I’m still recovering, as it were, from my first Photoshop World. Recovering means trying to digest and process the information and inspiration packed into my head during four days in Las Vegas. I started out taking a six hour pre-conclass (the day before the official start of the conference) on wedding photography by David Ziser. David is a renowned wedding photographer and recent author of the book, Captured by the Light. His focus for classes, tutorials, and his book is primarily how to achieve great lighting. His portfolio speaks for itself.

The plethora of amazing photographers all gathered in one place, showing their techniques and points of view is awesome. It’s also interesting to compare their approaches. Their emphasis can vary quite a lot, but in all cases, the ability to interpret, control, and record light in a manner that matches their vision is foremost. I’m still processing the insights imparted by these legends.

The conference is put on by NAPP. The NAPP president, Scott Kelby, is a musician as well as photographer and Photoshop guru. (See my links in the sidebar to both Scott and NAPP.) Scott’s band, Big Electric Cat, opened the festivities on Wednesday and provided the entertainment at the PSW party that evening. I enjoyed their music, but maybe enjoyed shooting tons of photos of the band even more. Two or three of the shots of Scott show him looking right at me, but I don’t know that he actually saw me shooting away through the lights.

With my love of theatre and doing show photos, this isn’t a huge stretch for me, but it’s super fun to see if I can catch a moment here or there, like this next shot.

Scott’s wife, Kalebra, is the lead vocalist. I have quite a few decent shots of her, but catching this glance over at Scott – the look on her face and in her eyes – this is “the shot” for the night. A moment in time captured. It’s what shooting people is about. Emotion.

As you might guess, PSW is not all about classes and work. All these artistic-types know the importance of laughing and having fun. The keynote and the party were great fun. The classes were, too, in their own way. 

Midnight Madness, a get-together Thursday night at 10 PM,  lived up to its name and the guarantee that attendees would not learn a thing about Photoshop there. I have to say I loved all the cheesy contests and shenanigans. I often think it must be a blast working on David Letterman’s or Jon Stewart’s shows in the art departments, putting together the graphics and Photoshop work, even when it appears on air for just seconds. The NAPP folks who worked on Midnight Madness must have had a blast, too.

Yes, lots of fun. I really did attend classes, too, though! I just didn’t take photos. I needed to keep my attention on the instructors to absorb all I could in the one-hour sessions. Oh, and the Expo – where the vendors hang out and where attendees like me tried not to drool too much. But I’d rather drop a few bucks there than in the slots down the hall in the casino. I like the odds. Spend carefully, and the return on the investment could be good indeed. If not financially, then artistically.