Dick Stevens-Greenville, South Carolina

Creativity + VB + Facebook = Success

Dick Stevens doesn’t know much about the Perfect Storm that is devastating so many professional photographers today because he doesn’t need to know. He basically has all the clients he wants and they keep telling others to go to Dick Stevens Photography because he is really different.

In many ways, Dick represents the new generation of professional photographers. He was never a full time professional and still isn’t. He had a career in retail and also as industrial pattern maker. He started in photography while living in Florida, concentrating on nature and wildlife photography but realized that there are only so many places to go and animals to photograph. He started shooting portraits 9 years ago and loved doing it but not as a real business but rather as a serious hobby. He built an addition on to his home for his studio. Then four years ago Dick moved to South Carolina and decided to get even more serious about his portrait photography. His new studio is in a separate building behind his residence. He also has plenty of space for sales and production. Because the studio is part of his residence, he has no outside signage.

Dick’s primary means of marketing his services is through Facebook. He has about 800 friends, spends a great deal of time on Facebook, and posts new images frequently. He really doesn’t do any advertising other than Facebook and word of mouth from past customers which is bringing him all the work he wants. Either he is contacted by friends on Facebook to do their photography or he offers them the opportunity to be photographed by him. He also does photography for Click Magazine, a free local weekly magazine for the Hispanic community.

Earlier this year Dick began to take a serious interest in making Virtual Backgrounds a significant part of his operation. Four months ago he ordered a VB Express projector with an 8 x 8 foot background screen. He attended the Virtual Backgrounds 3 day training workshop and very shortly afterwards sent Virtual Backgrounds a portrait of one of his clients wearing a bathing suit in a virtual beach scene. VB personnel were so impressed with the image that they began calling Dick to learn more about how he created the image. It was only then that VB learned that Dick was making very creative use of his Virtual Backgrounds system and they began encouraging him to submit additional prints for review while watching his progress on Facebook.

Because of the very impressive and different images Dick has placed on his Facebook pages, he has been getting a number of calls from photographers who say that they don’t get results with Virtual Backgrounds as good as his and they want to know his “secret”. Dick says, “Anyone who buys a Virtual Backgrounds system and thinks it is by itself the answer, they are kidding themselves. Virtual Backgrounds can only work if you know how to shoot quality images in the first place. Virtual Backgrounds is a creative tool to help enhance your photography but it still all depends on the photographer.”

Dick did not have to make many changes in his normal way of shooting when he adopted Virtual Backgrounds. “I use 9 x 36 inch strip soft boxes with grids. I don’t have any problem keeping excess light off the background. I didn’t have to change my way of shooting other than I don’t use my big 30 x 60 soft box up over my camera. I can’t imagine cutting and pasting in backgrounds or using green screen. It is far too time consuming and the final product would not be as good as what you get with the VB system. I love to do action photography…like using a fan to blow the hair or having a model shake their head and twist to get the flying hair look. Customers love it. They don’t get it anywhere else.”

Dick is more than willing to work with other photographers. “I’ll help anyone - I don’t mind helping people - they aren’t going to take any business away form me. I can teach them everything I do and they can go back and apply it to their own work in their own way. Sharing information is important. I love being more creative with my VB Express system. I keep discovering new ways to use it. But photographers who look at my work must realize that my end product is not just printed raw. I enhance it to make it even better. Isn’t that what we professionals are suppose to do?”

When asked where he gets his ideas, Dick states, “I am always looking at pictures - pictures in magazines, on television, anywhere. I look at the total image, where the light is coming from, the pose, the background, and how it all goes together. I cut out images I like and keep them in a special “idea” file.”

We expect to see a lot more exciting and different work coming from Dick Stevens and we will be anxious to share it with readers of The Backgrounder and on our web site. Virtual Backgrounds has grown so much over the years not just because of improvements in the equipment but especially because of the work of photographers like Dick Stevens and so many others that we have featured in The Backgrounder. They keep showing us new ways to use our product to attract clients, increase sales, and have fun.

Click here to visit Dick Stevens’ Facebook Page

Click here to read about another VB Featured Photographer

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