Some of our FAQ's can help answer the question, "What's in it for me?"
A Virtual Background System utilizes a special optical flash projector working with the photographer’s DSLR camera in conjunction with an incredibly reflective background screen, to enable the photographer to have infinite background variety. Simply put, if you have a transparency of essentially anything, it may be used to create a background in real time. The photographer sees both the subject and the background in the camera viewfinder before the shutter is released. The process is optical and instantaneous. It involves no computers. There is no post processing as there is with green screen and Photoshop cutouts. There is no additional cost. When the image is captured it is done and can be shown to the customer immediately. A background change requires nothing more than changing the background transparency, which takes only a few seconds.
How long does it take you to change a traditional muslin or canvas background? How long does it take to move the ” poly foam sets” around? Where do you store all this stuff? Does the outside weather ever limit your ability to do portraits? With the Virtual Background System, all of these are problems of the past. Your own creativity would only be limited by your creative imagination and your collection of background transparencies. If you show the clients the collection of background slides and let them choose their own backgrounds, they now become involved in the making of their portrait…and that can lead too much higher enthusiasm and sales.
Absolutely! There are several ways to create a floor for full length photography by using rugs, plants, props and such. Some photographers use a Plexiglas mirror as flooring for some very creative results.
Definitely yes. There are prints created with virtual backgrounds that have received the top scores in the country in national PPA competitions. And unless the maker of the prints discloses this information…nobody ever knows that the Virtual Background System was even used.
Yes, video is definitely possible. Most of the new DSLR cameras have both video and still capability. With VB, you can have unlimited backgrounds for video and still photography. There are actually many other applications for VB that we don’t have room to mention here.
There is no real reason why you should not be using the Virtual Background System if you are a professional photographer and have even a small space to set it up in. A variety of backgrounds are essential in today’s market and this system will enable you to be so much more versatile than any of your competitors. The camera, computer, software, lights, props and backgrounds separate the “real” professional photographer from the “homemade” photographer and from the not very creative professional.
There is nothing like hands on experience. If you think about the concept and appreciate how much fun both you and your clients can have with this system, then you are more than halfway there. If you are in business, then you know there are no guarantees that anything done will work out perfectly. As a business owner…..you are already a risk taker and problem solver. But with the Virtual Background System there are no problems and no risk because it gives you a background and every image has a background…… what is so risky about having a variety of backgrounds? And after the initial expense, you can have your own custom backgrounds for as little as $6 each. So for 100 different backgrounds….. it might cost you $600. That is cheap in anybody’s pocket book. If that were Muslins (@$100 ea)… it would be more than $10,000. Add some canvas backgrounds in at $900-1500 each. Clearly, a Virtual Background System really isn’t expensive….. it is priceless.
All statements can be backed up-just ask. The Virtual Background System is tremendous tool, which allows you to capture images, market, and sell with more creativity. If you do not use the tool correctly (akin to holding the camera pointing the wrong way) then it will not work the way it is supposed to work. The Virtual Background System gives you the opportunity to stand out amongst your competitors, so that clients will prefer coming to you for their portraiture. And remember, you can come to a workshop and see for yourself the power of virtual backgrounds in your hands.
Virtual Backgrounds has some very innovative ways for professional photographers to acquire a system and pay for it over time as it makes them money. VB can extend credit even if your credit is not very good because we know the system will help the owner make more money.
Call us and talk with a studio consultant. You can also talk with one of our field consultants’…virtual background users who want to help spread the good news. Review your basic needs with one of our consultants and they will help you choose the system that is right for your studio operation. A new DVD titled, Imagine The Possibilities, is available that presents a huge sampling of prints of all kinds submitted by system users from around the world. This DVD will undoubtedly amaze you because it represents everyday work created with the system by so many different photographers. We can also send you a wide variety of sample prints. The evidence is clear. It’s available for you to look at. Virtual Backgrounds is a smart investment.
More Marketing Points
Not at all. You can still use your real canvases or muslins on occasion to give you the traditional look if that is what is wanted. The beauty of this system is variety and if you photograph your own muslin or canvas backgrounds, you can then project them using the system and you can then sell your canvas and muslins. There really is no need to keep them. You can also sell your polyfoam background sets. You can also project high key white, total black, or if you want, you can use a colored gel with or without special Designer Disks to get your desired effect. It is so simple and efficient.
I just spent $10,000 for a huge polystyrene background set, so why would I want a Virtual Background System?
With Virtual Backgrounds, there is no need to purchase an entire set which is huge, expensive, and very difficult to store and it takes time to set it up. In addition, many of those polyfoam sets do not look very real. With VB, you can photograph a real background and it looks far more real and essentially takes up zero space for storage. The photographer can backgrounds in just seconds, which just can’t be done any other way.
As stated earlier, of course you can. Backgrounds can be any image that you capture with your camera and made into a slide, but better than that, you can use some textured objects along with a colored gel and have incredible abstract backgrounds. For example, a piece of textured semi obscure shower glass can create great backgrounds. The only limit is your own imagination. VB offers over 1,000 backgrounds but the most fun comes from capturing and using your own backgrounds…because they are all yours. Your trips to capture backgrounds can even be tax deductible.
You might have a great location, like an elegant hotel or a grungy downtown building and you want to turn it into a background slide but there are problems with telephone poles, wires, etc. ….NO PROBLEM ….. retouch your image and then have the slide made. Your backgrounds can be better than the real thing. Using Virtual backgrounds is fun and easy to do giving you a lot of marketability.
The system gives you total background control and choices of backgrounds
You have control of the background focus
You have control of the proportional size of the background
You have control of the position of the background
You have control of the brightness
You have control of the color
You have the responsibility, as the photographer, to control these adjustments correctly to create art for your clients
The background can be a very powerful influence in a portrait. Therefore, it should not be ignored as it usually is. There are basic fundamentals about a portrait that a photographer can promote. They can promote the fine quality of his work but every photographer everywhere thinks their work is great. But if the photographer can introduce highly complementary backgrounds, that can change the characteristic of the entire portrait in ways that are clearly perceived by the client. Backgrounds should complement the subject. Backgrounds enable the photographer to include more of the subject’s body in the pose and backgrounds also stimulate more creative posing and the use of special outfits. The photographer’s placement of the client within the background along with the lighting can make or breaks the portrait. Some photographers do not do this very well but they can learn.
With a VB system, you can now customize your portrait to each and every customer. There are many clients that do not want the same background each year they have their portrait made. They don’t want the same background in every pose. Multiple backgrounds create a variety of different looks that not only better satisfy the client but will also encourage them to buy more portraits. Unless you have unlimited funds to buy $1000 backgrounds you will not be able to give the variety that your clients come to expect. But you will still be extremely limited even if you spend tens of thousands of dollars on traditional backgrounds. With the Virtual Background System, the variety and flexibility are infinite plus each new background you add costs only a couple of dollars and takes up essentially no space. Plus the photographer can change backgrounds in seconds.
Of course not. VB is a tool for you to use, just like your camera is a tool. If you don’t use tools properly you will not be successful in anything that you may choose to do. But using the right tools, at the right time, can help you achieve success much more easily.
Is there training available in the technical and the artistic use of this system along with ideas on how to promote it?
Yes. Virtual Backgrounds conducts an intensive workshop at their education facilities in San Marcos Texas. The seminar brings together photographers from around the world. The workshop is generally limited in size so there is plenty of opportunity for hands on experience. The workshop comes with an unconditional money back warranty if the attendee doesn’t feel that it is one of the best workshops they have ever attended. San Marcos is located on I-35 half way between Austin and San Antonio. Many attendees also spend a few extra days in the area as a tourist. The opportunity to attend a workshop and get training and have real hands on experience provides the photographer with absolute proof of the value of the virtual backgrounds process. The proof is in your hands.
Yes, but the results may not be realistic and the process is not generally economically feasible. With a digitized image, you can “cut out” the subject and then paste in a background. But, the process of cutting out the subject and smoothing the edges is difficult and time consuming. It becomes virtually impossible when foreground and background props are involved. Without great effort, the end results look “cut out” and pasted. The subject doesn’t get to see the results until it’s done and it can take a considerable time and effort to do a single print. Plus, no photographer would ever so this for every proof so the subject has to select an image without seeing the background until it is done.
To answer this question, you need to know the purpose of the image? If one is doing quality professional portraiture and adding complementary backgrounds to enhance the overall product, then optical projected backgrounds such as those created by the Virtual Background System are certainly the preferred method. With optical virtual backgrounds, the photographer actually sees; live, in the camera viewfinder, the subject, the props and the background, enabling him to make adjustments to create the perfect image. But if one is doing event “fun” type photography, such as placing the subject in a golf cart that is sliding off a cliff high over the Grand Canyon, or switching heads on bodies, digital Chroma key (green screen or blue screen) is sometimes the preferred method.
The Virtual Background Systems are based on optics. They do not involve a computer, software, and there is no time-consuming post-production work. The Virtual Background Systems are designed for producing high quality portrait photography. Green screen and blue screen, also known as Chroma key, were designed for television and Hollywood film-making.
With the Virtual Background System, the photographer sees the subject and the background live as they compose the image. When the shutter is released, the background and the subject are captured and the photograph is complete and ready for instant viewing. There is NO post-production work.
With green or blue screen, the photographer sees only the green or blue background. The subject has to be posed generically and then after the subject has left the studio, the photographer has to paste in an appropriate background for each image. This is exactly the reason green screen backgrounds look pasted in…because they are pasted in. Plus, this takes time, a whole lot of time. If the photographer shoots 50 proofs, they have to paste in 50 backgrounds, one at a time, which could take hours if it is done right. With the optical virtual background process, the process is all done when the photographer takes the last exposure.
With green or blue screen, there is also the problem that comes with the subject wearing a color that technically mixes with the background. For example, if the subject is wearing anything green with a green screen background, that which is green may be replaced with background! It is also highly likely to get green or blue fringe around the hair. With green or blue screen, considerable extra work has to be done to clean up an image including the possibility of having to do re-shoots when problems are so severe that they cannot be cleaned up. Although some school photographers are using green and blue screen, their life would be much easier and their results better if they used optically based virtual backgrounds, not to mention how much virtual backgrounds would reduce their cost. But, if one really wants to use green screen, you can use your virtual background system to project the green or blue color to achieve better results.
Of course you can, but why would you want to? VB is so much FUN to use as it helps you become a more creative photographer. And, comparatively speaking, virtual background systems are not all that expensive. A virtual background system can cost only about 1/2 as much as just one full foam core background set. A 5000.00 foam background set can be replaced with a slide costing only a couple of dollars. The system not only pays for itself through new business generated and expanded sales but it also goes on to continue to enhance profits for years to come. Backgrounds can now cost as little as a couple of dollars each if you make your own backgrounds. Remember, you can capture backgrounds anywhere you go and doing so can make your trips partially or fully tax deductible.
Absolutely not. The technical aspects of virtual backgrounds are not very complicated. The real issue is the artistic component, just like with learning to use a camera. As a newcomer to the profession, you need to find ways that make you clearly different and ahead of all other photographers. You need to be special and since you have not already invested thousands of dollars into old-fashioned canvas and muslin backgrounds and expensive sets. This is what virtual backgrounds can do for you. With a virtual background system you will be able to gather new business and larger sales which will enable you to pay it off quickly and continue earning higher profits because it makes you special.
Absolutely. School photographers have been seeing their averages decrease each year for the past dozen years. They can turn that decline around if they institute innovation in how they do school photography and the very best way to do that is with the use of virtual backgrounds to generate customized backgrounds. It is even possible to use the student’s own school as a background…or their classroom. School photographers need to learn how to make their school photography more contemporary and more meaningful or their averages will continue to drop. The use of virtual backgrounds helps the local photographer get contracts away from the national companies.
“Different strokes for different folks” would be the first response, but in reality, photographers are not always open to new technology no matter how important it is to their business. When digital cameras first came out, there were very few photographers that ventured into that arena right away. In time, many started to make their move into digital with many of them making a very successful transition. There are still others that have not yet made that transition or some that have just recently made that transition and it has been 10-12 years in the making.
The most compelling reason why everybody doesn’t have a VB System is that photographers look at the expense without researching the product to understand just how much money can be saved and made by using the VB system. The fact is… VB is an investment that can quickly pay for itself and continue for years to be a centerpiece of the studio. Many system owners say that they would no longer be in business if they did not have their virtual background system. The possibilities that are available with using virtual backgrounds are so phenomenal and far reaching that many photographers just dismiss the concept because they can’t believe it can really be as good as it is. But, the fact is, it really is that good and you can check it out for yourself if you wish.
Every photograph ever taken has a background. Today’s clients feel strongly about associations of people, places, and things. Why not customize the background for whatever theme is for the images you are creating or just use abstract backgrounds that harmonize with what the subject is wearing. You have heard the term “The sky is the limit!” That statement certainly holds true for the VB System. You can create your own background transparency slide for whatever purpose you may need, such as for the Rotary, Kiwanis, and similar groups, for school proms, for Country Clubs, Schools, Ball Teams, etc. Being able to customize your background to the subject you working with can generate BIG sales. The only limitation is your own imagination.
The VB System cannot do it alone….. it needs your help. Variety is what is selling in this market, and the VB System helps you do this quickly and efficiently. Time is money and variety takes time but makes money, so by cutting that time with VB to a minimum you have saved yourself money and given the client more variety which will in turn give you the opportunity to sell more. If your clients do not want to go on location…..they do not have to go….. you bring the locations to them with VB.
To be different, and more creative. To save time and that translates into making more money. And most of all, virtual backgrounds is FUN to use! Nowadays, clients are clamoring for more creative Images and with the VB system that is easy to do. With the number of “homemade photographers” popping up with digital cameras that rival yours, you need to clearly separate yourself with a different style of photography that your customers cannot began to do on their own. When a photographer works outdoors, they are working where the public can also take pictures. With VB, you are working in your studio with your exclusive backgrounds coupled with quality lighting and posing. All of these advantages can be marketed to bring in the business and profits that you seeking, even in these difficult times.