This year’s Las Vegas edition of Photoshop World was one of the best ever in my opinion. I always have loved this show. Even when I wasn’t speaking I would always try to go. I learn something new every time I go to PSW – whether or not I am teaching.
This year’s theme was Top Gun and as always, was entertaining. After playing the Top Gun video we heard a moving, transforming, inspiring talk from Brooke Shaden. Brooke is a fine art photographer who at just 26 years old, has a complete sense of who she is, what she wants and how she wants to express herself. In 15 minutes she summed up what it took me years to learn. Do the work you want to do. Don’t let the critics bring you down. Surround yourself with the right people and know that your work is not going to appeal everyone. That’s okay. Brooke’s work is simply amazing and I was lucky to spend some time with her. We will have her on our Photofocus podcast soon.
We also got a sneak peak at some cool new Photoshop features and of course, Adobe announced it’s new $9.99 monthly upgrade price for photographers.
As far as the numbers go: The attendance was up! That is an unusual response to a down economy and a market literally flooded with trade shows and conferences. WPPI and some of the other bigger shows have been in decline. But it may be the new format or just that people were exited to hear the new Adobe news, whatever the reason paid attendance was up as was floor show free attendance. The whole bunch of us amounted to 3000 folks.
The networking is always top-notch at Photoshop World. But this year I saw more people sticking with the new conference track system. You could attend a Photoshop track, Lightroom track, business track, etc. (I spoke in the business track) and all the attendees I talked to liked the new system. Of course Scott Kelby and crew being the kind folks they are, you could jump from track to track with no penalty.
I did two sessions, both late in the day (which usually means they will be poorly attended) and was pleasantly surprised. My Twitter class on Tuesday was well attended and my class on pricing, negotiating and selling your photography was standing room only.
The attendees were very engaged, attentive and responsive. It made my job easier.
Scott Kelby’s team was as gracious as ever. The staff couldn’t be more friendly or helpful. And I must say as one of the lucky few to be a part of what Kelby calls “The Dream Team of Instructors” the Scott and his staff probably do the best job of any national conference when it comes to making the instructors comfortable.
The show floor seemed busy every time I was there. If you don’t think there is a future in attaching a GoPro or other small action camera to a quadra copter and flying it, then you’re waaaaaay off. Those folks seemed to have the biggest crowds every time they did a demo. This is especially impressive because the pretty models being photographed in the back of the room are usually the biggest draw. But I think the copter guys held their own and stayed as busy.
Epson, Canon, Adobe, OnOne etc all had booths and were showing off great stuff. The Wacom people had all sorts of cool new gadgets including Windows 8 or Android tablets that were designed for photo editing.
There was as usual, plenty of education going on down on the show floor as well. Even people who didn’t pay for conference tickets but just came to the trade show got free classes. Some of my favorite photographers and friends were doing demonstrations on the floor including our own Rich Harrington. Bill Fortney, who I consider to be one of the greatest living landscape photographers gave a moving presentation at the Kelby Training booth.
When I look at the work and dedication that goes into hosting and running one of these events I am reminded that because the Kelby Media Group, their sponsors, their staff and those who spent time trying to help, educate and inspire; lives were changed for the better.
Every successful photographer is only successful because he/she stands on the shoulders of those who went before and who shared their experience and knowledge. It’s a special thing and I was lucky to be part of it.