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Last week was Photoshop World. Thousands of photographers, graphic designers, digital artists, students, teachers, animators, retouchers, and those that just like to experiment with Photoshop gathered in Orlando for four days of inspiration and education. This was my eighth Photoshop World and my seventh as an instructor.

Monday April 15 – Travel Day

My Photoshop World week started out with an early flight to Houston, a 3 hour layover and then a flight on to Orlando. I arrived at the Rosen Center hotel, quickly changed and went out to dinner with Scott Diussa. Scott and I teach a concert pre con on the day before the conference officially starts so we like to make sure we have everything set before hand. The cool thing about everyone staying at the same hotel is that you will run into friends, attendees, staff and other instructors all the time. After dinner, I ran into Dave Clayton and Glyn Dewis who were at Photoshop World all the way from the U.K. More on these two characters later, but needless to say, we headed over to the bar to catch up.

Since Scott and I were teaching the following day I made it a point to get to my room early. Breakfast with Scott was set for 8:30am and I knew from past conferences that it would be a very long day… and a very long week.

Tuesday April 16 – Pre Con Day

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, Scott Diussa and I headed over to the convention center to get our room ready for the Concert photography pre con. This means getting the computers hooked up, running through the presentation and making sure every seat has earplugs and some Hoodman lens wipes. We also make sure that there are enough chairs and a spot for the Nikon loaner gear. This year we had Mark Suban and Bill Fortney in the class to deal with loaner gear. This freed Scott and I up to answer questions before the noon kick off. The class is split between classroom instruction and live shooting.

We had a great group of attendees in the class. They seemed to absorb the information like sponges and they even laughed at all the bad jokes. The live shoot took place on the keynote stage and the band was Big Electric Cat, the same band that plays the After-Hours party. They really make it easy to get great photos. They play to the photographers and give their best rock ‘n roll looks. I can’t thank them enough for what they do.

Photoshop World 2013 Photoshop World 2013

After the first three songs, Scott and I walk through what we have seen on stage and point out compositional and exposure considerations. Then the attendees get another four songs to try again.

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The concert photography pre con is sponsored by Nikon Professional Services and as a part of that we have a contest to win a Nikon DSLR. This time around it was a Nikon D600 and lens. To enter the contest, all the attendee has to do is enter a single image to Scott and myself by 10pm that night and we will then narrow down the entries to the top three. These three images are then shown during the keynote and a winner is picked by applause. But what that means for is that Scott and I have to judge the images and then get the final images formatted and ready for the keynote.

After the pre con, we headed out to dinner and then to the meet up where I had a great conversation with Scott Audette, a really great guy and fantastic sports and event photographer. Then Scott and I sat down and narrowed down the photos for the contest to the top four. We just couldn’t seem to agree on the last one so I asked Brad Moore for his take. We finally got the images narrowed down to the top three and it was time to get some sleep.

Wednesday April 17 – Day 1

Photoshop World kicks off officially with the keynote address at 9am. I needed to be there a little earlier than that to get the final three images from the Concert pre con ready for the presentation. That means getting the slides there at 7am to make sure they all work properly before Adobe starts their rehearsal.

Photoshop World 2013

Photoshop World 2013

This year the theme was Top Gun and as usual, the Kelby crew put together some great video clips. During the keynote Scott Diussa and I get to show the three finalists and the audience then gets to pick a winner. All three images were great but the crowd really like the shot of Felix and it was clear to us on the stage who the winner was. Congratulations to Theodore Bryson for winning the Nikon D600 and lens, and to everyone who participated.

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Then it was time for Adobe to show off some of the new technology. Some very cool stuff being worked on VIDEO… and a new Public Beta of Lightroom 5 is now available. I didn’t download it till yesterday and am still working on checking out all the new features. Look for a video really soon.

Photoshop World 2013

With the keynote over, it was time for the classes to start. this year, there were seven distinct tracks and while I am interested in photography and using Lightroom and Photoshop in a production mode, I really enjoy getting introduced to new things. But when I get to sit in a Moose Peterson class and get to see his unbelievable wildlife images it’s a must for me. then it was over to see Pete Collins and get some Lightroom tips and tricks. Just some of the quick things you can do to speed up workflow made this important to me. Just the reminder on how to change the mask color was enough to make the class worthwhile.

After the first set of classes, it was time for a quick-lunch then off to portfolio reviews. Now, this is one of the hidden gems of Photoshop World. You can get a portfolio review from an instructor who works in the field you want to. So if you are interested in photographing wildlife, then Moose Peterson is your guy, or you are working on composites, then Glyn Dewis or Joel Grimes might be the ones to check over your work. What a great opportunity. I saw some great portfolios and was blown away by quality of the work. I recently had some of my sports images critiqued on the Grid by Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski and Dave Black. Just click here for more on that.

After the portfolio reviews were done, I headed over to BB Kings, the venue where the After-Hours party was going to be held that night. Scott Diussa and Mark Suban were setting up some remote cameras to capture both video and still of the drum set so that they could capture the drum solo later that night. I took a few shots of the soundcheck and really liked this one of Kalebra Kelby.

Photoshop World 2013

Instead of heading back to the hotel after the sound check, I headed over to a private dinner next door. Was great to sit and catch up with Ben Willmore and Karen, Drew Gurian, Ted and Scott from Peachpit and many others.

The After-Hours party is a time for the attendees, instructors and staff to let their hair down and cut loose for a while. The band Big Electric Cat provides the entertainment and Scott Diussa usually sits in for a song. I don’t take too many shots of the show as the dance floor is usually filled with attendees taking photos and I really try to stay out of their way. That’s not to say I don’t take any. I have photographed Big Electric Cat 14 times since 2009 so I’m always looking for a different angle or take on the show.

Photoshop World 2013

Photoshop World 2013

After the party ended, I headed back to the hotel to go over my presentation. I was invited out to another bar for a drink, but I really wanted to make sure that my presentation the next morning would go well and that means rehearsing. I went over the presentation a couple of time in the hotel room and did a few final tweaks. Then it was lights out on day 1 of Photoshop World.

Thursday April 18 – Day 2

Thursday is the big day for me. I get to present my class on Concert Photography. This time around, I changed the class up and removed the post production workflow so that I could concentrate on the photography side more. The class was part of the Photography Techniques track so I wanted to make sure that I was giving the attendees what they were expecting.

The day started out early with a good breakfast and I went back over the presentation again a few more times…. Then I headed off to the class room where Dave Black was presenting. I managed to be on time for most of the class and it was really interesting. I don’t shoot a ton of sports, but I do enough to want to get better. The class went well. The room had a fair amount of people and more importantly to me, they stayed for the whole thing. After the class was over, I answered questions out side for more than an hour and while that might seem strange to some, I loved every minute of it. One of the things that separates Photoshop World from most conferences is the accessibility of the presenters. I know that I am more than willing to stop and talk about photography or anything else for as long as anyone wants.

Now I haven’t mentioned the Expo floor yet and for good reason. I never even saw the expo until day 2. This is where the vendors get to show off their latest and greatest stuff and if that wasn’t enough, there are the Expo stages where presentations happen all afternoon. I made it a point to catch the presentation by my buddy Jose Ramos on his aviation photography. It was very interesting to see what it takes to get those awesome fighter jet shots. I also checked in with some of my favorite photo related products from Hoodman, Nik Software, OnOne, Rouge, Wacom and G-Technology.

Time flies when you are having fun and suddenly it was after 5pm. I had been asked for an interview by Pavlina to air on her radio show and YouTube channel. I have never met a more professional kid in my life and I really need to thank Dave Clayton for stepping in and acting as cameraman and Glyn Dewis for the loaner Nikon D800 that I am holding the interview. Glad you two were around. Here is a link tot he interview. Pavlinas Interview

It was too late to catch any of the evening sessions so I headed back to the hotel and had a quick bite to eat. I ran into Larry Becker on the way to dinner so we had dinner together. Now there was another convention going on at the same time as Photoshop World. It was some kind of fitness or body building conference and there were a lot of people walking around who obviously worked out  a lot more than Larry or myself. So when we got to the restaurant, the host asked us if we were part of a conference, and when we said yes, he immediately went ” You must be with the Photoshop conference”. I had no idea it was THAT obvious.

Next up was Midnight Madness. I’m not going to go into detail about Midnight Madness here. It’s a lot like fight club or Las Vegas. What happens at Midnight Madness stays at Midnight Madness…. It was late and time for me to get some shut-eye…. and thats when I ran into Scott Diussa, Jose Ramos, Mark Suban, Ron Taniwaki and Jay Maisel poolside discussing everything from cigars, burning man, cursing, construction materials and baseball. Without a doubt, one of the most fascinating conversations I have ever had. Back in 2009, during my first Photoshop World as an instructor, I remember sitting in the same row as Jay Maisel during the keynote and being way to awestruck to even introduce myself. Now, years later, here I was sitting around having an actual conversation with him.

Then it really was time to get some shut-eye.

Friday April 19 – Day 3

I met Bill Fortney last year and was told repeatedly to make sure I caught one of his classes. I did, and everyone was right, Bill is a great instructor. He motivates you to make better photos and does it in a very unassuming way.

It was the last time that the Expo floor would be open so I headed down to check out the booths that I didn’t get to or wanted to check over a second time. I did fall in love with the Wacom 13″ HD Cintiq display, it’s a really amazing piece of tech. At 10am I stopped by the Nik software booth on the Expo floor and went over some of my production workflow using Silver Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4. I had a great crowd and lots of really good questions. I use Nik software a lot in my work.

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I have no idea what RC was doing. I feel stalked.

When the Expo floor closed I headed up to the staff room for a bite to eat and ended up having a great conversation with Jay Maisel about life, martial arts and the current political state of the world. Then off to the last class of the conference for me, remote camera setups with Ron Taniwaki. A lot of really interesting information on the technical side of rigging remote cameras.

The official end of Photoshop World is the closing ceremonies where a select few of the instructors each give a 5 minute presentation. It is always inspiring and motivational. This year was no different. For those that were there, it was something they will not soon forget and for those that missed it, well, you are just going to have to go to the next Photoshop World.

On last meal before getting a few hours of sleep and heading home. Now, last year in Washington D.C. I went out to dinner with Dave Clayton, Glyn Dewis and James Hole. It was a great meal and really the perfect end to the conference. So Dave and Glyn and myself planned on doing it again since James didn’t make it across the pond this time. This time around our little dinner grew into a party of ten including Janine Warner, Aaron Blaise, Kevin Stohlmeyer and Serge Ramelli. I learned so much talking to Janine and Serge that I ended up taking notes on my iPhone. What a great night. 

Saturday April 20 – Travel Day 

Saturday was a blur… Two flights to get home, then a lot of catching up on sleep. It seemed so weird to be home with nothing scheduled. Next up.. Las Vegas.

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