May 16, 2024

Most viral photos you see now are Ai AI-generated FAKES. And the more you comment and say it’s fake, the more the algorithm rewards them. There’s no point in pretending. So how does Cinematic Technique help us win?

Get more cinematic faster with my Pictorialist action kit or tools like Alchemist.

Studying pictorialism helped me see that all this fake Ai photography has no emotion. We win when we stop thinking sterile and boring. If we to discover cinematic techniques with true feeling.

Cinematic photography. Feeling and emotions. Think about when you watch a great movie or see a show. You don’t want perfect sterile blandness. You want to feel emotion and life!

The feeds are full of Ai fakery because compared to plain boring photos they seem incredible and people don’t know. How do we complete impossible scenes that blow people’s minds? But creating more emotional photos in camera and in post.

I would love to say. hey use my Pictrialist actions, my Filmist presets, Emulsion etc and you will always have amazing cinematic photography.

But I don’t make these tools to fake it. As I showed you in the video by re-wiring your editing process you will discover the emotion you already felt taking a photo. And you should feel something.

This starts in the camera. You can go back and edit with pictorialism and cinematic photography in mind and vastly improve past photos. But when you start planning for it in Camera, everything goes to 110%

A dramatic photo means in the camera and in the edit. Cinematic Technique give you that.

Even if you have a strong style, it will get stronger as you edit for cinematic photography and emotion. You still need to experiment and feel what’s inside each photo.

I’m a photographer who makes large prints. So details matter. But it’s not always about the max megapixels or sharpest lens. Pictalism has taught me that emotion is first. yes, I maintain detail, but the blur is not always what it seems, and mixing detail with less detail creates atmosphere, emotion, and focus.

Pictorialism gives you a Cinematic Technique and is the essence of conveying real feelings in your photos. Because of that, it’s the opposite of what fake Ai based images create. You may not approach every photo as a pictorial. But once you know how, you see everything in a new way.

Gavin Seim

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January 11, 2024

I’m on a mission to change that and I want my first video of the year to do that. Most photographers don’t realize that photographic tone is the secret skill that makes them understand every shot. Today we learn it…

But videos like this did not exist when I was starting out. These are the 3 keys of tone in photography so you can master them fast regardless of your experience level. And they will change how you create photos.

MORE TIPS: Get free ticket to my next Shadow Hackers LIVE workshop to take this further. Also in the video, I mentioned Filmist film presets, Silver 5, Natural HDR, and Lumist Actions.

The unabashed flaring of the sun gives a natural haze to this morning street that can’t be done with a single slider. It was processed gold using GoldChrome

The photographic tone is the foundation of great photos. But the tone is a wide-ranging one that comes from the painters and the way they learned to understand shadow and contrast long before cameras.

This is the lost skill in Photography that I go on deeper in my workshops and today I’m sharing the keys to unlock this door in the simplest way I know how. IN consists of 3 elements that lead us to what tone does for us and why it is important.

  1. Shadows create contrast
  2. Contrast reveals tone
  3. Tone creates atmosphere

These 1,2,3 lists mean little to your photographic tone without context. So in the video, we’re comparing different photos to see how not only edits but how shadow contrast and ambiance in each will define our result.

IN another Xpan style crop we see light creating bloom and reducing contrast. The net result is that tone is more subtle and more contrast is created in the overall image. Edited with Street’ist.

In my Exposed Master class, we learn everything about exposure and zones. Those are the technical aspects. But if you’ve been to Shadow Hackers or seen the Photo Perfect workshop you know that combining those with the artist’s aesthetic is what makes a great photo.

In the end, the tone is pretty simple and yet subjective. But if you constantly remind yourself of the three factors. Shadow, contrast, and tone, which is the combination of all the light and dark and mist and color. All of them combined create a tone in your own style.

We see the contrast between the burned tree and the tone of the model. Then edited with a David Hamilton-inspired process to create softness with contrast and balanced photographic tone.
We see the contrast between the burned tree and the tone of the model. Then edited with a David Hamilton-inspired process to create softness with contrast and a balanced photographic tone.

As much as I use sliders and settings and layers inside and out in my tool packs. Tone-like shadow is not created by the slider it’s just moved around.

When we use contrast to just create hard lines we lose tonal nuance and atmosphere. In the end, the contrast of the overall scenes is less, and viewers don’t see the nuance you wanted to show.

If you missed my video on why you should STOP using contrast sliders go check it out and also read my post about how to use the Zone system in digital to hack shadows. You’ll find more on my channel.

As I keep building these free resources and simplifying the process of understanding tone I help myself learn more and hopefully, you as I realize a dream that’s spanned 20 years to make a simple process for those of us who want to truly master our style in photography.

We compare two of these in the video. Note how the tone of this one is softened but less distracting than what might be called the contrast image.
We compare two of these in the video. Note how the tone of this one is softened but less distracting than what might be called the contrast image. Edited with Filmist.
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