October 2006 Issue

In this issue:

Only a Few Days Remain for the
Annual VB Print Competition

Simone Will Teach Four Day Class in January

Virtual Backgrounds Exhibits at Phtokina

Trevon Baker's Christmas Promotion Using Virtual Backgrounds

Featured Photographers:
Joseph & Louise Simone

Featured Item From
Web Photo Supply

The Mini Digital Studio Kit #1

  • Color Temperature 5000K +/- 10%

  • 48W Mini Fluorescent Light
    (main light)

  • 2 x 32W Mini Fluorescent Light
    (for fill and overhead light)

  • 48W + 32W Mini Fluorescent Lights (for back and bottom lights)

  • Collapsible Desk-top Shooting Table measures approx. 27.3(w) x 23.2(d) x 21.7(h) inch

  • Light Stand

  • Boom Arm for overhead light

  • 2 Table top light stands

  • 2 Pan tilt brackets

  • Includes AC/DC Adaptors

  • 1 year Warranty except bulbs

Professional Net $895.00
Available at now at Web Photo Supply

Only a Few Days Remain!
There's Still Time to Submit Your 8x10 Prints!

Entries Must be Postmarked by October 31, 2006
Maximum entries: 5 per studio

The deadline for the Virtual Backgrounds Annual “Best Of” Print Competition is nearly here, but there is still time to send in your entry! This competition is open to any professional photographer who uses a Virtual Backgrounds system. The only criteria is that images submitted must have been created using a Virtual Backgrounds system.  It is an Open Category only.

The top three prints will be awarded the valuable prizes listed below, and the owner of the winning print will be a Featured Photographer in the November 2006 edition of The Backgrounder.

First Place:
$300 Virtual Backgrounds In-store Credit
AKC 320 Studio Light – Photogenic Professional Lighting ($200 value)
42” Touch of Warmth Reflector Kit  - Web Photo Supply ($139 value)
$125 Buckeye Color Lab In-store Credit
24x30 Canvas Print Mounted on Gatorfoam ($115 value) – Nichols Photo Lab
Large Frame  - The Levin Company ($100 value)
Featured Photographer in the November 2006 Backgrounder
Total Value: $979.00

Second Place:
$200 Virtual Backgrounds In-store Credit
6-in-1 Reflector Kit – Westcott ($150 value)
42” Touch of Warmth Reflector Kit  - Web Photo Supply ($139 value)
24x30 Canvas Print Mounted on Gatorfoam ($115 value) – Nichols Photo Lab
Large Frame  - The Levin Company ($100 value)
$75 Buckeye Color Lab In-store Credit
Print featured in the November 2006 Backgrounder
Total Value: $779.00

Third Place:
$100 Virtual Backgrounds In-store Credit
24x30 Canvas Print Mounted on Gatorfoam ($115 value) – Nichols Photo Lab
Panoramic Frame  - Albums Inc ($100 value)
32” Touch of Warmth Reflector Kit  - Web Photo Supply ($99 value)
$75 Buckeye Color Lab In-store Credit
Print featured in the November 2006 Backgrounder
Total Value: $489.00

Virtual Backgrounds
c/o Liz Trevino
101 Uhland Road, Suite 106
San Marcos, TX 78666

We extend a warm "Thank You" to each of our generous sponsors!

Read What Photographers
are Saying about
The Professional Photographer's

"It's happening all over...but no one wants to talk about it. Studios are running out of business because digital cameras enable the amateurs to do so much. Henry Oles is the only one who tells it like it is and what can be done. Ignore reading PERFECT STORM at your own risk."

P. J. Stanhope
York, England

"PERFECT STORM really explains how things are and where we are going. It is a must read for any studio. It's a roadmap for those who want to be successful."

Don Hileman
New Visions Photography
Boardman, Ohio

"The most valuable book I have ever read for my business. It will help me save my business. It explains a lot and has great recommendations."

Brian Angelo
Los Angeles, California

Contact us to get your FREE copy of
The Professional Photographer's

Simones Will Teach Four Day Class
in San Marcos January 8-11, 2007!

Next week (October 23-26, 2006) Virtual Backgrounds will host two of the most well known photographes in the world, Joseph and Louise Simone of Montreal. If you are looking to significantly elevate your creativity and produce a product that is unaffected by the Perfect Storm, you need to attend a Simone workshop.  It is four days of learning in a relaxed environment.

After such a huge response to the October class date, we have arranged with Joseph & Louise to host another workshop here in San Marcos January 8-11, 2007. For those of you who plan to attend Imaging USA (PPA's National Convention) in San Antonio (just 50 miles away from San Marcos), this may be a great way for you to kill two birds with one stone and attend both events!

If you are interested in attending this powerful January workshop that can change the way you do portraiture and help you defeat the PERFECT STORM, sign up now! Space is limited and the class is already starting to fill up, so contact us now to reserve your space before this class, too, becomes a sell out!

Cologne Germany as Captured Through the Lens of Trevon Baker

Virtual Backgrounds Exhibits at Photokina
It was a Great Success!

Our team is back from Photokina, World of Imaging, held in Cologne Germany every two years. This is a major show for Virtual Backgrounds.  We had a large booth which enabled us to demonstrate the use of Virtual Backgrounds to visitors as well as display a wide variety of large sample images made with Virtual Backgrounds.

The most common question asked was, “How does it work?”  Many photographers from other parts of the world have never experienced Virtual Backgrounds and were fascinated by the concept.  European photographers are especially keen on developing new styles of portraiture to try to bring the public back to the professional studio.  Just as in other parts of the world, European photographers are seeing their business dwindle as amateurs fulfill more and more of imaging needs with their new high power digital cameras and home color printers.  Therefore, why go to a professional if they don’t offer anything significantly different from what one can do themselves?  The “Perfect Storm” for photographers is a world-wide phenomenon, and photographers everywhere are starting to fight back with new concepts and new equipment.  Virtual Backgrounds is a primary tool to enable photographers to offer services the amateur cannot offer.  It is “new magic” for the professional photographer.

Virtual Backgrounds demonstrated the Scene Machine Digital but also showed the Spectravue 300 and the Spectravue 200.  VB also showed a new variety of studio monostands that we make available to American photographers.

The VB booth was staffed by Marian and Henry Oles, Christian Feigl, Trevon Baker, and a translator who was able to communicate in more than 6 languages.  Joseph and Louise Simone and Trevon Baker conducted live shooting demonstrations.  The Simones showcased their book, The Portrait...Mirror to the Soul. It was a very successful trip and we look forward to returning to Cologne in 2008!

Images by Trevon Baker of Kalispell, Montana. Portraits were taken in the booth at Photokina, and the scenics were taken in Cologne Germany.

Changing Photographers’
Perceptions about the Power
of the Background!

The hardbound full color book, Background Power!, by Dr. Henry Oles, Cr. Photog. is having a strong affect on many professional photographers.  Traditionally, photographers have ignored the background, especially when working in the studio.  Today, photographers everywhere are discovering that the background in their photographs are a powerful force.

Believe it or not, backgrounds can be used to draw customers into the studio.  Because they can do so much of their own imaging with their fully automatic digital cameras, more than ever before, the public is avoiding going to a professional photographer .  Professional studio camera rooms are often empty.  Professional photographers must find ways to entice customers into the studio, and the background is becoming a primary method to accomplish this. 

How, you ask?  It’s simple.  Let’s say the photographer wants to go after various groups such as the boy scouts.  The photographer develops special “boy scout backgrounds” and goes to the district director with a proposal.  The photographer can even customize the background for each individual troop.  The troops are then scheduled either to come to the studio or the photographer goes to the group.  When shooting, the photographer does not use just one background.  Instead, he or she uses 3 or 4 different backgrounds to provide the family with more variety.  When the family has more variety, they often buy more.  In addition, if they really like the images, they will buy larger images.

Background Power! is about backgrounds of all kinds and how to turn them into new profits.  Background Power! is on sale right now for 50% off its regular price of $39.95.  That’s just $20.00!  For information on how to get your copy of Background Power!, contact us today!

Fall Colors Right in Your Studio
Without the Wind, Rain or Mess!

Bring the beautiful colors of the Fall Season into your studio with Virtual Backgrounds. See these and all of our other seasonal and holiday collections by clicking here.

Trevon Baker's Christmas Promotion
Using Virtual Backgrounds

VB consultant and Montana photographer Trevon Baker was more than surprised by the success of his Thanksgiving weekend Santa Claus promotion.  Because they are available so cheaply in so many places, it is easy for all of us to think that there is no money in doing Santa Claus photographs .   Trevon Baker proves that this just isn’t true.  Yes, there are an lots of places where parents can take their kids for cheap Santa Claus pictures, but Trevon proved without a doubt that there is a solid market for high quality professionally made Santa Claus photographs.

Last year, Trevon advertised a free Santa Claus promotion.  The ads were directed primarily at his current customers but others could participate.  He used the word “free” which is so painful to many photographers who are not very promotional savvy.  The promotion was scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

Trevon hired a very real looking Santa Claus…with a real white beard and a jovial personality.  He projected with his Scene Machine a variety of Christmas scenes behind the subject…mostly lighted Christmas trees.  Santa was seated in a big Santa chair.  He used professional quality lighting and took time to pose his subjects…as well as being ready to catch the perfect candid expression that can so often happen with Santa.  Subjects were not rushed through as they are in department stores.  It was a friendly Christmas atmosphere.  Four to five shots were taken of each subject and the images were immediately sent to the sales room, via his wireless network, where his sales consultant met with each customer and helped them make their choices.  He was so busy throughout the day on Saturday shooting that he had no idea what was happening in the sales room.  It wasn’t until the end of the day that he saw the orders and he was astounded.  His average order was well over $100!  His highest order was nearly $200 and only one didn’t order anything at all…at least not immediately.  He couldn’t believe his eyes as he counted up the numbers.  Obviously the customers were looking for professional quality Santa Claus photographs and when they got them, they bought them.

Is there any doubt what Trevon Baker will be doing this Thanksgiving weekend?  This is going to be an annual event for Trevon Baker Photography in Kalispell, Montana.  Once again, Trevon’s experience goes to prove that there is money to be made even in Santa Claus photographs if the professional photographer uses professional techniques and good salesmanship.  And we’re happy that the magic of Virtual Backgrounds played a significant role in the success of the promotion.

Featured Photographers: Joseph and Louise Simone

Producing Their Best Work Yet!

Mention the name Simone among a group of professional photographers and you immediately have everyone’s total attention.  Without a doubt, Joseph and Louise Simone, from Montreal Canada, are recognized as two of the very best photographers in the world today.  They are also two of the most popular teachers.  They have won every competition and have achieved the highest levels of awards, including the prestigious ASP Fellowship.  The Simones will be teaching seminars across Italy in November, and across France after the first of the new year.

Just over 3 years ago, the Simones began using the Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system so they could have infinite control over their backgrounds, which are an important part of their photographs.  No one has ever learned to use the Virtual Backgrounds system faster.  Their very first images not only made it into their new book, The Portrait...Mirror of the Soul but were also used by Kodak as giant poster prints in their trade show booths. Joseph used several of these very first prints with Virtual Backgrounds to earn his ASP Fellowship award.  Prints entered for the ASP Fellowship award are the most critically judged prints in print competition today.

Their book is becoming a classic that every portrait photographer should own.  Every image provides the viewer with ideas on lighting, posing, Photo Shop, Painter, and of course, background choice.  The book is available directly from the Simones.  They can be contacted at  [email protected] You can also visit their website at www.simoneportrait.com.


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