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Photoshop World 2014: A Recap

By David Salahi on September 7th 2014

Photoshop World 2014

Photoshop World, which ended Friday, was an exciting mix of learning, networking and inspiration. If you didn’t make it to the conference, you can watch the keynote here. There wasn’t much in the way of new product announcements, but one highlight for me was Samsung’s new ultra-high definition (UHD) line of monitors. These 4K monitors actually display a resolution of 3840 X 2160 which is twice the resolution (on each axis) of a standard HD monitor. That’s great, but what really impressed me was the fact that the 32-inch model (U32D970Q) is said to display 99.5% of the Adobe RGB color space. I couldn’t find that specific claim for the 28-inch model on the Samsung website, but it, like the 32-incher, is rated to display a billion colors. The sample photos on display in the Samsung booth showed an extraordinary amount of detail.

Samsung UHD 4K monitor

Great Sessions with Lots of Info

The sessions I attended were mostly excellent with just two that I rated “only” good (and one of those was due to equipment problems). With a crew of highly accomplished photographers like these who are also good teachers, it’s hard to go wrong.

Even the sessions in the vendor booths were quite good. I sat in on sessions at the Adobe, Wacom and Peachpit booths and found those sessions well done and very informative—not marketing hype. In fact, I was so impressed with the talk given by Peachpit author Scott Valentine, that I immediately purchased his two books.

The Art of Photography

The Luxor in Las Vegas

Photo by Jim Divitale – Used With Permission

On Thursday evening, there was a very special session titled The Art of Photography which featured the work of about seven of the instructors. The slideshows included a diverse range of photographic styles, all artfully captured and processed. There were lots of interesting stories from the seasoned pros on stage. Some of the stories were inspirational and others were instructive.

Everyone got a laugh from Joe McNally‘s account of a casual conversation he once had with a grocery store checkout clerk. He related an incident from a time earlier in his career when he felt he had achieved some level of success. He was talking up some of his accomplishments to the clerk and he dropped the fact that he had traveled 100,000 miles the previous year. The clerk blithely replied, “Oh, really? Who do you drive for?” The story was a good reminder for us to take our work more seriously and ourselves less seriously.


Honing Your Craft

Comparison is the thief of joy. You will lose the joy of creating if you compare your work to others. – Pete Collins

A theme I heard expressed repeatedly throughout the conference was the importance of developing one’s own style, of pursuing the specific type of photography that makes your heart sing. In his The Designing Photographer session Corey Barker emphasized the importance of experimenting, playing and just trying things to see how they work.

Take the Photos You Want to Take

In the closing session of the conference, Lindsay Adler recounted a portfolio review she experienced early in her career. When the reviewer told her there wasn’t a single photo in her portfolio worth keeping, she was crushed. She said she was told, “You took the photos you thought you should take, not the ones you wanted to take.” She took this advice to heart and began to develop her own unique vision and has since achieved much success.

Work the Shot

Roberto Valenzuela, another of the closing session speakers, had some things to say on the theme of taking work seriously. He also had some things to say about play and experimentation. He gave examples of how he has spent long hours doing self-assignments. One self-assignment was to find an interesting photo within the confines of a long white hallway. By working the shot aggressively and applying some creativity, he was able to come up with an interesting photo. This kind of relentless practice has allowed Roberto to quickly solve problems and elevate his art to an impressive level.

Now, after years of practice Roberto has written the book on practice: Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs. In the foreword, Skip Cohen writes “This is no ordinary ‘how-to’ photography book. This is about learning to train your eyes, your heart and your mind.” I’ve got my copy and am looking forward to working through it.

Russell Brown at Adobe Booth at Photoshop World

Recharge, Refresh, Restart

This was my first Photoshop World though not my first experience at a conference of this kind. I find that attending conferences like this one is an essential part of my ongoing development as a creative photographer/artist. A good conference will feed your head with lots of useful information, help you stay up to date with current trends and technology, allow you to connect with others who are doing great work and provide inspiration. I found all of those and more at Photoshop World 2014.

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Dave Salahi is a photographer, Photoshop artist and Photoshop instructor in Southern California. In a previous life Dave was a software developer and still does some website development work. His website, The Photo Performance, features Photoshop tutorials and other photography info.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Henry Heerschap

    This was my second PSW. My first was Vegas two years ago. Just to respond to several of the comments. Amen about the seating. Those chairs Mandalay Bay has are ridiculously narrow. I ended up sitting on the outside edges just so I could put some space around me.
    The Expo – yeah. It was smaller and I was sorely disappointed that Westcott didn’t show up with their models and continuous lighting setups. I’m guessing that there were two many shows such as Photokina and PhotoPlus for many of the vendors to add PSW to their schedule. I was really surprised that Nikon didn’t have a presence on the Expo floor. They did have a room elsewhere where they did free camera cleanings and the like. Maybe Canon’s big sponsership play at KelbyOne had an impact.
    They didn’t announce it, but several of the Kelby staff confirmed that they are eliminating the east coast PSW, consolidating it to one event next year, held in August in Las Vegas. I suspect that’s at least partly in response to the lack of vendor support.
    Maybe they’ll eventually move the show to spring when you can actually go outside without melting.

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  2. Lars Vonderschmitt

    The 28″ Samsung monitor will suck. It has a TN Panel instead of an IPS one.

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    • David Salahi

      Lars, thanks for pointing that out. That does seem a poor choice for what is ostensibly a high-end device.

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  3. adam bucci

    you are right david, i meant to say adobe’s ceo, narayan’s absence.

    i was hoping he’d be there because i wanted to ask him why there are no senior techs at adobe’s support after two pm west coast time. i spent three hours one friday afternoon having to endure someone at adobes support center who had no idea how to help me.

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  4. adam bucci

    one more thing. adobe’s absence at the keynote was jarring.

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    • David Salahi

      Adam, Adobe was there in the person of Julianne Kost. You can rewatch the keynote if you missed her talk. Click the link in the second sentence of the article. Julianne’s portion starts 13 minutes into the video.

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  5. adam bucci

    this was my fifth time attending the conference and 13th time going to the expo since 2001 and i hate to say, but this was not a conference or expo to remember. i’ll start with the expo which seemed to be runnig on reduced hours this year and a pretty thin lineup of exhibitors. some of the tentpole exhibitors such as westcott stayed away- their presence was very missed – and hoodman shipped their iconic inflatable booth to germany.
    there were fewer expo classes, and too many vendors selling snake oil back remedies. at least sigma and tamron were there, with sigma having a model – who also worked their booth at wppi – for the attendees to photograph. there was no photoshop challenge booth this year, one of the more entertaining booths at expos past. its good that they weren’t charging for the expo, though it seemed well attended.

    now to the conference. first i have to say, i thoroughly enjoyed all but one of the sessions i attended – the bad egg was about outdoor lighting but about 20 minutes or so from the end it morphed into an ‘infomercial’ with the presenter actually selling his wares from the stage.
    while there were as many classes as previous years, there was one track entirely devoted to wedding photography. thats great for those that shoot weddings, but one sixth of the sessions offered?
    some of the sessions offered seemed to be reruns from previous years.
    again i have to say, i enjoyed the sessions i attended, though i have to apologise to rc for walking out on one of his classes – it wasn’t him or the subject, i realised i needed to learn more about lighting this time around and went to that session.
    so those are my thoughts about the expo and conference. other things that not only i remarked upon were the extra tight coach seating in the halls and the glitches with audio and video that hadn’t been worked out prior to the event.
    as for midnight madness, while it was fun, i have to say, please don’t do wheel of fortune again, position a camera so we can see what going on with the beer pong, and make it more engaging for those not picked to play in the contests – sifting there in the extra tight coach seating is not a great way to spend at an event thats supposed to be fun. kudos thought to whatsisname from and hunts for making the wait to get in entertaining.

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  6. Andrew Van Arb

    Really wish I could have gone, I live in Vegas. Sadly I had other commitments. Sounds like a great source of networking and info!

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  7. Jay Protacio

    I’ve been to several Photoshop Worlds (enough so that I’m now considered “alumni”), and they are a whirl wind of information. I always go to each class ready to take notes on whatever what is being taught, but find myself just so caught up in what the speaker is saying that my notebook is blank and the end. It’s not uncommon to see the instructors on the show floor between classes talking with other conference goers without having an ego. The big message I always get when I go is don’t be afraid to try or fail (because it’s almost a guarantee you’re gonna fail at least once, if not more).

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    • David Salahi

      One nice thing about Photoshop World is that they give you a thick book containing all the session notes, at least all the ones submitted by the instructors in advance. And there is also a downloadable PDF which you can carry on your iPad, search within, etc.

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  8. Chuck Eggen

    Love the Joe McNally story…. “Who do you drive for?”

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