The Digital Photo Guy

Photoshop World – Friday 10/3/09

by on Oct.03, 2009, under Articles, Photo Editing, Photoshop Elements, Schedule, Webcast, Workshops

Score, Again!

I snagged several extra Photoshop World workbooks for drawings to be held during the Nov 14 webinar with Rob Sheppard. These workbooks contain class materials from virtually every class offered during PSW this week. That’s over 800 pages of material covering everything from Fixing Common Image Problems by Dave Cross to Graphic Secrets: Totally Text by Lesa Snider to The Perfect Panoramic by Jim DiVitale.

For me, yesterday was more about recharging the batteries and gaining new inspiration than pushing sliders, tweaking colors and adjusting angles. For inspiration, Jay Maisel is at the top of my list. He’s an oddball (synonym for New York photographer) but his ability to see while the rest of us simply look is amazing. His photos of what, at first glance, appear to be everyday, mundane objects is nothing short of brilliant. If B&H had a “Jay Maisel Eye” in their catalog, the owners would be multi-billionaires. Even his photos of kids, which rarely do anything for me, inspire and amaze me. He’s not a splashy, entertaining presenter but he doesn’t need to be, his photos speak for themselves.

Fay Sirkis presented The Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul. The beginning was slow and I was concerned when she said she was going to show us a technique that she applied to every photo. It turns out she’s a 1 trick pony but it’s a huge pony. I was impressed at the breadth and depth of information she was able to pack into a single tip. Her one technique had more product extensions than a MacDonald’s hamburger!

Jack Reznicki was, as usual, full of great tips, tricks and hints but, also as usual, he’s a photog, not an instructor. He was all over the place and it would have been difficult for less experienced photographers to follow. I had to laugh at the people using camera phones to try to capture his exact set-up instead of understanding the concepts.

Joe McNally was my favorite. He most reminded me of my own style: immediately useful tips and info presented in a rapidfire, humorous manner that always kept you on the edge of your seat. I really liked that Joe used V as his model instead of the typical, svelte, 20-something blonde. V was about 350 lbs of muscle and looked like a bouncer at a Las Vegas bar. He was amazingly agile and could leap into the air on cue for McNally.

There was only one disappointment during the day. It was obvious the instructor really didn’t know how to express themselves and convey their ideas. The one thing that surprises me is the lack of preparation most photographers put into their presentations. They don’t seem to understand that presenting an instructional lecture is a completely different animal. I’m also amazed at the frequency of equipment failures.

Today is slow until noon so I’ll be scrounging in the Expo area again. I’m really looking forward to 2 sessions with Ben Willmore, The Newest in HDR and Mastering Curves. PSW wraps up at 5PM this afternoon but a lot of it is, “Rah-rah, sign up for next year!”

One final point of philosophy. After one attends a number of these conferences, it becomes obvious that the tools change and the techniques get better but the desired results are always the same. We’re always looking for ways to get the most out of our art. Bottom line, it’s useful to come to these conference once in a while but don’t drink the Kool-Aid. It’s not Scott Kelby’s art, it’s YOUR art. If you find a way that works for you, don’t let the “next big thing” seduce you into trying something just for the sake of trying something new. This falls under my favorite Dr. Mits Tomita saying, “Keep an open mind but not so open that your brains fall out.”

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