire workshop cost.  Participants leave with dozens of digital files that they can use in their advertising and marketing.

Contact us for more information on the Diane Wilson workshops.  You can view Diane’s Web site at

Marathon Press is creating preprinted promtional and marketing cards specifically for enchanted and fantasy photography to help photographers get a jump start.

Read more about the Marathon Press cards in our next
issue of The Backgrounder.

Texas School
Bigger and Better Than Ever!

The go-to school for a week of training in professional photography has more than ever been Texas School, sponsored by the Texas Professional Photographers.  This year, Texas School drew well over 1,000 photographers from all over the country who converged on the University of Texas at Arlington for the school and trade show.  Virtual Backgrounds was once again represented in the trade show. 

An estimated 50% of attendees were new to professional photography. In some classes, 75% of the participants were new.  This is clearly representative of the huge number of people, young and old alike, who are leaving their current professions and starting their own part or full time photography businesses.  School participants were more than eager to learn as much as they could so they could apply the new methods to their individual operations.

Yes We Can!

Image by Trevon Baker

If there is a way out of a problem, you don’t really have a problem.  In professional photography, there are many options that can bring abundant success even in these bad times.  You just have to go after them and make things happen.

We see professional photographers crying the blues about lost business, such as wedding candids and portraits, but the fact is the cheese isn’t gone.  It has just moved.  There is still cheese out there - you just have to look for it in its new location.  Wedding photography is not dead.  It is just that technology has opened the door to a flood of amateurs with digital cameras willing to shoot for almost nothing.  Quality professional photographers who market themselves appropriately will still get their wedding business plus they will also look for other wedding related opportunities that they can photograph.  This includes offering exquisite pre-bridal formal portraits which can be quite profitable without the hassle of doing the candids.

Professionals can’t continue to operate in ways that the amateurs feel they can duplicate on their own.  For example, many professionals emphasize working in the local park, but the park is exactly the same venue where the amateurs can also work.  In the park your subject will probably have to change clothes in a smelly restroom and you will probably have to contend with the public watching and perhaps making unfavorable comments.   You have the wind and heat or cold.   Let the amateurs have the park when you have a better more professional way to do more with less effort. 

If the professional cannot be distinctively different compared with the amateurs, the professional will lose business.  Fortunately, there are a huge array of opportunities in professional photography today.  You just have to seek them out and use them.  Yes, the cheese has moved but, you can still get the cheese.  In fact, some of the new cheese may be better than the old cheese you were use to.  Just go find it!

Image by Joseph and Louise Simone

Roy Stockard - From Flying 777s to Photographing Fairies

Charting His Own Course and Doing What He Loves

Roy Stockard of Dallas, Texas flew 110 missions over Vietnam.  He made 555 landings on aircraft carriers.  He flew reconnaissance in the reserves.  He later joined American Airlines and flew the 727, Super 80, DC9, 757, 767, and then ended his career flying the 777 from Dallas to Frankfurt and Dallas to Tokyo.

Roy was a captain for American Airlines, flying every plane they flew, including the fabulous Boeing 777.  He also served as a trainer and flight check pilot.  He retired in October, 2005, with seniority number 101 out of 12,000 pilots.  Retirement enabled Roy to move to his next love - photography.  He began attending workshop after workshop.  He has already been to five workshops at Virtual Backgrounds - most recently the Diane Wilson enchanted photography workshops.  For the fifth year in a row, Roy attended Texas School last week.

Roy started shooting professionally in 2003 with sports and then weddings.  He then learned about the Scene Machine and that turned him on to portraits.  Roy’s main interest right now includes enchanted portraits, and he is working diligently on Painter.

Is Roy worried about the economic slump and the Perfect Storm?  Not really.  He is far too busy learning professional photography, learning to use his Scene Machine, and working at capturing and producing images.

A Career Changing Experience
VB Three-Day Workshops

Jim Wilson CPP Cr.Photog
Trevon Baker CPP  Cr.Photog

This is your opportunity to learn how you can turn Virtual Backgrounds into significant new profits.  Plenty of hands-on experience. 

Next workshop: June 8-10, 2009

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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