The editing mistake photographers are addicted to and how to stop doing it.

Presets, photo editing software, and gear. We have the tools in 2022. But I want to change how you think about your photos.

I’ve been a photographer for over 20 years. I watched digital be born and the entire industry change. I’ve run the gamut in everything from street and wedding photography to fashion photography of Models in Mexico and fashion photography.

I saw photography go from a technical creative art to something mostly driven by internet marketers and “Ai” tools. But I always see the same mistakes that make photos ordinary no matter how good the software gets.

I don’t need to second guess. People either like my photon or not. A clean Natural HDR 4 process made it look good and that’s a wrap.

Sometimes digital is so easy, that we lose an opportunity. Trends come and go, but in the end, photography will always be about emotion, inspiration, and creativity. If you learn to discover shadows and souls with confidence, your photography will always get better regardless of the tools you use.

Confidence is not always easy. I’ve learned a lot as a street photographer. You can have all the software. You have the best camera, and download the best Lightroom presets (yes I have those for you) But what you need is to see as no one else sees. That’s what I want to show you today.

You’ll find the presets I use here on the site – They do matter because they make completing your vision easier. You can get my free lightroom presets and film styles like Filmist and Natural HDR.

Most photographers edit wrong, but not for the reasons they think!

In this video, we’re going head to head with the mistake that nearly every photographer has made, and may are doing every day. If you can get past this, it changes more than just how you edit. It’s going to change your photography mentality.


As I showed in the video. The perfect capture and the perfect edit are a myth. That’s what makes photography so amazing. There’s always something we can improve that will affect the emotion of your photo, or the lack of it.

Knowing how to edit, starts with knowing what you want. Presets and styles are invaluable because they help me find my look without wasting brain cells.

Black and white, color, contrasty, soft. Deciding does not have to be hard. here I used Filmist and Elegance 4 to give more depth and that’s it. You can get my free lightroom presets and film styles on the FIlmist page.

I usually start with Filmist because it works so well. But there’s something more important than what you edit with! That’s knowing what you want to create with your edit. An actual vision.

Ansel Adams taught this way back with visualization techniques and using Zones in our exposures. Something we studied at length in my Exposed Master Class and in Photo Perfect.

IN the end making the craft of your photography second nature, finding your confidence, even if you know it won’t be perfect. That is what will transform your photography. The tools you use just, are just things to help you get there.

I’ll explain it all in detail in the video. You can also watch it directly on my photography channel here

Enjoy and we’ll see you next time – Gavin Seim

I like capturing things people don’t even think about like the corner drug store because in 20 years everything will change and then simple photos like this will matter. But here it was easy, this was all about shadows and sunset. Using Silver 4 and Blackroom was a no-brainer.
The full gold chrome look that I talked about in this blog post. Decide your look hand and commit to it. It will change your perfective on every image you publish.

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  1. For me — an image displayed in both color and B&W says the photographer can't decide if one image is better than the other. In other words — the photographer is asking the audience to decide for them. In reality, both images might be weak. You're either committed to one mode or the other — not both at the same time.

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About the Author

Glad you're here.

I'm from WA State USA and started studying photography in 97. I started work as a pro (using that word loosely because I sucked) using film at age 16. I learned fast but was not as easy to find training then. Sometimes I beat my head against the wall until I figured stuff out.

As digital dawned I went all in and got to study with masters like Ken Whitmire. In 09 I founded the Pro Photo Show podcast. I started promoting tone-focused editing. When Lightroom arrived, I started developing tools to make editing and workflow better.

20 years of study and photography around the country earned me a Master of Photography (M.Photog) from PPA. I got to see my workshops and tools featured in publications across the industry. Once I even won the prestigious HotOne award for my "EXposed" light and tone workshop.

Wanting something calmer, I moved to Mexico in 2017. It's a land of magical light. I'm here now exploring light and trying to master my weak areas. I make videos of that for my Youtube channel, sharing what I learn. I hope you'll stick around and be part of Light Hunters Tribe... Gavin

Gavin Seim

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