I don’t think I have ever been this excited to attend something informational in my life. What started out as an offer that I was nervous to take, turned out to be an experience that will hold weight in my creative career and possibly change me forever, professionally.
One day I was on campus conversing with my friend, Wallid. We could have possibly been talking about anything, he always stops at my desk at work to talk to me about meaningful things. Somehow we got on the subject of Adobe Max. He insisted that I join the AIGA ( American Institute of Graphic Arts) organization at our school. Being as though I am a photographer, he felt that it would be a perfect fit for me. He went on to elaborate about the conference and in my head, I’m like ” I can’t afford to go anywhere right now.” As he kept talking I just kept being pessimistic in my head because I knew that some way, somehow Wallid was going to convince me to go.
As the time grew closer, I began to panic. Even though my trip and stay were pretty much paid for, I still was trying to do last minute things to make sure that I had enough money to secure my stay. The day that we left was the day that my anxiety decided to leave me alone. I felt more optimistic because, one, I was traveling, and two, I started to think about the potential networking connections that I would be making while at the conference. From there it was game time. Me and six of my school peers geared up for a life-changing experience.
What is Adobe Max?
Adobe Max is a massive creative conference that is held annually and hosted by Adobe Systems. Adobe Max happens in North America, Europe, and Japan. During this event, new releases are unveiled and attendees are able to attend sessions that cater to their creative needs.
This year the conference was held in Las Vegas.
This was my first time attending Adobe Max and attending a conference period so it was a bit overwhelming for me the first day. They definitely made sure that the attendees were treated well. We were well fed and the information we received was worth more than money. One of the things I enjoyed about the conference was the community pavilion. I love free things! Aside from the cool Adobe Max hoodies we received, the community was filled with stalls that were occupied by reps from familiar businesses such as Google, ADIDAS, Fujifilm, Canon, and much more. There were a lot of festive things going on, including giveaways and contests.
Every morning, except for the last day of the conference, we had keynote speakers including Jon Favreau (actor, producer, and director), Annie Griffiths ( American Photographer), Mark Ronson ( singer/songwriter, record producer, and DJ), and Kumail Nanjiani (actor/comedian). There were also speakers from the Adobe community who spoke about the revamped programs and ones that were in still in production. My favorite speakers were Mark Ronson and Annie Griffiths. Mark Ronson has produced music for some great artists that I love to listen to and his interview was inspiring. Annie Griffiths story brought tears to my eyes because I can relate to some of her humble beginnings, and to see where she is today, it really made me believe that I have the ability to achieve that too.
After we left from listening to the keynote speakers each day, we would break off into our sessions. The sessions taught us about various things, branding, editing, graphic design, and much more. We got to pick the ones that fit what we do professionally and ones we may have wanted to go to just to learn new things. My favorite sessions would have to be A photo a day: Keeping the cliché away, which was moderated by Katrin Eismann and Building your Personal Brand, moderated by Stephen Gates. These two sessions definitely made me think twice about my approach to my creativity and professionalism.
Although this conference was filled with so much vital information, there was still room to have fun. The night before our last day of Adobe Max, we were in for a treat.
On that Thursday evening, over 12,000 of us came together for the Adobe Sneaks session. This was where all of the new Adobe programs, some in beta and some already finished and released, we’re displayed and talked about by their creators. After we got through that, we left for the Max Bash. Now, I was assuming it was just going to be a small little party to relieve us from being in the Venetian Hotel all week, which was an icebox by the way.
I was wrong.
We were led to a huge lot that was filled with so much food and fun that I was hungover from it. On top of that our, DJ was none other than Mark Ronson himself. His mixing was sick! We danced through the night and I ate so much food I think my taste buds burst. I didn’t want the night to end.
The last day was bitter sweet. You could tell it was time to go. I was trying so hard to detach, but it was difficult. At this point we all were kind of slacking on the sessions. We just wanted to enjoy our last day in Vegas. So we did. I went out to take photos, frequented the community pavilion throughout the day, and at nightfall, the crew linked back up and we went to get dinner. It was at dinner where a few of us made a valuable connection. We wandered until it was time to make our way to the airport. As we walked back through the Venetian, all I could think about was, why is the air in Vegas so dry?, how am I going to fit all of my goodies in my luggage?, and how my life will drastically change once I got back to Baltimore.
Attending Adobe Max definitely was impactful and I learned about what I was doing right and how I could improve as a creative. I think anyone would be grateful to experience such a conference.