(Note from Brad: Last week was Matt’s first time attending Photoshop World, and I thought it would be interesting to get his fresh-eyed take on it. Take it away, Matt!)

Only days after attending this year’s Photoshop World, I sit in 124 degree heat in Death Valley, CA to write this blog post – and my head is still spinning from the experience. My wife has had the good fortune of listening to me tell her the same (exciting) stories over and over.

A longtime friend of Brad (pre-beard) from Connecticut, I made my first trip out to Las Vegas to attend the conference and also embark on a photo excursion of a few of the National Parks. Although drawn to landscape photography, I am most often found capturing people expressing themselves culturally and/or creatively. As someone struggling to transition into full time photography as a career, the knowledge and inspiration I gained from Photoshop World is invaluable.

2-blogphoto 3-blogphoto

My whirlwind of a week began with an in-depth pre-convention workshop on concert photography by Alan Hess and Scott Diussa. In it, they shared their experience and practical instruction from years of shooting bands around the world. As part of the workshop I then had the opportunity to put those lessons into practice by shooting a live band. I can’t imagine a more exciting way to start the week than the rush of adrenaline I experienced hustling to obtain my best possible shots during the industry standard limit of just 3 songs!

4-blogphoto 5-blogphoto

Ready for the conference to officially begin, I went over to the First Time Attendee Orientation where Larry Becker made sure all of us first- timers felt comfortable and provided tips on utilizing all the conference had to offer. Later that evening during the Photoshop World Meet-up, attendees had the opportunity to hang out in the lounge with instructors in a casual environment. I was impressed and a little surprised at how accessible and friendly everyone was. 

The next three days were jam-packed with classes on virtually every aspect of photography, videography, and post-processing one could imagine. Deciding which classes to attend proved to be the most challenging part of the week as they all looked so appealing. I honestly got something out of every one I attended. Instructors Glyn Dewis, Jeremy Cowart, Roberto Valenzuela, and Jay Maisel were especially inspiring; while the business tips from photographers Tim Wallace, Frank Salas, and David Ziser will be extremely beneficial to implement in my own business. Not to mention the practical techniques demonstrated by Peter Hurley, Joe McNally, Lindsay Adler, Frank Doorhof, and Erik Valind. Ah, there were so many other amazing photographers/instructors that I did not have a chance to see. I guess I will just have to wait until next year!

Besides a wide array of classes, the Expo was full of new and innovative products and photo-related technology to try out. This included areas to take test shots using different lighting setups, as in these photos I took while walking past the Westcott booth.

6-blogphoto 7-blogphoto

During the Natural Light Shoots, I jumped at the opportunity to pull out my camera and practice photographing a model using only the existing sunlight to create beautiful images.

8-blogphoto 10-blogphoto 9-blogphoto

As part of this shoot, a chapel was also reserved with models available to practice photographing a bride and groom using only the available light. 

11-blogphoto 14-blogphoto 13-blogphoto 12-blogphoto

I had a blast working with the models and instructors and picked up a few new tricks that I will use in photographing weddings and special events in the future.

Although one can participate in as many or as few events as they wish, I easily filled up my days and my nights and made several new friends along the way. In the weeks ahead, I plan to dive into the nearly 600 page workbook of notes provided by Scott Kelby from all the classes given during the conference. With this wealth of information at my fingertips I can read up on those classes I missed as well as review all that I’ve learned. Photoshop World has already been added to my calendar for 2016…come and find me if you decide to check it out next year. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Now, back into the sand dunes I go, armed with my camera, a flashlight, and a gallon of water (so I don’t die).


You can see more of Matt’s work at 500px, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, or sign up for next year’s Photoshop World and come hang with him in person!

I saw this Photoshop down & dirty technique in a print ad for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and thought I’d break it down for you, here.



STEP ONE: Open your background image (in the Samsung Ad I saw, it had a child holding a bunch of balloons, kinda like what you see here (I downloaded this stock photo from dollarphotoclub.com).


STEP TWO: Open an image of a cell phone (here’s a stock cell phone photo, also from dollarphotoclub). Put a selection around the cell phone (as seen here), and then Copy just the phone into memory (I used the Magic Wand tool to click on the white background, then I pressed Shift-Command-I (PC: Shift-Ctrl-I) to invert the selection (The opposite of the white background is, of course, the phone. It’s an old trick).


STEP THREE: Now Paste the cell phone image (that you copied into memory in the previous step) onto the balloon photo and position it over the balloons, as seen here.


STEP FOUR: Now we’re going to remove the center of the phone (where the screen would be). Get the Polygonal Lasso Tool from the toolbar. Click it in the bottom left corner, then move your cursor up to the top corner and it draws a straight line between the tool. Now make your way around the rectangular screen area clicking once in each corner, and then finish the selection by clicking back where you started once you’ve gone all the way around the screen (as seen here).


STEP FIVE: Once your selection is in place, just hit the Delete key (PC: Backspace key) to knock a hole out where the screen was previously (as seen here).


STEP SIX: Now click the Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel (it’s the third button from the left) to add a Layer Mask to this layer. Now get the Brush tool; choose a small hard-edged brush from the Brush Picker up in the Options bar. Set Black as your Foreground color and paint right over the bar on the right side of the photos anywhere it touches the balloons, as seen here (see my brush cursor on the red balloon?). As you paint, it masks away (hides) that part of the phone, making it appear like the balloons are coming out of the phone.


STEP SEVEN: Lastly, add some type to finishing things off (I tweaked the Samsung headline a bit, and added the KelbyOne.com logo at the bottom right because…well…it’s our logo (and I had it on my laptop).

So, that’s it. A quick and easy masking job – hope you found it helpful (and I hope it showed how easy some of the effects are that we see around us every day).

Have a great Tuesday everybody!


P.S. We’re kicking off a brand new Lightroom CC tour with our own RC Concepcion visiting cities all over the USA, starting in Charlotte, NC in just 8-days from now. Here’s where to go for more details. 

Hey gang: We had our own Larry Becker stop by some of the exhibitors at the Photoshop World Conference Expo floor last week, so they could give us a quick look at what they were showing off at their booths. Here’s a few to get you started:



















OK, this post is getting crazy long – if you want to see more, check out our KelbyOne YouTube page where you’ll find lots more stuff from Photoshop World.

Hope you all have a rockin’ Monday!








This quick little video gives you a real peek into what it’s like being at the Photoshop World conference, from the pre-conference workshops out on location, to Adobe’s opening keynote, to the conference sessions and expo. It’s really quick, but it’s a great look at the experience, and why you’ll want to come and experience it yourself in person next year.

I’ve got lots more to share next week, but my flight is boarding (almost home!) so I’ve got to run!

Thanks to all our awesome instructors, to our KelbyOne crew who were remarkable going on little sleep for days on end, to all our wonderful conference sponsors and exhibitors, to our friends at Adobe who make it all happen, and especially to all our fun, ready-to-learn, ready to rock attendees from all around the world who came to spend a few days learning, laughing, and sharing. It was really something special.

Have a great weekend, everybody! :)