What a week! I’m back in San Diego after a crazy whirlwind week at Photoshop World in Las Vegas. This was my eleventh time as an instructor, so here are my top 11 moments from Photoshop World 2015. I have also added some photos that I took over the week in Las Vegas.


Photoshop World 2015 - Las Vegas

Peachpit store

In the last year I have written two books, Mastering Nikon Speedlights: The Complete Guide to Small Flash Photography and Pet Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots. For the first time at a Photoshop World, my books were in the Peachpit booth and both seem to sell well. Thank you to everyone who bought one and to those that had me sign their copies. It means more to me than you will ever know.

Portfolio Reviews

I saw some outstanding work this year. Mind blowing great work. I also saw some photographers with real potential who just needed a nudge in the right direction. It takes real guts to show your work to others in that type of setting. I have done portfolio reviews before but what made this year really stand out was the following email I received the next morning:

Hi Mr. Hess,
I just wanted to let you know that I truly enjoyed meeting with you today at my Portfolio Review.  This was my very first review and your kindness calmed my nerves! Your constructive criticism was extremely helpful and encouraging!
Thank you for taking the time to share your professional knowledge with all of us at PSW! It means a lot!

That email made my whole day

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There is a huge social aspect to Photoshop World and this year was no different. Not only did I manage to spend time with some of my old friends, I got to hang out with a bunch of new people. It was great to name out with Brad Moore, Scott Diussa, Glyn Dewis, Dave Clayton, Chris Hershman, Frank Doorhof, Pete Collins, Charles Jischke, Jane Ellen, Joe and Annie, the Moose Clan, Erik Valind, Mike Savoia, Wes Maggio, David Carr, Rob Sirota, Brian Smith and his lovely wife, Tim Wallace, Erika Thornes, Latanya Henry, Kathy Porupski and the whole Kelby One and Nikon crews. I know I have forgotten many people who need to be on this list. I will add names as they come to me.

Erik Valind’s Gluteus Maximus

At some point in the keynote address there was a video playing and we all got to see more of Erik than we thought we would. It just goes to show what a great sport he is and that no-one takes themselves too seriously.

Stay in shape.

For the first time, I wore a fitbit tracker the whole time I was at Photoshop World and was amazed at the numbers. I walked a lot and slept a little. Here is the week broken down by day.

  • Sunday 18,987 steps – 9.18 miles – 6hr 48min sleep (Saturday night)
  • Monday 19,517 steps – 9.46 miles – 6hr 36min sleep (Sunday night)
  • Tuesday 25,909 steps – 12.56 miles – 5hr 38min sleep (Monday night)
  • Wednesday 18,409 steps – 8.92 miles – 5hr 17min sleep (Tuesday night)
  • Thursday 20,454 steps – 9.91 miles – 5hr 0min sleep (Wednesday night)
  • Friday 17,900 steps – 8.68 miles – 3hr 25min sleep (Thursday night)

I find the data fascinating and it matches up with the activity during the week. So not only did the Week in Las Vegas do wonders for my creativity, I also lost a pound and actually feel healthier, just a little tired.

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Concert Workshop

At Photoshop World 2015, I laugh the Real World Concert Photography in depth workshop on the day before the full conference started. This was the 10th time that Scott Diussa and I have taught this class and it might have been the best one ever. This year we added a twist after the live shoot part. We had some guests who photograph shows in a very different way than Scott and I do. Michael Corrado presented on his Drummer Love project where he has been setting up multiple remote cameras to capture the drummer in action in a new and exciting way. JC Carey talked about his love for punk and how to shoot when the only pit is a mosh pit. We had Charles Jischke talking about what it like to be a tour photographer and his days on the road with Billy Idol. We then added Chris Hershman and Iron Mike Savoia and took questions from the attendees. I loved it and thought the guests and panel discussion brought that something extra to the class this year.

Extreme Karaoke 

If you were at Midnight Madness, then you know what i am talking about. If missed it… well, something are best left in Las Vegas.


Photoshop World 2015 – Las Vegas

First Live Demo

I was asked to do a live shoot on the Expo floor for the great folks at Expo Imaging showing off the way I use their products combined with the Nikon Speedlights. It was great fun working with a live model on the expo floor and trying to create a pleasing image with just a couple of lights on the expo floor. When Frank Doorhof crashed the shoot to say hello and goodbye to the model he had been working with all week, I managed to grab a great shot of both of them.


It was great to see Nikon back at Photoshop World with complimentary camera cleaning. I got my Nikon D4 cleaned and checked out by the service guys. This year, I was also proud to be a Nikon sponsored speaker. It was great to see all the hard working Nikon people there.

Pet Lovers

Last year I wrote a pet photography book and soon after it was published, our older dog passed away. It is still tough to sit at my desk and not have her here by my side. At Photoshop World I got to present a class on the expo floor on pet photography and it was really well attended. It was wonderful to be able to discuss dogs, cats, horses, birds and even snakes with so many pet lovers. To everyone that came to that session, I thank you for lifting my spirits.


So the best part of the Photoshop World, and actually all the Photoshop Worlds I have been to, are the attendees. I got to speak to a great many people who came up to me after my sessions, in the hallways and just walking between the hotel and the conference center. Each of these interactions are special and it is on of the reasons that Photoshop World is different from anything else I have ever been a part of. I thank each and every person who took time out of their lives to come to Photoshop world and talked to me about photography, photoshop, music, concerts, gear, and of course dogs.

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So there you have it, my recap of Photoshop World 2015. I hope to be back in 2016 and I hope that you will join me.