Bram Vanhaeren on Photoshop 25 under 25: How Adobe changed my life

Do what you love. Follow your dreams. Before you know it, you might be writing a similar story yourself.

– Bram Vanhaeren

I am a young creative from Antwerp in Belgium. I am 24 and I have been working with Adobe Photoshop for over 10 years. I didn’t understand a single word in English when I started working with Photoshop, so I basically just started playing and experimenting with the program. A couple of years later I decided to go to a creative school to study commercial design.

That is, until they kicked me out after six months.

The reason? I wasn’t allowed to work with any Adobe program! I had to draw my designs by hand and well, I’m a terrible drawer. My teachers told me I was by far the worst illustrator of my year – my portraits got rated 3/20. So I failed my class and was asked to leave the school. That left me with two options. A) Find a new passion. Or B) prove them wrong. I decided to prove them wrong.

I started sharing my work on Behance and meeting new people every day. This was 2007 and I started to realise just how important Behance was for me. In fact, my first jobs and features came from Behance! Today, I’m a proud member of that community and love to inspire other students to share their work there. Thanks to Behance, I was able to connect with the right people at the right time… and that’s also how Adobe found me!

A few months ago, I received a mysterious email from Adobe. I’ll be honest: at first, I thought it was spam. Or maybe it was a new program or tool that was coming up? But I was wrong. It was a real, official email from Adobe, asking to get in touch with me about a new programme they were launching called Photoshop 25 under 25, highlighting young artists on their social media presences. So I talked to them, but I didn’t think anything would happen afterwards. I was wrong again. Two weeks later, I got another call. I got selected! A dream came true.

Last week, Adobe presented me to their followers on Facebook and Instagram. A moment I couldn’t really prepare for. All I could think of was: ‘what are people going to say about my work?’ and ‘what if nobody reacts?’. I was excited but definitely nervous as well. One day later, I checked their Facebook page… over 6,000 likes and 100 comments! The day after, local press picked up my story! The response was simply overwhelming.

This is the kind of exposure I always hoped to experience one day. I can’t thank Adobe enough for this opportunity and will be a proud ambassador. What I want the most right now is to shout out to all the young creatives out there: do what you love. Follow your dreams. Before you know it, you might be writing a similar story yourself.

Thank you Adobe, for changing my life!


About Bram Vanhaeren

Bram is a 24 year old creative from Antwerp who taught himself how to work with Photoshop when he was just 13 years old. Three years later his work was published in several magazines. Bram used to be an athlete and that’s where he finds his inspiration. He tries to capture the emotions of athletes and artists in his work and finds it fascinating to capture their passion and energy in an image. He has produced a vast portfolio of creative work as displayed on Behance, ranging from branding work to photo-manipulation and illustration.

Bram was recently selected to take part in Adobe’s 25 Under 25 programme to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Photoshop.