This is why you should go to Photoshop World

This is why you should go to Photoshop World

If you have been living under a rock and you have never heard about Photoshop World before, take a moment and sit down, because I’m about to tell you all about the event that changed my life as a photographer.

Photoshop World is a three day Conference where you immerse yourself in a magical creative world where you can spend all your time learning and talking about punishing pixels, flashing, shooting and snapping at people. There are around 100 classes about Photography, lighting, retouching, compositing, all things Photoshop, Lightroom and Design, taught by the greatest professionals in the industry. Besides being a fantastic event to learn a lot of new tricks to add to your bag, it is also a wonderful place to network and make new friends.

When I started photography at the end of 2011, I did it merely as a hobby, and I stumbled upon a bunch of amazing creative human beings on G+. It was the time when G+ was the place to be for photographers, and the more I learned about photography, the more obsessed I became about it, and the more I wanted to be surrounded by people with the same mindset. Getting to know other artists, listening to their stories, how they started and how they became who they are now is so inspiring. So many of the people I’ve met at PSW have become my close friends. PSW has also become some kind of an accountability meeting where we get to sit down and reflect on our accomplishments and failures since the last Conference and talk about the direction we are taking with our craft and business and the lessons we’ve learned.

One of the greatest memories I have from first Photoshop World was assisting to Alan Hess and Scott Diussa’s Concert Photography Pre-Con. It was a hands-on workshop, and in the end, we got to photograph a live band. That band was Scott and Kalebra’s band, Big Electric Cat.


If you have the chance, assist to one of the Pre-Cons. They are held the day before the Conference starts. They are hands-on, small group workshops and they are usually held in fantastic locations. These Pre-cons sold out fast so keep an eye on the website for the day the tickets go on sale.

2016 was the third photoshop world I assisted. I wasn’t sure about going. It was a pretty rough year for me; I lost the father of my daughter, my daughter was diagnosed with all kind of food allergies that landed us in the ER way too many times. I was depressed, my anxiety was on the roof, it was one thing after the other, so much, I started to fear going out of the house. But 2016 was also the year I took the leap and decided to pursue photography full time. I thought the best thing I could do was going to Photoshop World, learn new tricks, network and find some inspiration. I went ahead and made my travel arrangements. But, two days before leaving for PSW I was in my car with my two kids stopped in a red light, and a huge truck came full blast at us and rear-ended us and pushing us to the car on front. I remember I was terrified to look back at my kids in fear they were hurt. I thought 2016 wanted to take everyone I love from me. Thankfully we left the place unscratched, and all I wanted to do was getting in a bubble with my kids and never come out of it, but instead, I went home and did what I do every time I’m overwhelmed. I grabbed my camera and tried to make something. So, I start pulling the chain of my backdrop system, and one of the weights got stuck and tangled, broke from the chain and fell from the very top straight to my foot breaking three of my toes. Oh, fudge! At that point, I seriously started considering wrapping my kids and my self with bubble wrap and canceling my trip to Photoshop World. But, my family and friends kept insisting on me going and taking time for myself. I ended up agreeing with them even though I was convinced something terrible was going to happen. I’m so glad I went. 2016 was hard on me, but it also showed me the kindness and support of everybody in the photography industry. There was not a moment at PSW Vegas I didn’t feel loved, supported and inspired. I came back home full of energy, with lots of new friends, fantastic memories and determined to go after my dreams and always support and give back to this amazing photography community.

Two weeks after coming back from Vegas I was contacted to write my first article for Photoshop User Magazine. Since then I’ve been writing for them religiously.

PSW 2017 was a blast, it was the start of our helicopter tour PSW tradition, with my new friends Dave Williams and Peter Treadway, two obnoxious brits I met at the conference the year before, and who I’m excited to be visiting on their side of the pond in a couple of months.

Then, last year everything changed. I didn’t only assist to Photoshop World, but this time I was asked to design a Shooting Bay on the Expo floor. I was over the moon about the opportunity, and I went out of my way to make something epic and memorable for everybody. Not only I was pleased to have put together a glorious shooting bay for the attendees, but it was also a transformative moment in my career. Right after Photoshop World I was invited as a guest on many podcasts, my work was published everywhere, I became a brand ambassador for Platypod, 3 Legged Thing, BlackRapid and Spiffy Gear. I was a guest on the Grid three times. I wrote articles for many websites. It hasn’t stopped since then and everything I dreamed about doing as a photographer is happening now. I’m teaching workshops, not only in the US but I’m also teaching overseas. I’ll be doing two presentations at The Photography show in Birmingham in the UK. I’m leading a Flickr sponsored Photowalk in Paris with those obnoxious brits I love that I mentioned before and did I also tell you we’ve been cooking a photography competition game called Cropped hosted by me and it will be on Kelbyone? It’s been magical, and it all started at Photoshop World.

Last year a couple of months before the conference I met a photographer I’ve been following on Instagram for a while. We got together to hang out, talk and collaborate on a photo shoot. I love being around creative people of all sorts. People who can you openly talk about your weird creative ideas, your dreams without calling you unrealistic, and passionate people who create art just for the sake of it, and that understand the joy of sitting long hours in front of the computer pushing pixels. This friend I’m talking about is Kirk Marsh. We talked for hours the day we met, and I asked him if he was going to Photoshop World. He said he didn’t know much about it, and he was going to look into it. A few minutes after he already had bought his ticket and booked his hotel. I told him to go ahead and submit his work for The Guru Awards, a Photoshop/Photography Competition exclusively for PSW attendees to which he replied: “I don’t think I’m ready for that.” If you know me, you may be aware I tend to be a little pushy, especially when I see somebody with Kirk’s talent. So, I insisted on him submitting and he did. Guess who ended up winning the Guru awards Best Of Show? Yes, Kirk!

So if you’re planning to go to PSW go ahead and submit your work for the competition!

I have been to many PSW before and here are my recommendations:

DO NOT MISS The Meetup party. This is where everything starts. It sets the mood for the whole conference, it is always fun. The party is usually held in one of the bars at the hotels (you will find signs for that all over) Everybody will be there, the instructors, attendees, KelbyOne staff. This is your chance to make new friends. I guarantee you, even if you go by yourself you’re going to end up talking with everybody. I could write a book with all the funny stories I have from all the meetup parties I’ve been at.

The Keynote. The people a KelbyOne put together a theme for the keynote every year. The videos are always hilarious and so much fun to watch. Also one of my favorite things about the keynote is Julienne Kost’s presentation. She knows a thing or two about Photoshop and Lightroom and her public speaking skills are out of this world. I also recommend you to go to any of her classes, she’s amazing.

Classes. Think outside of the box. Go to classes you wouldn’t’ usually go to. Back in 2016 I went to one of Roberto Valenzuela’s classes. I’m not a wedding photographer and have no desire on pursuing that photography genre but I heard his classes were amazing and I was floored by Roberto’s presentation and the way he talked about light and his approaches to it. Now is one of my must go to classes. I don’t know the Instructors line up yet, but if Jeremy Cowart is doing a presentation you must drop all of your plans and go to it! also, bring tissues. He will make you cry, but he will inspire you in a way nobody else can.

The Expo Floor. That’s where you will find me. Don’t you just walk around and look. Stop by the booths, talk to people, ask questions, try products, NETWORK! show your work if the opportunity arises. And of course, stop by my booth/shooting bay and take beautiful pictures (don’t forget to tag them so I can reshare them). Extra points if you bring me coffee or snacks! There will be plenty of photo ops all around the conference so bring your camera.

The After Hours Party. You need to purchase a ticket to go to this party, but it’s totally worthy. There will be booze and food, there will be live music, you’ll probably see an instructor or two shredding a guitar, slapping a bass, or hitting the drums, Randy will be dancing for sure, and Vanelli will be causing some kind of trouble as usual. Midnight Madness. There are only 200 tickets to this event. There are all kind of games, contest and prizes. This event is hosted by the one and only Scott Kelby.

Don’t ever go to sleep before stopping by the bar. Besides, who comes to these events to sleep? you sleep when you get home!

But, what if I told you there’s a chance for you to go to either Photoshop World Orlando in May or Photoshop World Vegas in August with all of your expenses paid (airfare, hotel, transportation, meals, conference)… pretty exciting right? Just enter the giveaway for your chance to win!  Good luck and see you there!

Here’s last year recap video!

  • Mary Presson Roberts
    Posted at 03:05h, 24 January Reply

    I already have my ticket and cannot wait to attend my first Photoshop World this year! I have wanted to go for years, but have had conflicts. I will be going to the scavenger hunt meet-up for my first time that week as well!

  • Carolyn A Fahm
    Posted at 04:02h, 27 January Reply

    The Kelby’s are life changers! This is such a beautiful and inspiring story. I once went to a PSW. I won’t be going back this year, but who knows . . . our paths may cross one day. Your photos at your very first PSW of Scott and Kalebra incredible. Rock on my talented friend, rock on!

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