Editor’s Note: The cheapest rate for Photoshop World ends August 5. Click here to save $150 off the full price. We’ll be holding a get together for Photofocus readers.

Photoshop World Conference will mark it’s 30th event this September in Las Vegas. I’ve gone to every event except one. I found myself reminiscing on my first conference when I heard Photofocus was giving away 10 tickets to the event. I quickly listed several reasons why you should attend, then I decided to make it entertaining. I wrote a self-reflecting story on my Photoshop and photography path that Scott Kelby and the Photoshop World Conferences paved for me. If you want to be entertained, read the whole story. If you don’t have time, I’ve summed up my favorite reasons for attending. I suggest you read the story. Somewhere in the article I show you how you can win a free conference pass and an extra surprise!

In a Nutshell

  • Personally, I learned more about Photography and Photoshop in 3 days than I did in 7 self taught years.
  • Meet and talk to the authors who write the books you learn from.
  • Sign up for a portfolio review and spend one on one time with an instructor critiquing your work.
  • Network with others to open up possible job opportunities.
  • Meet Exhibitors on the Expo floor that are key players in the market.
  • Collaborate with fellow artist and build a friendship
  • Take a break and have fun at the After Hours Party and Midnight Madness.
  • Get inspired!

First a little Satire

I missed the 2004 San Francisco event. I like to say it was an “Executive Order” that prevented me from attending, that was the year I photographed President George W. Bush. That excuse would come back to punish me that same year at the September event in Orlando. I attended the Orlando event but it was cut short by a Hurricane. Again, I like to exaggerate and say the Lord sent the famous Florida Hurricane Train; Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne, as a punishment for me not attending San Francisco. Now, I can not confirm nor deny this is true but you have to admit, since attending the following 20 events, we haven’t had a major catastrophe. Coincidence… I think not. I’ll be at the 2014 Las Vegas event.

The path that led me to Photoshop World… I bet you can relate.

In 1999 I spent the majority of my time coaching and training the East Coast Karate Demonstration Team. Our team just finished an impressive season but at a cost. I was burnt out and discouraged with the politics and direction the tournament circuit was heading, I missed the old days. You attended an event and walk away excited because you gained new knowledge, created long lasting friendships and was inspired to increase your skills. Looking for something to fill my void, I focused my energy on mastering Photoshop and photography,

One day seminars turned into 29 Photoshop Worlds

I took a few one day seminars from Scott. I was impressed with his teaching style and to top it off, he was genuine and real. We quickly became friends. He said if I liked the one day seminar, I’ll love the new 3 day Photoshop World Conference. I learned more in that 3 day conference than I did being self taught for 7 years. I was able to talk to instructors that wrote the books I learned from. During the breaks, they were very approachable. Willing to answer questions. Kelby shared the stage with an impressive team. He introduced me to one of Nikon’s founding Ambassadors Vincent Versace. Versace is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the art and science of digital photography. I was dumbfounded. I showed him my work and he critiqued it. To this day, he has been a great source of inspiration and a person I can turn to when I get in a creative funk.

After the first Photoshop World conference, I couldn’t wait for the next one. It was a full year away. I started working on projects using the knowledge I learned. I couldn’t wait to show the instructors and get their feedback. I attended the conference and learned even more. Another year went by and I started to improve my skills plus I met a lot of new friends. I wanted more. This full year in-between conferences was killing me until Kelby announced there will be 2 Photoshop World Conferences that year. One on the East Coast and the other on the West Coast. Sweet, only 6 months in-between conferences.

This was the void I was missing from the martial arts circuit. Photoshop World had me excited, I gained new knowledge, and created friendships. I was inspired again. I met with my new network of friends every six months. We collaborated on projects together. Some projects led to great job opportunities. I’m writing for Photofocus because of my connection with Richard Harrington through Photoshop World. His guidance and friendship over the years has been irreplaceable and it started at Photoshop World.