Ben Willmore’s workshop with Kelby Training, San Diego Oct 24


Eager buyers–During the 15-minute breaks between each hour, attendees to the seminar hurriedly browse the vendor’s tables in the hopes of scoring free giveaways like a Wacom tablet in exchange for their email addresses. Who can resist the chance to win something? He/she who dies with most toys wins!

A few Mondays back, I attended my very first all day Photoshop seminar.

Photoshop CS4 for Digital Photographers taught by Ben Willmore was put together by Kelby Training on Oct 19th.

Boy, did they pack the room at the San Diego Convention Center!

At 1 Ben Franklin a piece (US$100) and my estimated crowd of 600 people, even if they provided lunch, they would have still made a killing.

And we’re haven’t even taken into account the sale of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) membership, books, tutorial DVDs and sponsorship deals with vendors.

It’s nice to know despite our downturn in the economy, there are still money-making opportunities.

What did I get out of braving the horrific traffic from Riverside to San Diego on a Monday morning?

Having people as your subjects in your photography is problematic.

My choice of subjects won’t earn me as much money as like Ben Willmore.

Ben Willmore’s pictures don’t have people in them, so by virtue of that alone, my kids are destined to starve.

I’m really a people person and that’s why I gravitated towards newspaper photography. I don’t have the imagination to transform a a still life of light bulbs into fine art.

As much as I’m being facetious here, I guess inanimate objects like junked cars and broken light bulbs don’t get my creative juices going.

Now if my ever-supportive wife didn’t work, you know you’ll see me at junkyards and I would be all over this kind of “art.”

I really didn’t need to attend this all day workshop to know that everyone needs to find their own way.

In the end, it’s a matter of whether people like what you show and how much they’ll pay for your artwork. That’s the bottom line.

It’s not what camera you use, or the printer,or even the software you use.

Heck, it’s sometimes not even how technically perfect your pictures are.

We all know Adobe’s premier photo editing software Photoshop can “fake” many things.

Like many photographers before me, and the many who will follow, I started out photographing inanimate objects because they’re easier.

You don’t need to focus quickly. You can take your time and ponder the light, camera viewpoint even the meaning of those numbers you see in the viewfinder and especially the ones that are blinking.

I just happen to like being around people, so my pictures tend to have people. People are problematic. They need model releases.

Was it worth the price of admission? Absolutely! I got some pointers on what to photograph and possibly what sells as fine art.

I listened as Ben Willmore piled on the details about each setting in his pictures.

After several hours, details in HDR, local adaptation, exposure blah..blah.. reminded me of a job description… A professor is one who talks in someone’s sleep.

No disrespect to Ben, I can handle only small doses of Photoshop especially in a darkened auditorium, no matter how compelling your stories.