June 2012

June 2012

Get a Closer Look at VB’s Very Unusual O% Financing Program 

We Invest in You!

VB is so confident that our VB system will help a professional photographer grow their business and profits that we offer in house financing without even doing credit checks and all the usual formalities that go with payment plans. Our program may seem to be unbelievable and even crazy in today’s world but it’s true. We have offered this type of financing for years to help photographers jump into the world of Virtual Backgrounds and start really growing their business. 

Just choose the Virtual Backgrounds equipment you need and we’ll take care of the rest including providing you with support services to help insure your success. Think of it as an informal partnership. It is in our mutual best interests that each of our customer’s do well. Implementing the many advantages of a VB system can make the difference. Isn’t it time that you take a serious look at Virtual Backgrounds and what VB can do for your creativity and bottom line profits?

Adding VB to your studio tool box is not an expense, it is an investment in your future that can pay for itself quickly and go on helping you be truly different from others. Being different from what others can do is the ultimate key to success in today’s world.

Need More Business?

Charitable Marketing Workshop Scheduled for July 19


This is a completely new workshop! The Learn and Earn Workshops division of Virtual Backgrounds is pleased to announce that Daniel Gutier will present a full day program on how photographers can generate substantial new business through forming win-win partnerships with local charities and non-profit groups. Daniel Gutier and his partner, Oscar Matlock will reveal their methods through a presentation titled, Charitable Marketing: How we quadrupled our sales and became local celebrities by giving back to our community. While some photographers have experimented with charitable marketing, Daniel and Oscar have really developed this concept and as a result, are earning very substantial benefits.

The program will cover everything from setting up a program to contracting with a charity to doing the actual photography, sales, and organizing other benefits for both the charity and the studio. The program also includes demonstrations on how they use Virtual Backgrounds to produce the actual images that generate the high sales averages…images that other photographers and amateurs cannot do.

Registration for this program is only $150 and includes a luncheon in the VB railroad dining car. The program is co-sponsored by Pounds Color Lab, who produces the images for Daniel and Oscar.

Even in these difficult times, there are innovative ways to generate significant business. As with all VB Learn and Earn workshops, this workshop comes with a 100% guarantee. This workshop immediately follows the three-day VB workshop. Attendees can attend both workshops with one trip or either workshop alone. Registration is limited. For further information and registration, call 512-805-4844or e mail [email protected].

Ron Watson, CEO of the American Press Association Writes about Virtual Backgrounds

Having attended the Virtual Backgrounds workshop some time back, I was quite excited to see the potential of professional portrait work utilizing this amazing technology. No one has provided the photographer with a more technologically advanced tool for creating masterpieces for their client. This technology gives unrestrained opportunities for the professional studio or home photographer - to become more creative, more skillful, and the training workshops teach techniques that are second to none in equipping the attendee with knowledge that will both enhance their photographic skills as well as their income. I highly recommend Virtual Backgrounds. They are advancing the scope and reach of portrait photography.

~Ron Watson

Bad National Economic News 

What Should Photographers Do?

 As this is being written, the national economic news is not good. Unemployment is going back up. Consumer confidence is going down. Everyone is scared of the future and it’s a political year. At the same time, professional photographers continue to suffer the effects of the digital revolution and business for most photographers is down or way down as our customers get satisfied with doing their own photography and eliminating the professional. 

Staying put for most in the photo industry is not a good option, especially if business is going down. The only solution is making carefully calculated and finely crafted changes in business operation to attract public interest and grow profits even in these difficult times. It is not the best time to buy another digital camera or most other photographic components with just one exception…products like VB that can truly make a difference. 

Customers don’t care if you have a 2012 model digital camera or a 2010 digital camera, as long as it works. They don’t care if you get a new flash if it doesn’t make a huge difference in your product. But an investment in Virtual Backgrounds can make a huge difference in the variety of products the professional can offer that other photographers and the amateurs can’t begin to offer. That is the critical factor in making an investment decision.

In these difficult times, it is unwise to buy luxury toys that are not really necessary to generate revenue but it is a time to invest in equipment that can make a real difference in the products and services you offer to your customers. It’s time to explore Virtual Backgrounds to discover all that it can do for your business. It is time to explore products that can make a real difference.

There is no product in the photography industry, regardless of cost, that can create personal wealth like Virtual Backgrounds!

~Gary Jentoft

Virtual Backgrounds has the Potential to be a Career Changing Experience

Learn the facts about how VB can provide the stimulus you need to recover from the devastating storm and economic slump.

What Does VB Have Over Location Photography?

 Location photography is great except for one super critical thing. Every amateur and just about every professional photographer works on location. Yes, your work may be better than most but most customers will never notice the difference. With the digital revolution, the do-it-yourself (DIY) people love to produce their own work and save the cost of hiring a professional. Plus, because they did it themselves, they will probably like their work better than yours regardless of its real quality simply because they did it themselves.

The normal playing field has been turned upside down by the digital revolution and the professional can’t usually win if they shoot on location exactly where their customers can do it themselves and have fun doing it. The professional has to offer something dynamically special to get the business. Special comes with having a well-equipped studio, Virtual Backgrounds, quality lighting, and the know how to make it happen and provide the client with an experience that cannot get elsewhere and certainly not on their own.

Like it or not, there are no two ways about it. The pro must deliver something dramatically different to get the business. In the studio, with VB, the professional can do so much so quickly, and provide the client with a phenomenal experience. And yes, even location type shots can be done in the studio with perfect lighting, posing, and complete privacy although we never recommend that any photographer completely abandon location work.

When a professional gives up their studio, their creative complementary lighting, their posing, they really make their success far more difficult because customers don’t see the value. Just look at what has happened to wedding photography!

The public didn’t just leave professionals out for no reason. When the product professionals delivered deteriorated to the level of what the amateur could do, the amateurs took over and the business, for the most part disappeared, perhaps never to come back unless the professional provides a value proposition.

I use VB for my regular portrait work as well, not just for competition. Matter of fact, I use it more and more all the time. I really see me using it exclusively within the nest year for all my portrait work. 

It takes a lot to impress me with today’s technology.  However, the VB system never ceases to amaze me.

~Mark McCall

VB Featured Photographer: 

Thomas Cooke

Aiming to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Being out front with changes in technology and incorporating the latest methods has always been of paramount importance for Strongsville, Ohio professional photographer, Thomas Cooke. He’s always asks himself, “What can I do that is special and different from everyone else that will entice my clients to come to me and order more images?” Way back, before digital, Thomas had one of the first video proofing systems when everyone else was still showing paper proofs. 

Thomas has been in professional photography for 33 years. Initially he was going to be a music performance major with special emphasis on keyboard, piano, and pipe organ but in high school he picked up a Minolta camera and started shooting, first for the school and then moved to moonlighting for a local photographer doing weddings and then managed the studio. He bought himself a Yashica 124G, and started his first studio in his parents’ home. By the time he was 21, he was married and rented a retail space for his studio. Initially he concentrated on weddings.  

Thomas Cooke photography eventually moved in to a 75 year old Tudor home, on the main drag in Strongsville, both as a place to live and to have their studio, later devoting the home entirely to their studio. Recently, for several years, they operated the studio within a local bridal store while extensive street improvements were being made outside their facility. In January the studio was able to move back in to the Tudor home. “I don’t feel a studio has to be in a commercial strip center to validate that you have a real business. I feel the home environment has worked really well for us over the years.” 

“I am always looking for ways to be really different from all other photographers. This is the reason I purchased the Gallery Video Proofing system. It was expensive but it made me unique, at least for a while. I’ve learned a great deal from other photographers like Larry Peters who is about two hours south of me. . Larry has always prided himself as being ahead of the curve and this is also a primary goal for me.”  

“I am always asking, what more can we do with our limited space? I was getting physically exhausted moving big props around and setting up various backgrounds, and just dealing with all the stuff. I decided to get a Scene Machine Digital Virtual Backgrounds system so I could have unlimited background choices and the ability to change backgrounds quickly without all the hassle and with minimal storage. I still use some props that I integrate into my images but it is so much easier than before.  

“VB has been a very important tool for my studio but it isn’t all that I do. I feel it is important to give the customer a true photographic experience. I have “off the wall” sets but they are mostly in our outdoor shooting area. In addition to Virtual Backgrounds, I have freedom cloth and a paper drop. I feel that variety is so important to the total experience they get when they come to Thomas Cooke Photography.”  

“I often show my clients the slides that I will be using for their VB backgrounds but I don’t usually let them select particular backgrounds. That’s my job. Because VB backgrounds are indeed virtual, I have to talk up what I am doing because they can’t see the background live. I can show it to them on the back of the camera and I talk with them a lot to tell them what I am creating for different shots. I have to show them or they don’t understand what is happening. It’s always a surprise when they see for themselves how Virtual Backgrounds actually works. I can give them so much variety so quickly.”  

“I noticed a few years ago that seniors were really interested in unusual grunge type stuff in the background so I started looking for old warehouse space, places where junk was thrown, and a railroad track but those locations are getting old. They don’t change and my clients always want something different. The main advantage of using Virtual Backgrounds is that I am able to provide my clients with stuff that other studios either cannot do or struggle to do and I can keep changing my backgrounds as I add to my background collection. This is more important today than ever before because there is so much competition including the do it yourselfers.”  

Looking at his business in general, Thomas is feeling the crunch of the Perfect Storm but he has no intentions of becoming another statistic. He remembers when Henry Oles wrote an article that predicted the end of the mom and pop studio as we have known it. “I’ve seen many studios quit or go under. I’ve seen the big changes…all these inventions and the wonderful technology and the opportunities. I don’t want to fall behind. I want to keep up…I want to stay on top of stuff. Staying ahead is the key to my success.”  

“I don’t see any soft landings. We spend a lot of money on learning new things. We have to stay in front of it. We can’t afford to miss out. If you slow down too much…if you take off too much time, if you don’t take the business serious enough, you will fall behind quickly. This is what has happened to many photographers.” 

“When it comes to Virtual Backgrounds, I sometimes hear photographers say, ‘I could not get it to work for me.’ Obviously it has worked very well for me. Actually I am glad that it takes some effort to learn to use Virtual Backgrounds correctly because if it were totally simple and very cheap, then everyone would have one and it would not be special any more. We have to embrace technology.”  


Thomas ended the interview for this article by saying, “I have a quote that sits by my computer that says, Nowadays, people know the price of everything but the value of nothing.”  I try to consider this quote as I plan most everything we do at Thomas Cooke Photography. 


VB is a very awesome piece of equipment.  I use it 90% of the time except for my composites.

~Richard Sturdevant

Now Open: 

July VB Workshop Registration

Get the Facts and the Experience!


 Are you ready to really learn about Virtual Backgrounds and get hands on experience? There is no better way to get the facts and experience than to attend the next Learn and Earn workshop on Virtual Backgrounds. It is scheduled for July 16, 17, 18 in San Marcos, Texas. The workshop is taught by Montana Master Photographer, Trevon Baker. Registration fee is 295.00 which includes 3 lunches, take home materials, and a ton of helpful information and experience. Although the workshop is primarily about how to implement Virtual Backgrounds into your studio, Trevon spends time on lighting and posing which is so important in the process of successfully integrating the VB backgrounds. There is also a section of the workshop on workflow. A co-sponsor of the VB workshop is Pounds Laboratory.

Every workshop includes a guarantee. If for any reason a registrant is not satisfied with the workshop, a refund will be offered. No one has ever asked for a refund! 

Watch the above video to get a personal message from Master Photographer, Trevon Baker who will be facilitating all VB workshops!

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