The Palm Springs Photo Fest!

The past week was spent in sunny Palm Springs, California! That’s where we flew after visiting Karen’s family in NJ. This year marked the 8th Annual Palm Springs Photo Festival, and I was teaching two classes, on masking and retouching in Photoshop. This event is very different from a lot of the other photography/Photoshop events, and for a few reasons. First, there aren’t as many classes on software and post processing as there are on photography and the business of photography. Second, there are a lot more classes and panel discussions that are geared toward fine art photographers, and it encompasses much more of the LA photo scene. It also has a more intimate feel, with elegant outdoor networking dinners and smaller class sizes. This is also probably the only event where I don’t want to share a dinner table with people I know. Instead, I’d rather sit with folks I’ve never met before because I always end up making meaningful connections.


In addition to teaching some classes, I also enjoyed being a participant in this year’s festival. I attended a few classes, on getting a photography book published, the business of fine art photography and digital asset management. I also was able to get a few portfolio reviews, which was very insightful. The reviews are a big part of the event, and the reviewers have all kinds of backgrounds, from museum curators, to advertising agencies, to magazines, to book publishers and more. I am looking to do more with my work, and am exploring several of these outlets for it.

BenTeaching-PSPFHere I am teaching a class at the Palm Springs Photo Fest.

942494_10152801142610608_1163087705_nI had to do some last-minute preparations to get my portfolio ready for review.

And of course, in addition to the classes, portfolio reviews and networking events, there was a fair share of fun. One afternoon, I went with Karen and fellow instructor Colin Smith to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which climbs to an elevation of ~8,500 feet! I think the temperature dropped something like 35 degrees on the way up. The views are pretty great up there, and I’d recommend taking the ride if you’re ever in Palm Springs. After the festival ended, Karen and I also snuck off to see Iron Man 3, which turned out to be pretty good. Karen is a movie nut and huge Iron Man fan, so that was pretty high up on the priority list for her!

After the festival ended, we hopped on yet another flight, this time bound for Seattle. I am presenting my Photoshop Mastery: Color & Tone online class at creativeLIVE on Monday and Tuesday. It’s free while it’s live so be sure to tune in, 9am-4pm, PST, May 6 & 7.

BenColinTramMe and Colin Smith on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

PSPF-gangFrom left, Colin Smith, Peter Krogh, me and Jeff Dunas. Jeff is the one who puts the entire festival together, and he does an excellent job!

The Palm Springs Photo Festival 2012

This past week was spent in sunny Palm Springs, CA for the 7th annual Photo Festival, directed by Jeff Dunas. I taught two classes at the event and attended some as well. We arrived on Sunday night, just in time for the opening ceremony and cocktail hour, held at the beautiful Korakia Moroccan-style Bed and Breakfast. Many of the festival events were held here, and we just loved the feel of this place, with its unique style, elegant bonfires and waterfalls. Jeff kicked off the event with some announcements and introductions and the rest of the time was spent mingling and reconnecting with folks in the photo world. Karen and I met up with my great friend and photographer, Lee Varis, as well as Barbara Ellison, from Canon. The four of us ended up spending a lot of time together during the course of the festival.

At the opening night of the Palm Springs Photo Festival, Jeff Dunas makes some announcements and introductions.

Overall, I am really impressed with the way this festival is run. Everyone is extremely organized and helpful and all of the individual events are very well thought out. There are even gatherings in the evenings that include a late night networking party/wine tasting, outdoor dinners and interesting presentations. The organizers do an amazing job of tending to both the attendees and instructors. The two classes I taught both included Photoshop fixes and retouching techniques. I attended a handful of classes, including ones on how to find an agent, the Lightroom 4 develop module, an evening symposium on getting your work noticed and a full-day workshop on dramatic lighting.

Here I am at one of the evening symposiums. Love the seating!

With all of the photography being displayed, as well as the networking aspect of the festival, I also made a point this week to organize my own image portfolio for display on the new iPad. After reading several reviews for iPad portfolio apps, I decided to use one called Minimal Folio, and I like it so far. With the retina display of the new iPad, the images look amazing. Karen said it looked like you could reach in and touch the subjects of the photographs!

Here I am with Lee and Barbara sharing a glass of wine before dinner at the Korakia.

The festival wrapped up on Friday afternoon and we plan on leaving Palm Springs this morning (Monday). And where will we head next? We have no idea! That’s one of the beautiful things about living on the road. More to come…