This is my second year attending Photoshop World, one the largest photo conference’s in the world. The conference is designed for photographers, retouchers, graphic designers, and motion picture artists who utilize the Adobe platform. There are over 100 classes for you to choose from, which are broken up into the following groups: Creative Suite, Creativity, Photo Studio Live, General Photoshop, Motion Graphics, Photography, and Productivity. Each workshop is one hour long and in that time you are provided with important information and material so you barely have to take notes! As with any large scale educational event, it has its pro’s and cons. Lets go over some of those now.
Let’s start with the Cons:
1. Unfortunately the organization of the classes is a little off. There are 7 workshops happening during each hour block, and in most cases it’s a tough choice to decide which one you want to do. For instance, I was really interested in taking the HDR class with Ben Wilmore, the Panoramic class with Jim Divitale, and the 3D class with Bert Monroy, but they were all at the same time on the same day. Why couldn’t they spread them out? So here I am listening to the first half of Monroy’s lecture, and then quickly darting over to catch the last half of Wilmore’s class, missing important information in each workshop I’m sure.
2. The workshops are only one hour long. Not long enough to get real information. Some instructors feel the need to throw everything they know on one subject at you in that one hour and it gets to convoluted. IT’S TOO MUCH INFORMATION! Stick to 3 or 4 main points and EXPLAIN them. It does me no good when you are skipping from one topic to the next and spending 5 minutes on each. I took a class by Fay Sirkis, an amazing photo painter, and her entire lecture focused solely on retouching eyes in portraits. Because she was so thorough on one subject, I walked away from that class with her techniques embedded in my brain, like they were part of my workflow all along. Stick to only a couple topics at a time, I guarantee the people listening will be less overwhelmed and learn more no matter what skill level.
3. NOT ENOUGH GIVEAWAYS! People who attend Photoshop World are spending bookoo bucks to be there. Between paying for the conference, your membership, flight, hotel, food, products, and any leisure activities you want to do in your spare time, you are telling me that these sponsors can’t raffle off more of their products?? People love freebies, big or small, hook the people up! One Epson printer for thousands of people is not enough, and don’t give it away during the last hour on the last day. Giveaways everyday, that’s what I say!
4. Expensive, Expensive, Expensive. Although this years Photoshop World corresponded with Boston’s Restaurant Week, I found that the Sheraton offered little in the way of great incentives to stay. $200 a night closet sized room and a 7am construction wake-up call. C’mon! Photoshop World should have teamed up with some of the great restaurants and hotels to get even better deals and rates for its attendees.
5. Whoever wrote the descriptions for the classes clearly has never taken the classes. Please be more descriptive in what the class is about! A one sentence summary does not tell me anything about what the instructor will be teaching. I have limited choices, make it easy for me!
1. JAY MAISEL! Jay Maisel is one of the most inspiring photographers I have ever heard speak, and this would be the 4th time I have heard him lecture. Maisel is recognized as one of the top natural light photographers in the world using limited, if any, photo manipulation. This man sees light, studies light, and knows light. He truly has a love of photography, never leaving his house without a camera. This is what being a photographer is all about, having passion and vision. Maisel makes you believe in photography as a craft. He has had the good fortune and savvy to make it his livelyhood while maintaining his vision and integrity. Maisel will make you understand how the art and the professionalism go hand in hand. Don’t believe me? Attend one of Jay Maisel’s workshop’s and you will be inspired.
2. The conference is sponsored by Adobe, Epson, Canon, Nikon, Microsoft, Wacom, and many other widely respected companies, who in return host an expo so all NAPP members can see the newest products and get them at discount rates! (Unfortunately Canon was a no show this year, what’s up Canon?)
3. Class choices. There are basic and advanced classes, so the hobbyist and the professionals can both walk away with valuable, applicable information.
4. Free to come and go as you please. Luckily you are never stuck with one class. Say you are in a class and you realize, I have no idea what this guy is talking about, or, I will never use this tool in my life, YOU CAN LEAVE! Go to another class, see if that one is more suitable to your needs.
5. West Coast vs. East Coast. The conference is hosted twice a year, once on the east coast and once on the west coast. Too bad for the people in the middle, but I guess you can’t please everyone all the time.
6. The instructors are working professionals in the field. THEY ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT BECAUSE THEY DO IT EVERY DAY! If you have a specific question, I guarantee that they will be able to answer it for you.
7. Portfolio reviews. Make an appointment to have your worked critiqued by working professionals. Positive feedback and constructive criticism by someone other than your friends? What could be better than that!
8. After hour parties allow you to mingle with the peers in your field. This is your chance to make cross-country connections people! If you need more friends, I bet you’ll find your match here.
Instructors I recommend:
If you love photography and have the time and money, you need to check out Photoshop World at least once in your life. The conference is a PROFESSIONAL learning experience unlike any other.
Next Photoshop World:
October 1-3, 2009
Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada
See you in the fall for the west coast conference!!