Photoshop World Insider’s Guide – Part 1 – Getting Started

Last year, I posted a PDF called “An Alumni’s Guide to Photoshop World”. It was well received, but a lot of folks were unable to view it on their device for various reasons. So this year’s edition will be posted on the blog instead so you can view at your leisure using whatever method suits you! 

So without further ado, here is Part 1 – “Getting Started”

Rule #1 – Stay Informed. 

Be sure to follow the hashtag #PSW12 for PSW Twitter feed and follow @NAPP_news for the latest information on the conference and all things NAPP related before, during and after Photoshop World.

Insider’s Tip: Announcements regarding sessions are normally made prior to the introduction of the instructor. If you are late to a session, you may miss important information. 

If you have questions, there is the Info Booth and also Help Desk Live. Located outside the Expo Hall, this is your chance to have a live person answer your Photoshop related inquiries. Also, look for the NAPP folks wearing the black “STAFF” shirts. They are always willing to help you.


Wear comfortable clothes including shoes. You will be walking a lot. Also, the conference rooms are air conditioned so bring a sweater or jacket if necessary. I cannot stress this enough. Blisters can ruin your PSW experience especially if you are on a photo walk or pre-con. There is no dress code at Photoshop World, just be yourself and comfortable.

Checking In: 

Conference check-in can always be a daunting task but being prepared can make this go smoothly. Make sure you bring your conference badge that you received in the mail. You will receive conference materials and a handy bag to put it all in. Be patient – the line may be long, but it moves fast.

Insider’s Tip: To avoid Day 1 lines, you can check in during the pre-con day from 10 am – 2 pm. NAPP prefers that you check-in after noon if you are not attending a pre-con session. Early check-in saves you from having to lug your conference materials around all morning during the keynote and sessions. 


The opening day keynote is a must-see. Feature previews from Adobe, the Guru Award Ceremonies and special guests make this one of the most entertaining and informative keynotes you will see!


Schedules change. But if you have downloaded the PSW app for your mobile device, you can receive alerts and messages regarding the conference. You can also download Dave Cross’s great interactive PDF schedule. If you do not have the app or the PDF, there are large schedule posters outside the conference rooms on the lower level. Sometimes scheduled classes or room locations can change due to unforeseen circumstances even day-of. Be sure to check the schedules posted outside the event halls each morning to make sure you are up to date!

Insider’s Tip: 

You may not be able to attend every session you wish to see, but thankfully you have the Photoshop® World Conference Workbook. This “bible” has course notes and handouts to help you choose and read up on sessions you may have missed.


One of the best parts of Photoshop World is you can choose your own course to fit your training needs. If you don’t care for a session, go to another. No pre-registration required!

Insider’s Tip:  Arrive early. Unless you have a Speed Pass, early birds get the best seats for events and sessions. Sometimes being close to the action makes all the difference.  If you like to move from class to class, be sure to sit in the back. 


The 800+ page workbook has notes, tips and tricks from most sessions,  but it also has something very important in the rear of the book. Feeback forms. Do not forget to fill out your feedback forms for each session you attend. These forms are used in the prize drawings at the closing ceremonies. If you don’t give feedback, you won’t be entered!

Insider’s Tip:  Knowing that session notes are included in the workbook, I usually leave my book in my room and take a smaller (lighter) notebook along with my feedback forms to the sessions. It saves my back and sanity not worrying about leaving the workbook behind!

Bonus Tip: Arrive early. Some sessions are so new that they are not included in the workbook and the session pages are handed out prior to the presentation. Be sure to grab yours!

Expo Hall: 

Attend early and often. Many vendors have giveaways and there are bonus Expo Hall sessions in the NAPP Expo Theater and Kelby Training Expo Theater. Don’t miss out on your chance to see a live taping of your favorite Kelby Webcast. There are also great opportunities to meet vendors and other Photoshop enthusiasts each day during exclusive Expo times.

Insider’s Tip:  Don’t forget you can also download a FREE Expo Pass from the Photoshop® World website for your friends or traveling companions so they too can experience the wonder of the Expo Hall. 

Special Events: 

It’s not just about the class sessions or tracks at Photoshop World, it’s also about the friendships and networking connections you will make. Be sure to make the most of your Photoshop World experience with these special events!

First-Time Attendee Orientation

Hosted by NAPP Director Larry Becker, these are a recent and much welcomed addition to the schedule at Photoshop World. Think of it as “Photoshop World 101” for new attendees. The feedback I have heard from new PSW folks is nothing but praise for the knowledge and insight Larry gives.

Dinner With a Stranger

This gives you an opportunity to experience a great meal and conversation with other conference attendees. Traditionally held on the first night of the conference, this event fills up fast. Sign up and receive your pin and head out to meet and socialize with like-minded folks.

After-Hours Party

Also held after the first day of the conference, this event is nothing more than a big party with conference attendees and instructors. Please note that the standard conference registration fee does not include the After-Hours Party ticket. It must be purchased serparately and this does sell out. Unlike other events, guests are allowed to purchase tickets.

The after hours party has returned to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, making it a convenient stop for attendees. Also, it marks the return of Scott Kelby and Big Electric Cat to the Las Vegas Conference. Having seen them in Washington, DC I can tell you first hand they are not-to-be missed!

Midnight Madness

This is a not-to-be missed event held on the second night of the conference. The free tickets are available on Day 2 of the conference and go quickly. But there are opportunities to win tickets throughtout the conference. Think of it as “Photoshop® for Insomniacs” hosted by Scott Kelby. Oh and you won’t learn a thing about Photoshop. Enjoy!

Insider’s Tip: Get to the conference hall early on Day 2 to get your tickets while they last. Only 200 Midnight Madness tickets are given away! Locations are announced during Day 1 sessions. Also watch the #PSW12 Twitter feed for special giveaways during the expo sessions. 

Conference Wrap Up Rally

This is the last general session held at the end of the conference. Do not blow this off. This is where you can win great prizes drawn from Feedback Forms and view instructors showcasing highlights from the conference. Every year somehow tops previous years with excellent demos, shows and overall fun to be had by all.

Insider’s Tip: If you can swing it, try to extend your stay either a day before or after the conference. You could have your own photo walk, see a Vegas show, or hang out with your new conference friends!


Coming up in Part 2 – Getting Around. Your tips and tricks for navigating the conference and the strip!