July 2012

July 2012

Next VB Workshop August 27-29, 2012

Learn How to Turn Backgrounds into Dollars

Although nearly everyone in professional photography has heard about Virtual Backgrounds, relatively few really understand it or appreciate just how powerful a tool it really is for generating more dollars. We call it Background Power!

If you want to really grow through being really different, make the commitment to attend the next VB workshop. It’s a three-day experience you will not forget and one that comes with a formal guarantee of satisfaction. No one has ever asked for a refund. The registration fee is just $295 including three lunches. Pounds Labs is a co-sponsor of the VB workshops. We have a special rate with the local Travel Lodge hotel of only $45 per night regardless of the then going rate which is usually considerably higher.

The VB workshops are taught by Trevon Baker. Trevon is a Master Photographer who flies to Texas each month to conduct the workshop. Actually, the workshop covers far more than just VB. Trevon gets into lighting, posing, total image integration, marketing, and even a bit on Lightroom.

Registration is limited. Call 512-805-4844 to register. You won’t be sorry. VB can help you be clearly different from all others.

Watch videos of recent VB workshops!

Stop Leaving Money on the Table

A photographer might be thrilled to make a hundred dollars, but they should be sad knowing that they could have made a whole lot more if they simply had taken a slightly different approach.

For example, most school photographers take a single shot of each kid. But what if they offered real choice through proofing? And what if each of two or three shots were significantly different simply through quick changes in the background? And what if one of the backgrounds was perhaps the school logo or some other significant aspect of their school? Being clearly different brings more contracts, more customers, and higher sales averages. No one really knows how much more people will spend unless they experiment.

Implementing Virtual Backgrounds technology and proofing are quick ways to make one’s school photography clearly different and potentially more profitable.

Perfect Storm Bypasses Gugelman Photography

Although the Perfect Storm has decimated so many studios, it’s nowhere to be seen at Gugelman Photography in Idaho. Travis Gugelman was the primary speaker for the Texas Summer Roundup. Besides producing great photography, Travis packs his year with continuous strong marketing promotion that keeps his name in front of the public including surrounding communities. Customers often drive several hours to be photographed at Gugelman Photography, and it’s not because he’s cheap. Travis believes in charging a good price for good product.

Any photographer who is feeling depressed and thinking it’s over for professional photography would do well by attending a Travis Gugelman program.

A Better Potty Stop

What Every Photographer can Learn from BUC-EES

There are tens of thousands of highway convenience store/gas stations scattered across the country. How can any one of them stand out from all the others? That’s what Arch “Beaver” Aplin III & Don Wasek thought when they wanted to open their first convenience store and gas station. Then it came to them. People stop at a highway convenience store not just for gas and a soft drink but also to use the potty and most of the potties are really pretty crappy.

What if their store had the nicest and cleanest bathrooms? Would that feature actually bring customers?

The answer is absolutely yes because it would make Buc-ee’s clearly desirably different from all the others. In just a few years, Buc-ee’s now has 26 locations. The newest one just opened a few miles south of VB on IH 35. It has nearly 70,000 square feet (the size of a mid-size Wal-Mart!) with 85 toilets, 60 gas pumps and a whole lot more to offer besides gas and toilets. Several huge Buc-ee’s are now under construction.

Fundamental to every Buc-ee’s is that just about everything they carry for sale is unique. Even their sandwiches are special. Visiting a Buc-ee’s is an adventure. In fact, many people now stop at Buc-ee’s just to shop and not just for gas or to use the beautiful bathrooms. At this point, some competitors are trying to copy Buc-ee’s but they are barely doing it. They just don’t seem to get the Buc-ee’s formula.

What does this have to do with operating a photography business? Actually, everything. The key is the power of being really different. Most photographers are really pretty much the same even though they all may think they are special and better. To the public they all appear to be pretty similar, and worse yet, the public now thinks that professional photographers are not even needed any more because they can do-it-themselves with their automatic digital cameras.

The key to real success in operating a photography business is to create a fundamentally and clearly different approach, just as Beaver did with Buc-ee’s. Every aspect of the business has to truly impress the customers from the advertising to the way they are treated, to the studio experience, to the viewing of the results and the sale. The inclusion of Virtual Backgrounds can be equivalent to Buc-ee’s beautiful and clean bathrooms! It is clearly a unique tool offered only by select photographers and definitely something amateurs do not have.

Take a few minutes to Google Buc-ee’s. Watch the video clips of the news coverage they got on national news programs. There is so much that every business person can learn from Buc-ee’s. The concept of being really special can work for any business.  It can work for you.

Charity Marketing Program Set for August

Daniel Gutier and Oscar Matlock are scheduled to present their Charity Marking Program at VB on August 30, 2012. Daniel and Oscar have been amazingly successful developing charity marketing in the Dallas area, bringing them hundreds of sittings and hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. Daniel and Oscar will share the basic methods they use to secure contracts and how they produce the results. Virtual Backgrounds is one of their key components. Daniel’s and Oscar’s methods represent one of the most exciting ways to develop sales that we have ever seen and it is one that can be used by photographers anywhere.

The Charity Marketing workshop is only $150, including lunch. The program is co-sponsored by Virtual Backgrounds and Pounds Labs. Call 512-805-4844 to register. Note that the Charity Marketing program immediately follows the August Virtual Backgrounds workshop so one trip can cover two workshops.

Make Money in School Photography

Sales have never really fallen in school photography as they have in other types of portraiture. And school photography is no longer the divine province of the big boys like Lifetouch. There is no reason why more local photographers cannot be very successful at offering school photography services.

Chris Wunder recently held a week long boot camp for school photographers and wannabes in Las Vegas. At the Texas PPA Summer Roundup a program was presented on how individual photographers can get in to and be highly successful in school photography. The use of Virtual Backgrounds can clearly help the independent photographer get contracts and increase sales by enabling them to show how they are clearly different from whoever has the current contract. In fact, incorporating VB is critical now that Lifetouch places special emphasis on their background technology. The days of just having a plain brown or blue canvas are waning away.

School photography may not be one of your favorite ways to make money in photography, but it certainly can pay the bills and generate profits that in the end enable the photographer to engage in their more favorite types of work. It has often been said that there are more millionaire school photographers than in any other kind of photography.

Mark McCall Hangs More VB Prints

Lubbock, Texas photographer, Mark McCall likes to call his Virtual Backgrounds system a merit machine. He has never entered a VB print in competition that didn’t hang and then eventually earn merits. At the Texas Summer Roundup, two of Marks submitted prints were created with Virtual Backgrounds. Both hung. Now they will go in to national competition so we can’t display the images until national judging is over. We’ll be showing more and more of Mark’s award winning work. It’s dynamite and it really shows off what can be done with Virtual Backgrounds.

Here is a picture of Mark McCall getting his award for Best Illustrative image at the TPPA Kerrville Summer Roundup. The winning print was created with Virtual Backgrounds.

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