First time ever – Three overall Photoshop World Guru Winners from one place!
All three finalists from the BYU-Idaho Communication department won in their category last week at the annual Photoshop World conference in Las Vegas. Seven Guru winners are selected each year from over 800 entries at the world’s largest digital photography and lighting conference. For the first time ever, three of the seven Photoshop World Guru winners are from one university, BYU-Idaho! Photoshop World is not a student conference so participants compete against a variety of industry professionals and amateurs in seven different categories. Three finalists entries in each category are selected before the conference, then the overall winner in each category is named during the closing ceremony of the conference.
Lindsey LeFevre, Douglas Phan and Tyler Clay, all BYU-Idaho Communication students in the Visual Comm emphasis, were informed they were among the 21 finalists before attending the conference in Las Vegas with their BYU-Idaho Photographics Society group of 23, led by Caryn Esplin, faculty advisor. Then at the closing ceremony on Thursday, August 13, the conference officials awarded the seven overall winners. They gathered the finalists up front and one-by-one the three students were call to the stage to receive their awards. Lindsey LeFevre, who is the BYU-Idaho Photographics Society President, won in the Commercial category with her photo of Pepsi celebration. Douglas Phan won in the Photo Restoration category and was also a finalists in the Retouching category. Tyler Clay won in the Photo Montage category for his composite blend of seven different images. The BYU-Idaho Photographics Society sends a group of about 20 students each August and they have had finalists and an occasional student winner in the past, but never three at once.
Faculty advisor, Caryn Esplin, lead over the Visual Communication emphasis in the Communication Department, teaches a practicum class during the Spring semester that all student attendees take before attending Photoshop World. Students prepare their Guru entries and prepare a printed portfolio to present during a portfolio critique while at the conference. This has raised the quality of the entries and proved to be a worthwhile experience for all participants. Most of the students were able to also gain the attention of the conference presenters and land personal interviews with some of the world’s top professional photographers. To be competitive in the photography industry, professionals must be able to capture outstanding images as well as use software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to prepare those images for commercial presentation advertising and marketing.
All three of the student winners have also taken Comm 316 Professional Imaging, a course taught by Esplin that helps them prepare a professional photography website, print and display fine art photography, and practice the latest imaging and lighting techniques in a variety of genres, including commercial food and product, portrait, macro, light painting, landscape, creative and fine art photography. Students who have successfully completed Comm 300 Digital Imaging and been active in the Photographics Society are selected by Caryn Esplin for one section of Comm 316 each semester.