You aren’t? Well let me see if I can change your mind. I have been attending PSW for the past 6 years and it is bar-none the best training experience I have ever had. So let’s run down the top 5 things that make Photoshop World the must-attend training conference for anyone that has anything to do with photoshop and digital imaging.
#1 – The Pre-Cons*
Before the conference even begins for the masses, you have an opportunity to sign up for some amazing learning sessions and workshops that alone would be worth the trip. There is a photo safari with legendary shooters, Moose Peterson and Joe McNally…Oops, that one is sold out already. I haven’t had the chance to attend one of these but I’m going to get off my lazy butt and do it in the future. (Don’t fret, there’s more chances to learn from these guys later in the week).
If you are a Canon shooter, you don’t want to miss the Canon Live-Studio with Eddie Tapp and Jack Reznicki, the On Location Wedding Shoot with David Ziser (Damn, that one is sold out too!), the Epson Print Academy (ok, still time to sign up for this one), and 8 other classes from the masters of photography and photoshop. By the way, these aren’t the 1-hour sessions that you can attend during the conference. No my friend, these sessions are 4 full hours long. Guaranteed to make your brain hurt before the conference even begins.
*All Pre-Cons have an additional charge (but they are well worth it).
#2 – The Conference Classes
To me, this is the crown jewel of the entire conference. This is what makes this conference stand apart from any other. It’s the scheduling of the classes, how they are broken into topics, and how you get to tailor your training to best suit your needs. It is a giant buffet of Photoshop learning. I’ll take one of those, two of those, one from here, and first and seconds from the dessert table. Mmmmm, tasty.
So here are the different tracks:
Creativity, Photoshop Techniques, Photoshop Design, Photoshop & Digital Photography, Productivity, Photoshop & Digital Photo Techniques, Adobe Web Tools, Digital Photography Live Studio, Lightroom, Professional Photography, Motion Graphics, Automating Photoshop, Print/Prepress, and Artistic Photoshop. That’s 14 different tracks. That’s not a list of the classes, those are the TRACKS! Each track has multiple classes throughout the day for a total of 87 classes. That’s actually more selections than most buffets I have been to (I really should have eaten dinner before writing this). And if that’s not enough, you need to see who is teaching these classes. This is a who’s who from the world of photography, graphics, video, and digital art. I could throw out some big names but… oh what the heck, how about Scott Kelby, Jay Maisel, Ben Wilmore, Bert Monroy, Kevin Ames, Vincent Versace, Dave Cross, Joe Glyda, Jeff Schwewe, Frank Cricchio, Fay Sirkis, and many, many more. These are some of the most ground breaking and influential people in the business, all there to share with you (and a few thousand others). It’s just silly bazilly! There is a downside to all of this and that is that you can’t be in multiple classes at the same time so you need to plan out your day carefully. But here’s the best part, if you get into a class and decide it’s just not for you, you can get up and go jump into another one. There is no sign-up, no pre-registration, you just walk in.
#3 – The Tradeshow
When I first started attending PSW conferences the tradeshow was just a little way to kill an hour or two around lunch. There were your usual vendors selling training materials, plug-ins, and other Photoshop related items. Boy how things have changed. Last year’s tradeshow was their best ever and will probably pale to this year’s show. The folks at NAPP have worked hard to make this part of the conference as valuable as the training. All of the industry heavy-hitters will be there including: Adobe, Epson, Canon, Nikon, and Microsoft. You will be sure to find all of the latest gear for your photography, lighting, printing, and all around imaging needs. Need software for your imaging? Chances are you will find it in this show. If I was going to design a tradeshow that would meet my needs, this would be it. You can also be sure to find the latest and greatest books on all things imaging at the in-show bookstore featuring the latest releases from all of your favorite technology authors. Guess what else you’ll find there? That’s right, even more training. There are multiple educational stages set up throughout the show where you can sit in on even more classes. Talk about your head exploding.
#4 – THE BOOK
The book is what you get when you pick up your badge before you head off for your first class. This thing is like every photoshop book you could buy all rolled into one. That’s because it is full of the show notes from every single class being taught in all the tracks. Every lesson laid out for you step-by-step just as the instructor has gone through it in class. So let’s say that you wanted to go to Matt Kloskowski’s Top 10 Photoshop Techniques class but it’s running at the same time as Dave Cross’ Photoshop Fixes class. No problem because you already have all of the material from both classes right there in your hot little hand. This book is fantastic and is highly coveted. People actually sell these things on eBay for big bucks. It is a resource all on its own.
#5 – The Extras
The folks over at NAPP go the extra mile to see that your PSW experience is as entertaining and enjoyable as it is educational. To start off the conference, there is the keynote. This is the event that usually sets the tempo for the rest of the show. Each show has a specific theme. Last year’s was a Mo-Town theme and the keynote was incredible with the Photoshop Guys playing the role of a Mo-Town R&B group being honored at an awards show. There was great choreography and singing and, well, you just had to see it to believe it. There’s also usually a speech by someone at Adobe who always gives a little sneak peek at what is coming down the pipe. Last year was the preview of the online version of Photoshop. You just never know with those guys. The keynote is also where the awards are given for this year’s Guru Awards as well as the announcement of the Photoshop Hall of Fame nominees.
Did I happen to mention the free portfolio review in the tradeshow? You can sign up to have your portfolio reviewed by the likes of Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Helen Glassman, Vincent Versace, David Ziser, and others. And it’s 100% FREE! You have to sign up early because slots are limited but how great is that?
Your badge also gets you free entry into the after-hours event, The Art of Digital Photography. This is a phenominal event that consists of a discussion panel comprised of some of the world’s most celebrated masters, and the true living legends of photography, including Jay Maisel, Vincent Versace, John Paul Caponigro, Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Joe Glyda, and Jim DiVitale. If you are a photographer who truly wants to be inspired, you won’t want to miss this event. It is always the talk of the show the next day.
And finally, if you are one of the lucky ones, you will act early enough to buy your ticket to the after-hours party or snag one of the Midnight Madness passes (the party costs $49 bucks but unfortunately it’s sold out but Midnight Madness is free and they will announce when they will be giving away tickets) Ok, so the party is a no-go unless you already snagged a ticket and it’s understandable. Scott Kelby’s band, Big Electric Cat, will be playing and they just plain ROCK! Midnight Madness is still a possibility and let me tell you, if you can snag a ticket, don’t hesitate. It is the most fun you can have in Orlando without needing a lawyer…and they guarantee that you won’t learn anything about Photoshop.
So there you go, 5 great reasons to get off the fence and go buy your ticket. Oh, wait, there’s one more reason to go…
#6 I’ll Be There
If that doesn’t convince you then nothing will 🙂
So how do you sign up? I knew you would ask me that. Head on over to the Photoshop World website (click here) and just click on the Register Now link. You can thank me when you run into me at the conference.