Disclosure: I was sponsored by Adobe to attend this conference.

Last month I had the pleasure of attending Adobe MAX in San Diego, California. It was my first time at this conference, but definitely not my last. Adobe invited me to come along as a “Social Media Insider”, so I got to hang out alongside many of the press to get a closer look at the event.

The Keynotes

The keynote on the first day was pretty incredible. This is where they announced new features and products in the Adobe Creative Cloud, as well as show off some of the existing products. Here are some of the stand-out announcements:

  • Project Felix: This is a 3D app that allows you to add materials to pre-created 3D files. They will even have stock 3D files that you can download to use! I see this useful as both an online seller, and a creative (ideas are already starting to pop up on how I can use this with my photography).
  • Creative Cloud 2017: Adobe continues to innovate with the newest version of the Creative Cloud. Click here to view the list of features.

The second day was a creative and inspiring mix of celebrities and high-profile artists:

  • Zac Posen was up first, a fashion designer and celebrity, and had some really wonderful insight into his work. I was also able to attend a press Q&A with him after the event, and it was refreshing to get his take on things like technology and how it relates to the “analog” process of fashion design.
  • Lynsey Addario was next, a war photographer and photojournalist. Her work was impressive, moving, and gave a sobering look into the battle-zones in the Middle East.
  • We also saw some of the process of artist and sculptor Janet Echelman, and how she puts together her massive and surreal sculptures that are incredibly beautiful and serene! Plus, one of the sculptures was on display at the MAX Bash after-party.
  • And lastly we were incredibly lucky to have director Quentin Tarantino give us some insight into his mind. We also learned that he only has two more films before he retires!

Adobe Sneaks is another fun event where we had the opportunity to see some of the features that the Adobe engineers are working on that may (or may not) make it into the Creative Cloud. Some of my favorites were #VoCo and #SkyReplace. And, Jordan Peele was the host, which made for a really lively event.

You can watch all of the of the Adobe MAX stage presentations using the links below:

The Conference

The workshops, sessions, and labs are a big reason that people come to this show. In-between my running around with the other Adobe Insiders I was able to get a few classes in, and it was a great opportunity for me to brush up on my InDesign skills! My main focus is photography, but a lot of what I do happens inside of InDesign (mostly creating my books). While the conference is centered around Adobe products, some of the classes branch out beyond the software. Here are a handful of sessions that stood out for me the most:

  • Portfolio review: For this session, I sat at a table with about eight other designers, and we went around the group sharing our portfolios. The reviewer, as well as the other attendees, had the ability to give advice and critique on our work. I didn’t have a set portfolio (most of the other attendees were either design students or working designers), so I brought a few of my eBook designs with me.
  • The Fundamentals of Building Beautiful Email Experiences: A big part of my business is designing and sending email newsletters to my mailing list (over 50k strong!), and this class was a nice way of grabbing a few coding tidbits to use in my campaigns.
  • InDesign Power Shortcuts: I love learning the “hidden” features of applications, and Michael Ninness’s “Power Shortcuts” series are seriously legit. I learned several things that I now use daily with InDesign!

Tips For Attending MAX

If you are thinking about attending Adobe MAX, here are a few tips to get on off on the right track:

  • Sign up early for classes: A lot of the popular labs and workshops fill up quickly, so as soon as you are registered you
  • Wear comfy shoes: There is always a lot of walking and standing around at these events!
  • Book the closest hotel: Staying in a hotel close to the conference
  • Don’t worry about food or drinks: One of the very awesome things about this conference is that it feeds you breakfast and lunch! The food was pretty decent, and they also had coffee, drinks, and snacks in the hallways in-between sessions. They also have open bars at some of the big events (Sneaks, Bash, etc.).