November 2011 Issue

In this issue:

Get a VB System for Little Down and Low Payments

Last Chance this year to Catch VB Workshop

Richard Sturdevant's Lifestyle Arts Portrait Workshop

Mark Barnett Joins the VB Field Consulting Team

Featured Photographer: Mark Gutier

Go Ahead, Frack It!

Tired of seeing your sales drop? Are you looking for the money? There is an answer. Just FRACK IT! The dollars are there, waiting for you!

What can professional photographers learn from the oil industry? Once upon a time, oil was easy to get. Then it was necessary to drill deeper to get to the oil, drilling even under the ocean and then doing lateral drilling. Now, they are finding ways to extract oil from tar sands in Alberta and from shale in the US. In desperation to get more oil, fracking was discovered. Fracking is a method that fractures the rock all around the drill pipe to collect more oil from the entire area. The need to solve problems creates innovation.

This is what professional photographers have to do in order to get more business. Business isn’t easy to get any more. One has to go after business in innovative ways. Yes it is harder than it use to be, but it is still possible to be successful. It worked that way in oil. It can work the same way in photography, but only if the photographer works harder and smarter to develop new methods that the amateurs cannot do on their own.

A key tool for photographers is Virtual Backgrounds - which can enable them to do things that no amateur can do no matter what camera they may buy. Virtual Backgrounds is the tool that can bring new life to photography. Like any tool, it will work only if it is properly used and promoted. To be successful in photography today, one must find new and better ways to serve the public.

Texas Photographer Awarded Fuji Masterpiece Award

Mark McCall, Texas photographer, was awarded the Fuji Masterpiece Award for best wedding image in the Southwest by SWPPA on Oct. 3, 2011.

The award-winning image was created using Mark's Virtual Backgrounds system!

The Southwest Professional Photographers Association consists of member photographers from Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

The yearly print competition hosts photographers entries from these member states, and winners are chosen by a panel of Master Photographers.

Fuji honors the best of the best in each category, wedding, portrait and commercial. Never Say Never was awarded the Masterpiece Award for the wedding category.

The image also captured a Distinguished Print Award

Congratulations Mark!  Keep up the great work!

VB Workshop Sneak Peek

Want to See What Happens at VB Workshop?  Watch this video too!

There is Still Time!  Take Advantage of IRS Rule 179

Purchase equipment like a Virtual Backgrounds system for your studio now and you can deduct the total amount of the cost from this year’s taxable income even if you have only paid for part of it by December 31.

This is an important tax benefit that many photographers never take advantage of - and if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Contact your sales consultant at Virtual Backgrounds for more information on how you can save money now. Don’t miss out on how the government can help you get the equipment you need to grow.

A Career Changing Experience

That’s exactly what many Virtual Backgrounds system owners say about the time when they first acquired a Virtual Backgrounds system and implemented it in their studio. That is exactly what is possible when Virtual Backgrounds is properly implemented. VB can help you get new contracts. VB can help bring more clients to your studio. VB variety will help you sell more!

It's is the last bit of magic a photographer can offer to the public - magic the public does not have so it is still special and something worth paying for!

VB can make the difference between success and failure for the professional photographer. Learn the facts about how Virtual Backgrounds can provide the stimulus you need to recover from the devastating storm and economy slump.

Advantages of Financing Your Equipment

1. Lets you hold on to your cash. Cash is the life blood for your business.

2. Financing is quick and easy. Online application. Approval within hours.

3. 100% financing - pay only the first and last month’s payments in advance.

4. No down payment.

5. You can write off the entire amount on your 2011 taxes (IRS 179)

6. Fixed payment

7. Unlike credit card debt, this debt does not usually appear on your credit report and will not adversely affect your credit score.

8. Many start up and home based businesses can get financing.

9. Risk adjusted pricing.

10. Paying for income producing equipment as it generates revenue is a sound business decision.

Good and Not So Good Investments

A good investment is one that should quickly pay for itself with new dollars generated by the investment - and then go on paying dividends. A bad investment brings the investor nothing extra and therefore, it becomes an expense.

An example of a bad investment is buying the latest and greatest new digital camera when your current digital cameras are working just fine and producing work your clients love. Clients are not going to pay a dollar more just because you have a new camera that doesn’t let you do anything special that you could not already do with your current cameras.

Virtual Backgrounds is an example of an excellent investment because it enables the photographer to do things that they never could otherwise do - things that clients appreciate and respond to with more sales dollars. A VB system can be a great investment. Once it pays for itself, it is essentially free but it goes on helping the photographic artist generate more and more profits.

Last Chance to Capture Football Backgrounds!

Football season is almost over. This is your last opportunity to capture a variety of football backgrounds this season. Use them to create samples to capitalize on this huge profit opportunity for new sales. Capture a wide variety of backgrounds that also include backgrounds for the drill team, the band, and the cheerleaders.

Get out there, support your local team, and prepare to enhance your profits as well!

High Power – High Profit Success Seminar to be Held Again in Los Cabos, Mexico, February 2012

Once again, Nulab of Australia offers a unique week long learning opportunity focused on marketing and selling your photography. There is no other workshop like it, anywhere. The workshop is open to photographers anywhere who want to move to the top in sales and profits.

Click here to learn more

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!

You can let things happen or you can make things happen!

Choose Success!

Get a Virtual Backgrounds System for Little Down and
Low Monthly Payments

Money is no longer the problem for those photographers who want to take advantage of the innumerable profit building benefits that come with implementing a Virtual Backgrounds system for their business. VB in conjunction with United Leasing has a plan that will enable you to start growing your business immediately with Virtual Backgrounds for very little down and low monthly payments.

United Leasing is a certified affinity partner with the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). VB has worked with Bob Bell at United Leasing for many years. It's easy! Complet an online application, and approval can come very quickly. The down payment is just advance payment of two monthly lease payments with a total of 36 payments to follow. Do it now! There is still time to take advantage of IRS 179 so you can get a tax refund this tax year.

Think about it - you can have a complete Virtual Backgrounds system for less than the cost of a couple of quality canvas backgrounds or a single small polystyrene set. Why limit yourself when you can have infinite background variety to complement your clients and increase profits? VB can enable you to be more creative, producing unique products your customers cannot do on other own. Take few minutes to see what you are missing.

Last Chance This Year to Catch
Turning Backgrounds into Dollars

There are only a few seats left in the November 14 -16 workshop at Virtual Backgrounds presented by Master Craftsman photographer, Trevon Baker. Each month, Trevon flies in from Montana to conduct the workshop in San Marcos, TX. Come see what all the excitement is about. This workshop covers more than just Virtual Backgrounds. It includes hands-on experience and instruction on lighting, and posing. It also gets into work flow and even Lightroom. After the November date, the next workshop will not be until February 2012. Contact us today before it is too late. Learn how you can put VB to work for you and generate more business and profits.

Richard Sturdevant’s
Lifestyle Art Portrait Workshop

November 17-18 are the dates for Richard Sturtevant’s next Lifestyle Art Portrait workshop to be held in San Marcos, Texas, immediately following the VB Turning Backgrounds Into Dollars workshop. Attend two workshops in one trip!

Richard’s composite art is hot stuff today. It isn’t something any amateur can even begin to do and most professionals are not doing either. It can bring you big dollars. This workshop can show you how. This class moves fast using photography and a heavy use of Photoshop! The cost is only $295 in advance and $395 at the door.

Contact us for more information on the VB workshop and the Sturdevant workshop.

Mark Barnett Joins the
VB Field Consulting Team

Virtual Backgrounds is pleased to announce that Master Craftsman Photographer, Mark Barnett of Charlotte, North Carolina has been named a Field Consultant for Virtual Backgrounds. He will maintain an office in Charlotte but will be working with photographers over a broad area, not only as a sales consultant, but also as a technical advisor.

During Mark's career he has been the recipient of advanced degrees along with awards such as the Kodak Gallery Award, Fuji Masterpiece Award, Art Leather's Most Creative Album award and has had numerous prints accepted into the PPA Loan Collection.

Looking for new ways to better please his clients and deliver more creative work, Mark purchased a Virtual Backgrounds system five years ago. It became a key component in his studio. He quickly recognized how important of a role Virtual Backgrounds can play in photography. His clients were enthusiastic and would help him search his background libraries for backgrounds that appealed to them. This made his photo sessions refreshingly fun, unique, and tailored to each individual.

Mark is both a leader and a teacher in the world of professional photography. Among his specialties, in addition to Virtual Backgrounds, is his ability to teach others the necessary skills in different software programs such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and ProSelect. As a result of Mark's history with using Virtual Backgrounds, he will be able to provide extensive assistance to photographers interested in working with VB in their own studio, as well as to studio owners who already have a VB system who are looking for ways to increase sales and profits.

Contact Mark if you have any interest in expanding your ability to be more creative and increase the value of your services to your clients. Mark can be reached at 336-382-6345 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Featured Photographer:

Daniel Gutier

Innovation = Key to Success

While many professional photographers are complaining about huge drops in business and some are even going out of business, Dallas Texas photographer, Daniel Gutier isn’t having any problems getting plenty of work. It wasn’t always that way; however, since he got his Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system and started working with a non-profit doing fund raising with his photography, Daniel is one mighty busy person.

At first, Daniel just dabbled in photography as a hobby while he also learned to do retouching and graphic design for studios. About seven years ago he opened a 15 x 18 studio in a local BAZAAR (flea market). There were six other photographers operating in the same market. He had to do something really different to just survive.

Daniel’s life began to change when he attended the Rick Ferro evening workshop event in Dallas four years ago. He won a free three day workshop at Virtual Backgrounds which is how he first learned about VB. Daniel states, “I was just blown away with the images - and the Simones, and all the wonderful work on the walls. I was immediately inspired to get a Virtual Backgrounds system for my studio.”

“I did some serious research on VB, reading all the old editions of The Backgrounder and looking at the Featured Photographers stories. I had to have a system so bad that I sold my only car to get enough money to buy a VB system. It was the best decision I ever made. It changed my whole photographic career forever, and it put me on a whole different level.”

Daniel purchased a Scene Machine Digital and a 8 x 9 wide portable screen for his studio. He continues, “Many of my photographer friends told me I was crazy to buy it because everyone thought it didn’t work. One said he even had a VB system and sold it; but I did not let any of them discourage me.”

“I must admit that my friends scared me a little bit, but when I got my VB system, I was driven to make it work to create images like I saw at the workshop. My first images were great! I was amazed! I just don’t know what these other photographers were talking about. It was easy for me. Being at the class helped me so very much! I believe that people who have problems with the VB system have them because they don’t go to class and they don’t know lighting. They just don’t make any effort.”

“To further my training, three years ago I attended a Simone workshop and a Diane Wilson fantasy workshop at VB. That changed my photography even more. The Simones taught me quality and Diane Wilson taught me how to use the Scene Machine to create my fantasy sets. VB made me different from all the other photographers. I was popular and busy.”

“Then earlier this year I had an idea of creating a photo calendar as a fundraiser so I started looking for a charity and found Safe Kids of Dallas. I did not know at the time that Safe Kids was part of the massive Children’s Medical Center. I showed them my project and my fantasy work with the Scene Machine. They loved it, and we worked out a contract. Session fees were set at $25 which was donated to the organization. I photographed 190 kids which raised $4700 for Safe Kids. We then had a voting contest to see who would be the 13 Kids to appear on the calendar. Votes cost $1 each. This Online Contest raised $15,000 for Safe Kids. We ordered 2,000 2012 calendars which sell for $15.each. Six hundred calendars are already sold and we hope to have to order another 2,000! This could mean another $30,000 for Safe Kids. Of course our logo and information are on every calendar. The project was so successful that I closed my flea market studio. I joined forces with Oscar Matlock and opened a boutique studio about 10 minutes from downtown Dallas.”

Much of our work comes from the Safe Kids project. Many people are find me on my Facebook page. I’m not looking back. I am adding to my studio props and adding outfits and more fairy wings. I use a smoke machine and fans to blow the hair. My work is very unique and always changing. Ninety percent of my work is fantasy photography. Each participant gets a free 8 x 10 and over 80% place very significant orders for additional prints.”

“It was my former photographer employer who told me I was crazy to buy a Scene Machine. He also said that today, any idiot with a camera thinks they are a photographer. I took that very personal and it pushed me to be better than anyone else in my area. I did try to do some outdoor environmental work but I did not get nearly the same response. Anyone can go to a park. I wanted to be special and that is what my Virtual Backgrounds system lets me do in my studio where I can change backgrounds and props so quickly. It just is not the same, and it is so much better than working on location.”

“I can’t believe how far I have come. We are looking to continue the project next year, making it even bigger. It’s been great.”

At VB, we are proud of Daniel Gutier’s success. His words say it all. There really isn’t anything we can add.

Want to see Virtual Backgrounds in action?

Click here for our upcoming trade show,
seminar and affiliate school schedule.

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Virtual Backgrounds Training Workshops.