August 2013

August 2013

August Workshop
Brings 15 to Texas

The August VB workshop had a full house in San Marcos where attendees learned about projected backgrounds and many other aspects of professional photography including lighting, posing, props, marketing, and total integration.

Consider our VB
Workshop Guarantee

For more than two decades, VB has conducted workshops to customers and potential customers. Through the years, we have offered a full registration refund guarantee to anyone who did not feel like the trip was worth their effort to attend.  We appreciate participants coming to San Marcos from all parts of the world and feel that it is our responsibility to do the very best job we can to make every VB workshop a most valuable experience for all.  That’s our promise to you!

What a VB
Workshop Covers

Watch this time lapse video to see what happens at VB Workshops

VB workshops are no-nonsense workshops that cover how to use the Virtual Backgrounds projection system and much more. This interactive experience includes a great deal of hands-on time for all and plenty of opportunity to ask questions that meet photographers’ individual needs. Included is basic lighting and posing instruction and valuable information about how to market projected backgrounds. With proper marketing, your public will clearly see that with Virtual Backgrounds in your studio, you are distinctively different from the local competition.

Want to view our view our workshop workbook to get a better idea of what all is covered in a VB workshop? Check out the VB workshop manual (PDF).

Don’t panic!  We cover a lot but we do so one step at a time. When you know and understand the projected background process and put it to business use, you will be heads and shoulders above your competition.


Attend the Next
Imagine the Possibilities

October 14-16, 2013
San Marcos, Texas

The October VB workshop is filling up fast, so contact us to secure your seat in the class!  Facilitated by master photographer, Mark Barnett, there is no better way to learn all about projected Virtual Backgrounds and how to grow your business than by coming to San Marcos and seeing for yourself. Virtual Backgrounds will enable you to produce results that no one else can!

The workshop covers a wide range of learning and hands-on experience. It even includes basic lighting, posing, and marketing. It is a workshop experience unlike any other. We are so sure that you’ll feel that this workshop is one of the best you ever attended that we absolutely guarantee that you will be satisfied with all that you will learn.

Much of the first day is devoted to learning the basics about projected Virtual Backgrounds and how it all works. The second and third days are devoted to hands-on, interactive learning. If you would like to see what is covered, you can download our workbook by clicking here. More time is spent on the second and third days on hands on experience.

Lunch is provided each day on board VB’s real railroad car dining room, parked within a few feet of a very busy north south railroad track. After class on the third day, there is play time for those who can stay for a few more hours. It’s a time for individuals to experiment with the system and have fun being creative doing things you may never have thought of before.

The VB workshop is co-sponsored by Virtual Backgrounds and Pounds Labs.

Contact us for more information and to register for the October session! See you there!

New VB
Webinar Series

Virtual Backgrounds is creating a series of webinars for professional photographers who already own and use Virtual Backgrounds systems as well as for photographers interested in learning more about the process. The webinar was all about how to create your own custom backgrounds.

The VB Webinar program does not replace the live workshops held in San Marcos. There is no substitute for hands on experience and the opportunity to spend three full days learning all about Virtual Backgrounds in the presence of a group of other photographers, all looking for ways to use VB to grow their business. Hands on experience is a critical part of a VB workshop. It is anticipated that the VB webinars will arouse interest by demonstrating the wide range of opportunities that come with using VB projected backgrounds and this will in turn encourage more photographers to attend the full workshop to learn about the amazing possibilities that come with using projected Virtual Backgrounds to be more creative and clearly different from all others. The webinar program is coordinated by Crystal Smith.

Contact us for information on upcoming workshops and webinars.

Private Consultation and Training Available
Need help with your photography in general?  Need help with your lighting and posing?  Need help with your marketing? Need help in learning how to effective use virtual projected backgrounds? Help is available through Virtual Backgrounds.  Have a master photographer come to your facility for private training.  The information you need to help you grow your business is available.  We can come to you or you can come to us.  Your success is our number one priority!


Contact us to learn more and explore the possibilities!

Fantasy and Theme Photography

For Fun and Profit

Some things are just more fun to do than others and some things are more profitable. It is really best when fun and profit go together! That is exactly what is happening for a growing number of photographers who are engaged in fantasy and theme photography. It’s even better if you can express your creativity and know you can please the public with products you created that others cannot.

Engaging in fantasy and theme photography with children is both challenging and enjoyable. No two events are exactly the same. The photographer gets to be creative with each and every subject in numerous ways. It’s an engaging kind of work that the subjects and the family love. It’s an experience. The family can even become part of the process. Most important for the profit side is that the family not only loves the results but this is one of those kinds of photography that they cannot begin to do on their own so they have to rely on the professional and pay for the results.

The possibilities are infinite - even with the same overall theme. It can range from little fairies with wings to old time fishing pond portraits, to outer space adventures. Different themes can bring the same children back to the studio again and again.

Projected Virtual Backgrounds plays a big role in the entire process because the background can be quickly varied in many different ways. Any one sitting can use a variety of backgrounds making the previews look so different and giving the parents every excuse to buy more.

VB’s involvement with fantasy and theme photography began with Canadian photographer, Diane Wilson. Diane taught a number of workshops on fantasy and theme photography at VB.  That started a number of photographers in exciting and profitable directions in their business including Dan Gutier of Dallas, Texas and Elma Flores from Wimberley, Texas.

VB will be making a special effort at promoting the fantasy and theme photography with eight different sets of backgrounds created by Diane Wilson, special training CDs, and more. Stay tuned. Fantasy and theme photography could change your career in photography.


Sweet Light in the Palm of Your Hands

24 / 7 /365

Quality orientated professionals often talk about sweet light. It’s the light that is available early in the morning or near sundown when the rest of the weather conditions are acceptable. Problem is, the weather doesn’t often cooperate, and it can be hard to get up at five in the morning to catch the early light.

With projected Virtual Backgrounds, you can catch the perfect backgrounds exactly at the right season and at the right moment with the lighting is just perfect. Then in your studio, you can create perfect lighting, 24/7. If you want some wind to blow the hair, you can turn on the fan. Everything is under your control in the privacy of your studio.

For most photography, why would anyone want to work on location where you have little control? Why would you want to work on location where every amateur can take pretty good pictures? The professional photographer’s “ace in the hole” is having a studio with projected backgrounds. After all, you are creating portraits, not shooting snapshots.



A New Way to use Your VB System!

Two Screens Side by Side = An Even Wider Variety!

(Click the above image to enlarge)

Dance schools can be a big business for photographers.  With so many photographer fighting to secure a contract, the competition for this business is fierce. So how do you differentiate yourself when trying to secure these particular types of contracts without being super cheap? Different muslins, unique lighting, different colors for the background paper, or the use of draping are some of the ways to make yourself different along with your particular style of photography. However, these techniques are easily duplicated by your competition which includes some parents who are handy with their digital cameras!

The solution:  Be so different and unique that you cannot be copied!

Craig and Karen York (York’s Photography Studio) and VB instructor Mark Barnett (Barnett Photography) recently secured a dance studio contract.  They wanted to give their clients something totally different and found a way to do just.  They placed two Virtual Backgrounds projection screens side by side to make one super-sized, super-wide, and super-versatile background. With this unique setup, they were able to photograph large dance teams and individual dancers while changing backgrounds in seconds.  With projected Virtual Backgrounds, changing backgrounds is as easy as changing slides in the projector!  They were able to quickly offer a wide variety of background shots, enhancing the overall composition for each group. Backgrounds quickly and easily be color-coordinated to match various dance team’s costumes too!  So, instead of the entire dance studio’s photos having the exact same one-size-fits-all-background, each dance group had their own custom group shot. This offered a new layer of photographic quality and variety to the dance school photos.

Here’s how to combine two screens to capture both large group and individual shots

  • 2 Virtual Backgrounds projection screens
  • 4 heavy duty 13 ft. Bogen light stands
  • 1 super clamp
  • 1 L shaped jig

Virtual Backgrounds projection screens are so highly reflective that you do not need any extra power from the VB projector. You just need to adjust the image with the projector’s lens to fit the background across the width of both screens.

Note about the vertical seam:  The large group will cover most of it!  You can quickly and easily clean up the rest using Photoshop. For individual shots, just move your lighting and camera/projector (preferably on wheels) over to one screen.  Use the same slide as with the group shot. Now your group and individual shots can have the same background for that dance group!

Flooring and blending it with the background

Use a gray mottled muslin that can be taped down with gaffers tape.  At the intersection of the muslin and screen, a black sheer material can cover the screen’s base.  This technique will also break up the line at the bottom of the screen.

Lighting options

  • Photogenic Lights (or the equivalent) with various modifiers
  • A Main light soft box like a Larson 4′ x 6′ on a rolling light stand
  • An accent light with a Larson strip/grid opposite the main light
  • Hair light above and behind the screens
  • An umbrella fill opposite of the Main light but moved much further away
  • Larson 72″ silver reflector (on the same side as the accent and fill)

The only light that needs to move is the main light. This accommodates shooting the larger groups in the center and then easily moving to one side where individuals are photographed.

In conclusion

The results are wonderful and exciting for you and your customers! The images exceed client expectations which makes for very happy customers! If you are already doing dance schools or are considering doing them, this technique would easily set you apart from any and all of your competition!

Contact a friendly VB consultant to learn more about how to setup double projection screens for large groups!


2 Responses to August 2013

  • John D. Salmon

    I would like to sign up for the October 14th, 15th and 16th virtual background training camp.

  • Kathleen Porter

    Very interested in the following:
    Fantasy and theme photography with eight different sets of backgrounds created by Diane Wilson, special training CDs, and more. Fantasy and theme photography could change your career in photography.

    I would love to attend a Fantasy and Theme Photography workshop, please keep me informed.

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