You know that moment when you are sitting in a bar and the pretty girl keeps looking over at you, she approaches you, then walks right past as she was actually looking at the good looking guy behind you? Well, when I got the email from Brad asking if I wanted to be a guest blogger here, my first reaction was to text Glyn and say “I think Brad meant to send you this email mate.” I would like to stress that I don’t think of Brad as the pretty girl nor Glyn as the handsome guy, that is a scenario none of us need to think about!

Hi, I’m Dave Clayton, a.k.a ‘NAPPMEMBER UK’, a.k.a The NAPP UK Evangelist, a.k.a The Earl of Grey & Lord Chappyton Jollybottom (the latter two thanks to Scott Kelby).

I’m not a photographer but one day hope to be within touching distance, I still have my ‘Learner’ plates on. I do love graphic design, I would call myself a graphic designer more than a photographer, not quite in Corey Barker’s league but if anything’s going to help me improve it’s his new Down & Dirty Tricks book!

I’m Dave. Dave the NAPP member, Dave the Dad, Dave the husband, Dave the mate. And Dave dislikes himself for referring to himself in the third person just then …it’s so not ‘Dave Clayton!’

So here I am writing a blog post for Scott Kelby. Incredible! If I wasn’t ‘NAPPMEMBER UK – the UK NAPP Evangelist’ I would be sitting where you are reading about another inspiring photographer (amazing post from Glyn last week by the way!), so I apologise for that break in continued inspiration!

So what is a NAPP Evangelist?
Despite it’s religious connotations it also means “an enthusiastic advocate” and by that it means I am an enthusiastic supporter of The National Association of Photoshop Professionals and all that is connected to it. I guess keeping with this year’s Photoshop World theme I would also be a ‘campaigner.’ I am also an enthusiastic supporter of my football team, Queens Park Rangers and where possible I will try to convince you that they are the greatest team in the World and hope that you believe me. Sadly, in that instance it’s not strictly true, some days they are not even the best team in their own postcode (zipcode) but I love them all the same.

With NAPP / Kelby Training it’s different. This is my other team, a team that only gets better and better, pushing boundaries, trying new things and always looking to give the absolute best to its members. They have the best instructors, the best selling books and authors, amazing classes on their training site, live seminars, a twice yearly event like no other and the darn nicest people (even Brad Moore!) you could wish to meet. That’s why I am enthusiastic and why I became a full member 4 years ago after years of buying Photoshop User magazine wherever I could find it in the UK (not easy) since around 2001.

Where it all began
It all started with a letter in Photoshop Creative magazine late 2009, Scott saw it, blogged about it (he mentioned two chaps by the name of Tim Wallace and Glyn Dewis – whatever happened to those guys?) and was encouraged enough to promise a trip to London in 2010 on the back of it. Scott knew nothing of me back then. It was Nancy Masse, a wonderful young lady who goes beyond superlatives when I describe her, that started the process. We emailed each other, I told her that I’d like to get more NAPP love for the UK and so it began. There were no terms and conditions, just “please spread the word and we’ll love ya”. That was good enough for me! I was chuffed to bits, such an honour. “Dave Clayton – NAPP UK Evangelist” – it’s up there with a Blue Peter badge (UK will get that one) ;)

I then set about recruiting members and generally spreading the word where I could. I was determined to show that there was great potential for more interest in the NAPP organization across the proverbial pond. The organization helped with a joining incentive for UK members and with that I built my first blog site at www.nappmember.co.uk followed by a Twitter page and a Facebook page. I was so convinced that it was totally worth the £65 a year I just started mentioning NAPP wherever possible and I might have even suggested we would get more in good time (gulp).

In 2010 the organization came through with a visit from both Joe McNally in July and Scott Kelby in October (just after PSW) for seminars at The Design Centre in Islington. Scott’s visit was the first time I met him properly and also Glyn. What an introduction, a day with Scott Kelby to meet a new friend! Spending time with those guys wasn’t hard, it was like being with two mates you’ve known for years, I’m sure that day felt like years to Scott too – to quote him “I hate those guys” ;) Between these two events I had traveled to Photoshop World in Las Vegas to introduce myself properly (met Scott very briefly)  and show I was serious. Best decision ever – if you’ve never been to a Photoshop World then really try and make an effort. 100% satisfaction, trust me!

What happened next…
2011 built on the events of 2010 and was more than I could ever have hoped for. Among some of the highlights were:

A ‘shout out’ by Scott at the start of the live streamed Photoshop World Keynote in Vegas.
Scott’s personal visit to London in May hanging out with Glyn Dewis and myself.
Dave Cross visiting for the Focus on Imaging expo and his & Marlene’s first visit to a QPR game with me.
An acknowledgment in Alan Hess’ iPad 2 book. Brilliant & unexpected!
Meeting Calvin Hollywood and Gabor Richter on their UK visit. Lovely blokes!
My first mention in Photoshop User magazine and numerous mentions on The Grid, Photoshop User TV etc.
Scott congratulating me on my marriage to Andrea in June on the live ‘Day with Jay Maisel’ webcast and Jay’s subsequent nod of approval. Jay is so cool ;)

I believed in the value of the organization when I began to evangelize but to have met the people that I have along the way only drives me further to do them proud. We all do the things we do for some kind of reward, whether it be financial or personal. My involvement with the organization has been very personal. Sure, I’ve learnt a lot of cool techniques to use in my work or creative endeavours, but it’s the exposure to people at all creative levels that I wouldn’t ordinarily have and the friends I’ve made and continue to that makes it worth the effort. When you turned over your first $99 for membership it may have been simply a means of getting the knowledge to further your career or your hobby, but I’ll be willing to bet that your relationship too will become personal.

I will say this, I’m 46 years old, I’ve had a great life, made good friends, I’ve enough life experience to know the kind of people I like to be around and consider to be friends. All the people I know through being a NAPP member and my association with all at Kelby Media fit into that mould. I’m no ‘hero worshipper’ (apart from maybe Pele and Stan Bowles – Google them), I have people I admire greatly and a lot of that is also down to their ability, professionalism and personality. This NAPP Evangelist gig feels right, it feels natural to me and it’s part of what I am proud to add to my life achievements. I’m in this for the long term and its pretty blooming exciting !

 

Where am I going?
Now in 2012 I am happy that my ‘evangelist’ role is pretty self explanatory to most and becoming more recognised but my work is nowhere near done. The UK (even Europe) community of photographers and Photoshop users is massive and I will continue to find new and creative ways to spread the word and encourage more people to join NAPP and Kelby Training. Already this year we have convinced a 10 strong group to travel from UK/Europe to attend Photoshop World in Washington DC (MISSION:PSW was also featured in a full page spread in Photoshop Creative magazine in January) and Scott has just confirmed his Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It tour in Islington London for 28th April 2012, lets sell that one out and try for another later in the year!!

Let’s be clear, those of us with the moniker of ‘NAPP Evangelist’, including my cohorts in the U.S. are not employees of NAPP. Personally, I hold down a regular full time marketing job, I have a small freelance design company, I’m married to the amazing Andrea, we are proud parents to four wonderful children (two fantastic teenage boys, 14 & 15, and two beautiful daughters aged 2 and 3) and my spare time is very limited which makes my NAPP work that much more special. But I wouldn’t enjoy what I love doing and the new skills I learn without NAPP or any of the fine services provided by the Kelby Media group and its associates. My reward is the help and support of my peers in what I am trying to achieve.

Ultimately I want and hope that I have created a role that others around the rest of the world can take on to the extent that I feel I have done and spread this community far and wide. Let’s see Kelby seminars around the world and make the ‘National’ truly ‘International’. I will support and help anyone who wants to become an Evangelist, don’t be afraid to put yourself forward if you are anywhere in the world, other than UK of course ;o) I’d eventually love to be leading a Worldwide ‘collective’ of evangelists so let’s make this happen. If you can put in the time it’s totally worth it.

Thanks!
I’d like to take this opportunity (because I don’t normally have this many viewers !! ) to give a huge thanks to Scott, Nancy and all at NAPP/Kelby Media, David Rogers and Alan Brusky for their constant valued input, Alan Hess, Kim Brockie,  the #curryclub chaps, Gareth Davies (Studios), also some people for helping out with our Photoshop World trip: Brian at ThinkTank photo & Snapperstuff, Stewart at LensesForHire, Danny at 3leggedthing , Jeff at SnapilyPro and Simon at Photoshop Creative. Of course  all the UK (and US/Worldwide) supporters and new members who Re-Tweet, Share, +1, Like and engage who have become good friends – especially my old buddy and cohort Mister Glyn Dewis – my brother from another mother. When Glyn got asked to teach at Photoshop World I felt like a proud big brother, he is worth all the trust they have put in him. Glyn even encouraged me to do my first modelling gig at one of his workshops, that image is about to grace the front cover of top German photography magazine, ‘Pictures’ !! Since then we’ve done two more, both great fun indeed!!

It goes without saying but I will because I can, a massive thank you to my wonderfully gorgeous wife Andrea, with four children its hard to find time to do much for ourselves and she is superb and very patient in letting me spend some of that time doing the NAPP UK work. I love you Mrs Jollybottom! x

 


So, now when you hear my name and any associated (all in good humour) verbal abuse on ‘The Grid’ you’ll know who I am and why I am – so please follow, share, like and tell your UK and European friends. I have swag and I’m not afraid to use it !!! Thanks for reading if you got this far – usual service resumed next Wednesday ;)
Please come and find me at PSW and say hello, always good to put faces to names.

If you have any questions, suggestions or constructive criticism or want to somehow sponsor NAPP UK by way of prize items or discounts then please contact me over at at www.nappmember.co.uk. I am also www.gplusdave.com, @nappmember_uk and facebook.com/nappmember