July 15, 2022

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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April 29, 2022

It took me 20 years to find this because no one taught it until now.

In this primer on shadow hacking I’m going to share was I found. If you follow my work you have seen me shift focus to shadow over light. Not to say ignore light, but that there so much focusing on the light has only caused us to learn half of what makes great photos.

Not signed up for my Shadow-Hackers LIVE class? Sign up it here.

Should you lift or drop shadows? Push or pull exposure. How do we bend the shadow in new ways and why doe sit matter. Today I’ll show you some examples and if you attend my Shadow Hackers hackers class you’ll be ahead of the curve for watching this.

Look for where your shadows are broken and stop photographing light.

I hope this is coming across. I promise that if you start looking to photograph shadow, it’s going to change how you use to light your camera and what kind of results you get. Try this and see for yourself.

Gavin Seim

Things I used to edit with today…
My new Elegance Speed Masks… seimeffects.com/elegance
Filmist, get my free presets… seimeffects.com/filmist/
Lumist actions… seimeffects.com/lumist
BlackRoom actions… seimeffects.com/blackroom
Natural HDR4… seimeffects.com/dynamic

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September 20, 2019

Line is one of the lesser studied critical aspects of photography and I try to make a point of talking about it. So in today’s video, we do. Make sure you sub our YouTube of you want more content like this.

I shot a while back in the redwoods of Northern California and recorded a video about using lines. I can’t think of any place better to demonstrate that than beneath the eaves of these giants.

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July 26, 2018

Jungle Camping with a trailer with my wife and 5 kids in Jalpan de Serra, Mexico.

This is not what they told me!

Is this paradise of natural beauty, friendly people, amazing food and street photography? Or is this a place where cartels sell me to the highest bidder? I’ve been in Mexico for months and I’ve camped in beaches, at resorts, in parking lots and gravel pits. What I learned is that if you want to expand your photography and your sense of adventure, Mexico might be the best road trip you’ve taken yet. Be ready to bring a home amazing photos of incredible places you probably never knew existed.

We’ve spent hundreds of days camping in the last 5 years. But the USA is less than half of America. So now we’re in Mexico, past the border town and beautiful deserts that many think Mexico is made entirely of. We’ve towed our RV all over Mexico with our van and met many amazing people. On the coast, we found beautiful warm beaches in near peaceful fishing towns. Speaking of fishing towns, Yavaro is about 10 minutes from this spot and as you come into town there a little restaurant on the right with the most AMAZING shrimp platter you have ever had for about 5 bucks.

Heading inland we discovered everything from Jungles to mountains to water parks filled by hot springs. We found climates that are friendly year around and culture that is just as warm to our large family. I’ve heard lots of terrible things about Mexico while seeing them downplay the terrible things happening in my own country. What I did not hear, is what Mexico is really like.

El Trampoline, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. 21.953459, -99.392477. There is camping 50 feet from where I took this photo.


I think I better put the coffee on.

We’ve traveled to about 10 States, including some of the ones our government says NEVER visit. Obviously, you should be careful, but that goes for the USA as well (here’s looking at you Chicago). I learned that propaganda is controlling us too much. Mexico is an amazing country with great people and a lot of freedom. In the USA there’s always a park ranger to harass us, or someone to bully for holding a camera. In Mexico, you just do your thing. If you are respectful, they are respectful. There are also far fewer rules in just about every area of life. Meaning if you can find an empty place, you can probably camp there.

If you’re uncertain about safety, find a campground or use an app like iOverlander for suggestions of safe places to stop.

But the violence Gavin? This is what we from the USA hear every freaking day. Less so if you live in other countries. Yes, there problems. But most of what you see about Mexico is propaganda meant to keep you in fear. Don’t join a cartel and you’re not likely to have trouble. In fact, us gringos are LESS likely to be murdered in Mexico than in the USA. Use your head just like you would boondocking it of the US.

The photo at the top might be a good starting trip. There’s beach access here at coordinates: 26.69624 -109.60719. We got stuck trying to camp on the landward side of these dunes and some locals helped us out. Super nice people for the 4×4 club. They suggested camping on the seaside and interior side has scorpions. If you want a little more security about 200 yards up the beach is the Hotel Miarador Campground. That’s where this photo was taken. Though we also boon-docked on the beach with no problems.

A new country with a new culture and a different language takes some getting used to. But what does not take long is realizing what a beautiful place this is to visit. You might even decide to stay.

Gavin Seim


Here we are in Playa Huatabampito in Sonora Mexico with our 4×4 converted Express van and a Tepui RTT.


The van’s tuned Duramax will also tow our beast of an RV up the mountain pass at 70MPH


Street photography in Real de Catorce Mexico.

I hired some models for a photo shoot in central Mexico. More about that in this post.

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January 11, 2017

washington starscapes

This is another starscape I made in Washington. I’ve been working to do exposures that are long, but not so long that the stars trail. This one I exposed at 10 seconds.

I had to use 12,800 to do it, but the detail is great and it prints beatifically. This went loan as 2016 International Competition. — Seim

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