January 16, 2023

Curves are how most pros and quality presets control the detailed tones in a photo. But in today’s short video, I’ll show you a better way to use your curves. We’ve been using S Curve in photography since the dawn of digital. But this is the F Curve!

Why did I stop using the S Curve in my Photography?

Because after years of editing, and studying dynamic range. Creating popular editing packs like Natural HDR and Silver black and white. I realized the S curve was often overdriving on our edits.

So I started creating the F curve in my recipes. It gives contrast control, without giving you a crunchy, overly processed look. It does this because it’s based on chemical film processing and is more flexible.

In this video, I’ll show you how to use the F Curve!

If you want Lightroom presets or Capture One Styles you’ll find great examples of the F curve in the free sampler packs of Filmist Film presets and Silver 5 presets.

Also sub my channel for more videos like this one.

How to use the S curve in Photography today!

It’s easier to add fine control to an F curve because we’re not always looking for that S shape. A film-like curve is useful not only for recipes that require a film-like feel. It simply works on nearly everything.

It might feel like an S curve when you start. But don’t stop there. Pull down the highlights and then lift a little in the middle, pull the shadow area a bit down and the black a bit up. You can vatu this any way you want. Just keep the curve smooth and maintain that highlight drop as needed.

I didn’t have a name for this, I just knew this simple course was giving me results that felt better in most situations, and I started using it a lot. It was only after years of applying this that I realized how simple it was and started calling it the Filmic Curve, or the “F” curve.

Gradually, I started using the normal photography S Curve less and applying variants that merged it into F curve. I watched as my own presets and edits got smoother, with better highlights and even better shadows and contrast.

It’s a simple tweak that transforms your edits.

Notice how the Filmic presets curve rolls off far more than a photography S Curve
An F curve can start like an S curve. But the way it drops on top is the key factor in the result. You can then mix shadow lift and drop.

But without Shadow, your curves mean nothing!

When I started developing Filmist film presets years ago, I realized that Film has a softer highlight roll-off than digital has a hard sensor. Contrasting lenses and easy-to-move editing soldiers were getting over-curved. especially with the traditional digital photography s curve.

A curve can add or remove your shadow. The S-curve in photography can quickly pop highlights or put some punch into shadows, and often it works well. The problem is that it tends to do the same thing to every photo, and while it boosts contrast in the edit, you lose fidelity in the roll-off details.

Tone roll-off is a big deal. And what most don’t realize is that you don’t always need to push up highlights because they are actually very perception based.

That highlight will seem BRIGHT depending on the tone of the shadows that surround them. To learn more about shadows watch this video on my channel. In short, combining smooth highlight roll-off with organic feeling shadow gives you a rich result.

A subtle Ektar based F curve is a lot like the S Curve in Photography but distinct
In this Ektar recipe from Filmsit the F curve is already part of the process giving a subtle highlight rolloff like film.

The F Curve will replace your S curve crutch!

So instead of the S Curve in your photography, us the F curve because you better control the shadow dimension and how that relates to your highlights as they roll off perfectly, just as they did with Film!

You also won’t always feel like you have to create that S shape will open up how you use the tones in each photo.

I hope you found this useful and will spread it around because the F curve really is better than the S Curve. Please spread this around and let me know what you think in the comments.

Gavin Seim

The s curve in photography works fine, but my changing to a filmic curve you improve everything like in this P\ortra look
A strong double drop at the top of this F curve softens the specular highlights that were a problem in the portrait processed with a Portra look.
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October 25, 2022

Expose to the right (ETTR) has been preached relentlessly for years in digital photography. But does it actually help?

I think now. In my recent shadow hackers workshops (join the next class here) this has come up and it made me think about how prolific this dated technique still is. Tell me what you think in the comments.

In the video, I’ll show you why ETTR is not usually right. It’s not always wrong to be Expose To The Right to achieve something. But using this as a general exposure tool in photography will lead to worse images.

How did ETTR happen and should you actually use it?

You can watch this on my channel, subscribe and comment there also.

When I made the Exposed workshop covering nearly possible approaches to exposure, we didn’t focus on ETTR because when you know what exposure or that light meter is telling you, you rarely need to expose to the right.

Like every idea or rule, it’s not really a rule. So in the end, if you get great exposures you win. But I think if you start hunting the shadows and exposing “right”, rather than TO the right you’ll see a transformation in how well you expose and edit.

It does not matter what you are shooting!

If you know the principles of exposure, your histogram, zones, and settings. They will soon become automatic. You’ll see yourself start to create naturally, knowing the light and the shadow like an old friend.

Let me know what you think – Gav

You can also

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September 29, 2022

Should stop buying Canon cameras, or is this fine?

Canon just pissed a lot of customers off. I don’t think it will make them more money in the end. We have a lot of Canon uses here and I was a huge Canon guy for years. But we have a problem and I want you to tell me what you think.

Companies may be able to make products that “prevent” customers. Like by killing lenses such as the Viltrox 85mm. But ignoring your customer can be a fatal mistake.

That’s what Kodak learned before they went bankrupt in 2012!

A lot of you know me for Lightroom presets, Photoshop actions, and Capture One styles. But you may not know that long before that I had the photo podcast and even now I do a lot of non LR/PS videos on my YouTube channel.

Kodak is perhaps one of the greatest marketing lessons in modern history. They were KING of moments for a century. They invented the digital Camera. Then tried to snuff it. By being out of touch with their market, Kodak fell from nearly 150,000 employees in the 80s and 16 BILLION in sales in 1996, to Bankrupcyin 2012..So how does that relate to Canon?

I’m going to talk about that AND show you why the expensive lens is not always the one you need in today’s video.

Imagine how the course Photoshop would have been different if they has locked of us creators, plugin developers, and third-party partners in the name of the intellectual property. You would not even be coming here for my Lightroom presets.

Since I’ve commented on Canon for many years and seen this arc. The truth is Canon is no longer king and they are lashing out! So I thought I would make a video and share of a few of those stories and what has led us to this Canon fiasco. I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments here or on my channel.

Respecting customers is first.

I don’t have a Viltrox lens myself as of writing this. But if you use my products you know that despite being a one-man band, I work hard to make sure customers are happy. Because without customers your intellectual property, your marketing. your tech is pretty much useless.

There’s nothing wrong with Canon cameras. or third-party lenses What’s wrong is Canon! Now Canon is about to find out if their customers will allow themselves to be treated this way.

Gavin Seim

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September 10, 2022

Platinum, Cyanotype, Colldoain, and Seleneum are all inside the Emulsion 4 darkroom actions pack.

Emulsion 4 has been out for a week making dakroom actions easier than ever. Now I made a complete series on how it works and how to create amazing effects with them. And I finished the Emulsion 4.1 update which brought even more refinements including my new favorite Platinum mix based on very finely made soft platinum prints from the darkroom.

If you don’t want to read this… Go watch the complete playlist on my channel.

A lot of people avoid actions because they don’t want to use Photoshop even though they have it. There missing out because there is no easier way to use Photoshop. The experienced user is more creative and saves countless hours while the new user gets advanced effects simply and learns more along the way.

Emulsion takes completed layer mixes in Photoshop and makes them easy regardless of Photoshop experience level. But I’ve been listening. People have been saying, Gavin, we want more detailed videos So for Emulsion 4, I just finished a complete training series and uploaded it as a playlist on YouTube.

This is basic training, but you can watch the complete playlist here.

There are videos on installing Emulsion 4 all the way to advanced user guides that show you how I like to each use of the chemical emulsion in the action pack.

There is a separate video for how to create Cyanotype, how to manage all the PLatainum Palldidum effects, how to use Selenium toning for digital, and how the Wet Colldoain effects can be mixed in many ways.

The main thing to remember as you use EMulsion or any of my other actions like Blackroom, Lumist, Naked Darkroom etc. Is that I develop these to make complex tasks easy, not take away control like so often happening in plugins.

After every action, you have all the layers and all the control. If you are not very experienced in Photoshop it’s fine, just use the look as you see it and gradually start playing with layers. If you are experienced, the sky is the limit and you can tinker more. Either way, you’ll save a ton of time because Emulsion 4 is doing the hard work for us.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think of Emulsion and this training format. Or tell me what videos I need to make to add to this playlist. Either way I’m here tp help you with Emulsion 4 so you can creat amazing chemical tones photographs.

Gavin Seim

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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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