My first Photoshop World was back in 2002 when i went as an attendee. It changed the way I used Photoshop and it motivated me to take my photography to the next step. In 2009 I was invited to present at Photoshop World in Las Vegas for the first time and I just returned from Photoshop World 2016 where I had the privilege of presenting for the twelfth time. I still can’t quite believe it. I went from being the new guy to being one of the veterans, but I’ll let you in on a secret, I am still as nervous now as I was when I first presented back in 2009.
Every year there is a theme to the keynote, and this year it was a takeoff on Saturday Night Live. This included Scott and Matt doing their take on Weekend Update and Snoop Dog killing it at Jeopardy. It was a thrill to actually see my name up on the screen during the opening festivities.
This year I presented on Night and Low Light Photography and Concert Photography in the Photography track. It’s difficult to describe in words what it feels like to present alongside photographers like Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Dave Black, Roberto Valenzuela, and Kaylee Greer. It’s both an honor and a very humbling experience to share the same stage with these men and woman.
I managed to sit in on more classes this year than I have in a long time. I t was really great to be able to see some of the new instructors like Kaylee Greer (who doesn’t love dog photography) and Dave Clayton (I have download InDesign) and see some of the veterans like Joe McNally show what a Nikon Speedlight or two can do, and Glyn Dewis create lighting effects out of nothing (big soft brush). I also managed to make it to see Joe discuss his career as a photographer which never fails to amaze.
My buddy Dave Clayton got see one of his dreams realized this year when he presented as an instructor for the first time this year. Dave and I met for the first time in the elevator at the Mandalay Bay many years ago, and we have been great friends ever since. Dave has a wicked sense of humor and many people don’t know this, but has had a great career dressing up as a dancing shark. (What happens at Midnight Madness, stays at Midnight Madness).
Photoshop World is not just about Photoshop, technology or photography, it is about people, and there is a social aspect of Photoshop World. Many of the instructors and staff have become close friends over the years, It was a pleasure to catch up with Moose and family, catch a few minutes with Jay Maisel, chat with Tim and Angela Wallace, and hang out with Frank and Annewiek Doorhof and their family. I got to send a little time talking with the very talented Kristina Sherk (who has a great sense of humor especially at Midnight Madness) and I spent a few minutes talking with Stacy Pearsall, who is just fantastic. Breakfast with Jesus Ramirez, Glyn and Dave was a blast, where else but LAs Vegas do they offer you a cocktail at 8 am with your steak and eggs.
Let me just talk about the attendees for a minute. There were many that I knew from previous Photoshop Worlds and it was great to reconnect and see where their photography has taken them now. It was wonderful to meet so many people who were there for the first time and to hear how they were really enjoying the conference. I had a great time with Dustin, Rob, JR, Mike, and Heather at the after hours party. Thanks to everyone who came up and commented on my classes and to those the group of attendees who stood around and discussed the mechanics behind focusing systems and what settings to use to get the sharpest images. A special mention needs to go out to Peter Treadway and Dave Williams for keeping me laughing with stories of their road trip. Great to meet you both.
I was also one of the presenters who took part in the portfolio reviews where I saw some really great images, and tried to help some photographers who were just starting out to get their portfolio in better shape. Portfolio reviews are one of my favorite things about Photoshop World. Where else do you get to sit with someone in the industry and have them look at your work?
There was one real downside to my Photoshop World experience. I had to leave early on the last day to make it back to San Diego to cover the San Diego Comic Con International. More on that soon..
Finally I need to take this opportunity to thank Scott and Kalebra for having me back as part of the Dream Team. It was a real honor to be part of Photoshop World 2016.