Stop using contrast. There’s a better way to create perfect photo contrast.

Photo contrast was normal in film but is so misunderstood in digital. And the contrast slider is not helping. Not yet attended Shadow Hackers LIVE? It’s a game-changer. Sign up here for free.

I’ll show you how to create great photo contrast and stop the slider.

You can check out the tools I mentioned like the new Silver 5.3 black and white presets Filmist and Blackroom. Also if you own Silver 5 login and update here.

Contrast is not a slider – That’s the problem.

I make use of contrast. But not like they teach us. The contrast slider It’s last on the list, not first.

This week I worked on Silver Presets v 5.3 and there are a bunch of new updates which I’ll show in today’s video. But what I teach you in today’s video is actually where the refinements of Silver came from this week.

In general digital photography is pushing everything too far to the right and in today’s video we’ll see how that does not improve our photo contrast and we[‘re being taught contrast all wrong.

Photo contrast in good conditions is easy
You can’t fake it. Perfect morning mist, light mixed with shadow THEN good processing wins.

Silver 5.3 update.

I always use what I discover to improve our editing tools. Today is no exception.

Today’s video was my mindset when I did the Silver 5.3 Black and White presets update. I’ll cover the updates briefly in the video as they related to this. But even if you’re making your own presets take note because these tips are really powerful in black and white presets. If you own V5 already you can log in and update.

Shadows hold your photo contrast hostage.

SO you have to hack the shadows. You may be watching this video as a primer before my shadows hackers. But the slice of shadow we focus on today in managing photo contrast and ending our reliance on the slider is very powerful.

Here the photo contrast is plain and no  exiting will make it great
Even with a Classic Chrom Filmist edit, this flat photo lacks direction. The shadows don’t lead the eyes.

Photo Contrast is the heart of your photo.

It’s not always the same. Sometimes that contrast means deep blacks, other times misty darks that blend with bold highlights. It’s the separation they create that I teach in other workshops and videos using Zones, editing, and in-camera techniques that lets us draw them out.

It’s the mixing of all this combined with the organic emotion or impact of a photo that brings it all together to make a great image filled with perfect photo contrast.

Go try these tips in your Photo contrast and then go further with Shadow Hacking.

Gavin Seim

Dark tones still can be full of photo contrast

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  1. Very interesting. For a few years now I have collaborated with photographers and telling them that I shoot differently from the "experts". I expose differently, I process differently. They keep saying ….but the experts don't say that. I have been telling people…we talk light, but we mean shadows. This is nothing knew as you point out in this video. I am wondering now if most photographers have been trying to keep this a "secret". I look forward to seeing your interpretation of shooting the shadows.

  2. Gav, A good video about the disappearing shadow. I have actually been troubled by this lately. Nice pictures, good color, but missing something. You hit the nail on its head and have me thinking. Thanks.

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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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