I was privileged enough to be able to attend Photoshop World in Orlando Florida on April 16th – 19th 2013. It is worth some time to reflect on my experience to provide insight to others who may be trying to decide about the conference. I am approaching the review trying to be as neutral as possible. I am a beginning level photographer but a very avid user of Photoshop for Graphics design. I attended the conference to be able to learn about photography from individuals who understand photographs on a professional level.
Summary Photoshop World 7 of out 10
It was a good conference for a teacher but probably not a repeat because it is highly focused on individuals who already understand photography. As a teacher new to photography I was a little out of my element and didn’t know too many people. The information was relevant and will be used but in the end it just wasn’t quite right for a teacher. If you are a photographer by trade however it is a must go and it happens twice a year. The conference was well organized and easy to navigate once I found the right concourse at the convention center. I could not be happier with the staff and trainers they were pros in every aspect!
April 16th – Pre-conference Photo Safari with Moose Peterson: 8 out of 10
I chose this pre-conference initially because it was some time in the actual field taking pictures. Moose was the right person for this situation. He had many connections to Fantasy of Flight which was great! All the planes were pulled out of the hangar for us and setup on the grass. The sky was cloudy, the temperature was great, and he even had re-enactors come in to pose. There was help available from his two son’s who were very knowledgeable. Also Frank Doorhof came with us and provided some additional knowledge. The group of photographers was small and very friendly. The expertise was very high, all were helpful and the weather was great. I felt like it may have been a little long as we were there from 1:30-6:30 maybe about 1 hour less would have been perfect. We were all pretty wiped out by the heat which contributed to our anxiety to return. Make sure you have water and a couple snacks. In the end I would rate this as a 8 out of 10. Make it just a bit shorter, add some onsite shade/water (Or come prepared) and just a little more time in a classroom talking about the camera.
Opening Session April 17th: 6 out of 10
I’ve attended many opening sessions in my life, this one was not a bad session but it was not riveting. It started with a video they made at the NAPP headquarters and the used the Top Gun Theme. It was a good way to introduce the teachers of the sessions and see their personalities. Adobe’s Julianna Kost shared some sneak peaks into Photoshop and they gave out some awards to some very deserving people. The major down fall of the session is that it didn’t get me feeling super excited about the days ahead. For this the session earned a 6 out of 10.
Work Shops April 17th-19 7 out of 10
The workshops I went to were good for the most part. I attended one with Terry White about his Lightroom workflow and I was completely stunned at how amazing it was. By far the best session I have ever attended at any conference. Without fail I learned at every session I attended without putting forth very much effort. The speakers were the pros and it was obvious from the beginning of the session. I bought a speed pass which turned out to be the best purchase I made fro the conference. It allowed for seating in the first two rows that had tables not only chairs. I was able to put my laptop on the desk and follow along but there was no power so charge up! I was pretty disappointed that there were no computer labs to do training in. The tracks the offered were good: Lightroom, Graphic Design, Business, General Photoshop, Lighting, Photoshop for Photographers, and Photography Technique. I also liked that they had a workbook that had notes and instruction from most of the presenters. The work book is about 500 pages in length and a little heavy. Many people carried them around for the conference but Mine stayed in the hotel. All in all the conference workshops were good workshops, they were focused on a specific topic and didn’t deviate too far from it, you were given what you were told.
Photoshop After Hours Party BB King’s April 17th 6 out of 10
I give this one a six instead of my original five only because Scott Kelby has some mad skills on the piano and Guitar. The after hours party tickets were $70 and provided a very prominent exclusive area in Orlando as well as a nice buffet. They had a band playing comprised mainly of Scott Kelby’s family which was extremely talented. I think had it not been my first time and I felt a little more comfortable it could have scored a 7.
Expo April 17-19 5 out of 10
I was expecting a little larger Expo having attended Adobe MAX, ISTE, and TCEA. The key players were there; Adobe, Manfroto, Cannon, Epson…. I was kind of surprised that the conference didn’t have workshops going on during the Expo hours. I’m sure that was an effort to make sure the attendees went to the Expo. There were all kinds of trainings in the Expo but it was just a different setting from the workshops. I was expecting to see some pretty cheap pricing but short of the Cannon 60D being sold for $650 ($700 online) I didn’t see too much that kept my interest. I spent 3 hours of the first day in the hall and that was about it.
Midnight Madness Thursday 18th 7 out of 10
Midnight Madness was fun because everyone was just having fun. The hosts were relaxed and there was no expectations for the time we were spending together. There were games and my favorite part “Things to do in Photoshop to people you don’t like” There was some cool stuff shared and then there were doughnuts for everyone. They had an on the spot photo challenge where teams had only 5 min to get a perfect shot. I ranked this one a 7 because it was fun and a chance to relax.
As a final recap I’m glad I went. I had a chance to have some actual face time with the pro’s and it was good. I learned how my camera works and I think I can get a pretty good shot now.