Daniel Gutier-Dallas, Texas
Innovation = Key to Success
While many professional photographers are complaining about huge drops in business and some are even going out of business, Dallas Texas photographer, Daniel Gutier isn’t having any problems getting plenty of work. It wasn’t always that way; however, since he got his Scene Machine Virtual Backgrounds system and started working with a non-profit doing fund raising with his photography, Daniel is one mighty busy person.
At first, Daniel just dabbled in photography as a hobby while he also learned to do retouching and graphic design for studios. About seven years ago he opened a 15 x 18 studio in a local BAZAAR (flea market). There were six other photographers operating in the same market. He had to do something really different to just survive.
Daniel’s life began to change when he attended the Rick Ferro evening workshop event in Dallas four years ago. He won a free three day workshop at Virtual Backgrounds which is how he first learned about VB. Daniel states, “I was just blown away with the images – and the Simones, and all the wonderful work on the walls. I was immediately inspired to get a Virtual Backgrounds system for my studio.”
“I did some serious research on VB, reading all the old editions of The Backgrounder and looking at the Featured Photographers stories. I had to have a system so bad that I sold my only car to get enough money to buy a VB system. It was the best decision I ever made. It changed my whole photographic career forever, and it put me on a whole different level.”
Daniel purchased a Scene Machine Digital and a 8 x 9 wide portable screen for his studio. He continues, “Many of my photographer friends told me I was crazy to buy it because everyone thought it didn’t work. One said he even had a VB system and sold it; but I did not let any of them discourage me.”
“I must admit that my friends scared me a little bit, but when I got my VB system, I was driven to make it work to create images like I saw at the workshop. My first images were great! I was amazed! I just don’t know what these other photographers were talking about. It was easy for me. Being at the class helped me so very much! I believe that people who have problems with the VB system have them because they don’t go to class and they don’t know lighting. They just don’t make any effort.”
“To further my training, three years ago I attended a Simone workshop and a Diane Wilson fantasy workshop at VB. That changed my photography even more. The Simones taught me quality and Diane Wilson taught me how to use the Scene Machine to create my fantasy sets. VB made me different from all the other photographers. I was popular and busy.”
“Then earlier this year I had an idea of creating a photo calendar as a fundraiser so I started looking for a charity and found Safe Kids of Dallas. I did not know at the time that Safe Kids was part of the massive Children’s Medical Center. I showed them my project and my fantasy work with the Scene Machine. They loved it, and we worked out a contract. Session fees were set at $25 which was donated to the organization. I photographed 190 kids which raised $4700 for Safe Kids. We then had a voting contest to see who would be the 13 Kids to appear on the calendar. Votes cost $1 each. This Online Contest raised $15,000 for Safe Kids. We ordered 2,000 2012 calendars which sell for $15.each. Six hundred calendars are already sold and we hope to have to order another 2,000! This could mean another $30,000 for Safe Kids. Of course our logo and information are on every calendar. The project was so successful that I closed my flea market studio. I joined forces with Oscar Matlock and opened a boutique studio about 10 minutes from downtown Dallas.”
Much of our work comes from the Safe Kids project. Many people are find me on my Facebook page. I’m not looking back. I am adding to my studio props and adding outfits and more fairy wings. I use a smoke machine and fans to blow the hair. My work is very unique and always changing. Ninety percent of my work is fantasy photography. Each participant gets a free 8 x 10 and over 80% place very significant orders for additional prints.”
“It was my former photographer employer who told me I was crazy to buy a Scene Machine. He also said that today, any idiot with a camera thinks they are a photographer. I took that very personal and it pushed me to be better than anyone else in my area. I did try to do some outdoor environmental work but I did not get nearly the same response. Anyone can go to a park. I wanted to be special and that is what my Virtual Backgrounds system lets me do in my studio where I can change backgrounds and props so quickly. It just is not the same, and it is so much better than working on location.”
“I can’t believe how far I have come. We are looking to continue the project next year, making it even bigger. It’s been great.”
At VB, we are proud of Daniel Gutier’s success. His words say it all. There really isn’t anything we can add.