Jim Richard-Dickinson, Texas

While many photographers find their way into the business after doing many other things, Jim Richard got started when he was just a kid and kept on going. Initially it was just for fun but in junior high school he got his first 35 mm camera. By the time he reached high school, he learned that he could turn his enthusiasm for photography into money. After high school, Jim joined the Navy and for 3 years served as a photographer’s mate while he broadened his training and experience.

After the Navy, Jim spent six years in newspaper photography before opening his own Houston area studio in his home in 2000 and then opening in a commercial location in 2003. Jim purchased his Scene Machine virtual background system in 2005 and immediately put it to use to distinguish him from the competition. Initially Jim didn’t want other photographers in his area to know that he was using the Scene Machine to create his unique images but more recently decided that he did not really care who knew his methods.
Quoting Jim, “I believe that virtual backgrounds is what has kept my business going. There have been so many new photographers showing up in the area, most of whom are selling mediocre imaging. I had to show my customers that I do so much more than the others. I provide exciting work that other photographers just can’t do because they don’t have a VB system. Because my studio is small with minimal space for working and for storing equipment, my VB system solved many problems. At first, before I knew about virtual backgrounds, I was buying a lot of muslin backgrounds. Not only were they costing me an arm and a leg, they also had to be set up, taken down and stored. In addition, the styles of muslin backgrounds get old very fast so I had to keep buying new backgrounds to stay different. I like to use multiple backgrounds with a subject but it was time consuming to keep changing from one muslin to the next. It takes just seconds to change backgrounds with VB. With VB, I can offer my clients both location and studio photographs and in Texas, with our super hot summers, that’s important.
Jim does a lot of his work on location, often with the virtual background system. His specializes in formal events, seniors and dance studios. “Without VB, I just don’t think I would be in business today. It enabled me to put all my muslin backgrounds into storage. The Scene Machine has really saved me a lot of money because I have no need to keep on buying those standard backgrounds that everyone else with a studio has. I can be really different.”

With so many changes happening in photography and with the economy looking down again, Jim is about to make another change in his business. In order to keep costs down but still take advantage of the high traffic of a commercial space, Jim operates both from his home studio and a smaller commercial space. He felt maintaining the commercial space for consultations, business headshots and one or two person sittings was the best way to maintain a professional image. Jim is taking advantage of commercial space, home studio space and the ability to work on location with his VB system.
Jim’s plan is to continue his business with even more special emphasis on being different from all the others who are vying for the business. “If I am not clearly different and better, I just won’t last.”

Jim is taking a realistic look at the photographic industry and setting himself up to continue to be successful even if the economy drops and even as thousands of new photographer all try to grab business.

Click here to read about another VB Featured Photographer