Having gained much from my visit to Photoshop World in July 2016, I decided to attend the 2017 event which was being held in Orlando, Florida during the Easter 2017 holiday period. This was partly because it is my last opportunity to attend as a student for $149 which represents an 80% plus discount on usual attendee price. Of course there is also the flight and accommodation to be covered but nonetheless I feel it represents good value considering the quality of speakers, workshops and information on offer.
The event is relentlessly commercial in nature which I find complements rather than conflicts with my academic studies and feel it provides a valuable insight into commercial photography at all levels.
Julieanne Kost, Principal Digital Imaging Evangelist, Adobe Systems was the keynote speaker and gave an entertaining and informative overview of the latest enhancements to the Adobe creative cloud suite of products. Julieanne also provided an insightful view of what Adobe consider coming trends in image processing. Perhaps unsurprisingly there is an ever greater focus on the editing of images whilst mobile, to this end Adobe are putting a lot of effort into improving the integration between mobile version products and the mainstay products such that wherever changes are made they are automatically synchronised.
The other slight surprise was the sheer number of applications included in Creative Cloud suite which includes a number of niche applications such as Portfolio which are included free with a subscription which I wasn’t aware of. Whilst a student I have taken advantage of the educational discounts on offer, now that my studies are ending I have opted for the Photography plan at approx £10 a month which basically gives access to Photoshop and Lightroom.
It was a very busy three days with 9 different streams to follow including, Photography, Lighting, Creativity, Photoshop A & B as well as numerous workshops on specific topics such as a live car shoot with renowned car photography master Tim Wallace.
A comprehensive workbook was provided and the format of the days was a series of parallel events / workshops / seminars which you were free to attend as you saw fit. My only regret is that there were often conflicting sessions and in feedback I did suggest they duplicate some sessions to give everyone the opportunity to see all speakers.
Particular highlights for me were :-
Lindsay Adler a New York based fashion photographer. Lindsay did a number of lectures including sessions on lighting, social media for photographers and posing. All were relevant and informative, what I particularly like about the Photoshop World speakers is that they genuinely seem happy to share information so in terms of knowledge transfer it is more like an academic session. Other events I have attended with professionals tend to not quite deliver the actual techniques required to achieve the same results.
Her session on posing was particularly useful, based on her recently published book on the subject and I was fortunate to be able to obtain a copy before the on site book shop sold out which I subsequently had Lindsay sign.
Frank Doorhof is a Dutch Photographer based in Emmeloord, North of Amsterdam. Again another very experienced speaker. He focuses on creative images using simple techniques and props – such as getting his wife to breathe on the lens to create the effect of smoke in a fashion shot. He also has a “thing” about not cleaning lenses, stating that any dust on the lenses will not show in most images but when shooting into the light it can create an interesting effect.
Scott Kelby is the Chairman and CEO of KelbyOne an online photographer training provider. KelbyOne organise and deliver the Photshop World events in cooperation with Adobe. I first encountered Scott as an author of books on Photography, in fact he has authored more than 80 titles which have collectively sold more than 5 million copies. Apart from his writing, busy company and being an award wining photographer in his own right he then demonstrated his musical prowess at the event dinner by joining the professional band on stage and accompanying them for 3 songs, first on drums, then on guitar and finally on keyboards. Somewhat of a polymath methinks.
There were many more useful sessions and it will take some time to assimilate all the information, including the post event downloads, provided. My only regret was the timing was slightly unfortunate being so close to the end of year at Bath Spa but nonetheless an extremely useful event and I felt time well spent.
There were a couple of other useful things going on which I benefited from, Canon Professional Services were on site offering a free sensor clean which would normally cost around £50 in the UK however the real issue I have had recently is that my Canon flashgun is often not recognised by my camera which is a known issue with the particular combination of camera and flash I own – namely a 5D MkIII camera and 580 EX MkII flashgun.
As a result I have tended to avoid situations where flash, other than the studio variety, was required. I had been quoted around £100 in the UK to upgrade the flashgun to the required specification but the CPS crew said they had the required part – a new foot / contact plate for the flashgun and did it free of a charge.I was delighted with this outcome, perhaps another example of the difference in customer service levels you frequently encounter in the US compared to the UK.
The upgraded flash has worked flawlessly since, for example proving very useful at the Bath Spa Sparks Celebration event which was held in a particularly gloomy room which meant that using flash was essential to obtaining acceptable images.
Lastly I won a copy of Perfectly Clear photo editing software by answering a question thrown out at a presentation “Whats the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer?” my tongue in cheek answer was “Great photographers only show you their best images!” anyway it was deemed good enough to receive the licence key for the software which was subsequently sent by email.
The trip wasn’t all work as I had a free day Sunday before returning to the UK on the Monday. I managed to tick one more thing off my bucket list by taking an air boat ride courtesy of Kissamee Swamp Tours on Lake Kissamee which although located close to Orlando is in 36,000 acres of protected wetlands with very little sign of human habitation.The variety of birds to see is simply stunning in addition to the numerous alligators Florida is renowned for and I managed to get some half decent wildlife images.