June 12, 2024

Adobe Cloud was a trap from day one, even if it is a great deal compared to the alternatives. But there are issues with having one big dog and this week they got worse. Today we talk about how that affects us as photographers.

You decide. If you use my presets and decide to switch, all current packs include LR6 and Capture One files. Have Street’ist or Power Workflow for example. Just go access your downloads here and get the latest files.

Preset packs like Filmist and Natural HDR also include LUTS and those can be used in many apps like Affinity, DaVinci Resolve etc. In fact I edit nearly all my videos with FIlmist LUTS.

Also, all my Action packs, even the new Pictorialist work in CC and CS6 as well. So if you want to go subscription you can still get the iconic looks you’ve been getting for years.

Lots of people are dancing Adobe. But it’s not like the other options are all roses. Phase One scrwed over long-term perpetual license holders last year and Capture One cost more than LR and PS combined. Luminar is woefully lacking in processing quality and Affinity is not the best workflow system.

You don’t have to switch or cancel just because people are mad. Negativity is now always a good response. But it’s good Adobe is feeling the heat. This makes more room for competition and improvement and they should no that their actions are not OK!

As I talk about in the video this goes way beyond Adobe. There’s a trend of large companies who have us locked in switching up the rules and taking us to the cleaners. Netflix, Amazon, Adobe, the list is long.

My theory on this is depending on where you are, one service or another may be worth canceling. When companies abuse customers like Adobe is trying to do, then gaslight them, acting like nothing is wrong and they are crazy for being upset it’s right for people to respond.

But it’s not worth stressing about either. Don’t throw your summer wedding season into chaos just because everyone says we need to cancel. You decide!

I go more into the video. Adobe is indeed the most complete suite of tools for creatives.

But as I mentioned above, I work hard to make sure you have options and we are not totally locked in and I’m sure other developers are doing the same.

An established workshop is hard to charge. While Adobe is king, I am always trying to make sure we are not stuck. So for example I could switch to C1 as my main editor and all my tools still work. Even my Elegance Speed masks now work in Capture One.

I long ago switched to Resolve for video editing. There are Capture One, DXO, and others that may be possibilities for you. And for many older versions of Adobe tools works just fine.

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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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December 15, 2023

People have been talking a lot about Photoshop Generative Ai. But as I’ve shown in other videos, it lacks a lot. In today’s video, we see how good it is and ask, is Ai art the future?

You can get Fooocus free here and here’s a good video to get you started. You can also get the Lightroom and C1 film presets I used here.

I have been learning what AI can do outside the world of Adobe. Hint, it’s a lot and as photographers, we need to know what we are dealing with and how it will affect us.

The AI world is not waiting around. In fact you can download free open-source AI-generating apps like Fooocus right now, install whatever models you want, and create from scratch or edits.

There’s two kinds of photo AI. Assist Ai tools like we see in LR or Elegance Speed Masks.

Edits like I get from Silver or Power Workflow are natural and great. I can then refine those with Blackroom and other Photoshop tools. But how far should we take these AI edits?

Will this ruin photography? Should we use these tools, or reject them? What about the ethics of all this?

A real photo edited with Ai in-paint tools in Fooocus like Photoshop generative AI
In this real photo, Ai tools left our model alone in this real photo but changed the swimsuit into something entirely new.

Ai is not real and still lacks authenticity. This brings us to the controversy in Photography. AI changes everything. But I talk often on the podcast about the brave new world where everything feels fake. Does Photoshop Generative Ai and other Ai tools make that worse?

Ai is a tool and of course, stock photography and illustrative commercial work will start filling with AI images, But people are going to value real things and real photos in the coming years.

We can’t just ignore AI and that’s why companies like Adobe are going in heavy. We can live in denial like many photographers did when digital arrived and created their fate. We must stay on top of the tech and THEN decide whether to use it or not.

A fully Ai generated portrait
Fully AI-generated photos like this will be used a great deal in stock photos. But I think they will add more value to real photos.

With Ai images even being faked as journalism from war-torn countries, we’re already seeing a pushback. People are getting tired of fakes. new verification systems are being created.

AI images are not inherently wrong. Fakery and deception are. It’s important as photographers we maintain the standard of real photos and don’t lie about how our images were made.

Most can see the fakery. Ai images tend to be too perfect and not sold. That will improve, but I think the best use case for it is using AI tools to create better real-world results.

Are your Ai models made with licensed images? Is it fair use? These are big debates happening right now that many photographers and artists are upset about. Because Ai is simply re-creating concepts, poses, etc that real-world artists have already created.

Derivative works are a legit thing. You can study art or read books and be inspired by them and create your own. But how far is too far?

Photoshop Generative Ai is interetsing. But it’s far from the best tool for Ai jobs and where Ai will take us is still open to debate.

Let me know what you think in the comments – Gav

Fully AI-generated street image
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July 15, 2023

Using layers in Lightroom has improved a lot in the past year. In Photoshop it’s a lot the same and in Capture One nothing ever changes. But there are layers and that’s good for you.

There are 3 levels of edits and the secret layer makes them all easier.

They will make you edit faster but if you use them the way layers should be used, they will also help you ensure to don’t edit your photo wrong. That combo gives you the secret layer.

No longer second-guess your edits.

The secret layer consists of two parts really. #1 is perspective for your edit. #2 is quickly adjusting it and applying a more informed perspective to your edit instantly. Al the basic level this works with individual presets like Silver or more complex masks like Elegance creates for you.

Sometimes I shadow painting details manually. Or maybe I’m using fast tools like Lumist, Blackroom Black and White, or Signature Emulsion. Well-built actions like this create your layers stack so the secret layer is instantly ready.

Digital edits are easy to overcook when you start adding layers. But layers are also the secret to getting more dimensional and creative edits. Here I used GoldChrome and simply dialed it back in this level 1 edit.

How far should you edit?

We’ll look at 3 levels of editing in the video and using those as a guide is really useful because you can decide how far to go in each segment of your project. I only go to level 3 on my best images, which can vary.

In the portrait example in today’s video, I took it all the way to an illustrative look, but it would also be a lighter effect or just some simple atmospheric actions like Alchemist.

The secret layer varies in each app.

But the concept is the same. Some apps like Lightroom are more advanced. They reward you directly for supplying things as a preset as I show with masks. So you want to use that method if you create your own presets.

Photoshop is very powerful and uses a more ould school-layer approach.

Capture One doe the same though with a little less power because of the lack of stacking. That said you can still build edits on those layers and then control them to use the secret layer.

I hope you find this as exciting as me and put it to work right away. Leave your questions or tips in the comments.

Gavin Seim

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November 16, 2022

How I choose the best black-and-white method!

Black and White Photoshop style gives you more nuance while the RAW style of LR and C1 gives you more speed. So how do you decide?

“Gavin should I use, Silver presets, or BlackRoom actions?” people ask about the presets and actions I make. But this answer applies to however you edit. Let’s start with basics in this video.

Lightroom VS Photoshop for Black and White…

Don’t forget to grab the Silver 5 free sampler presets to try this yourself. Also you cab get BlackRoom and Emulsion here for more advanced PS edits.

Let’s see more examples then……

PRESETS” I always start with presets and Styles in Capture One such as Silver or Filmist. These are recipes that combine many settings to instantly create an edit in LR, RAW, etc. Presets can be used from Photoshop from within the Camera RAW filter (see this video on my channel)

This edited just fine in RAW. But by going into Photoshop and using BlackRoom actions I was able to refine it that much more.

Actions in Photoshop are like mini apps that run in PS. Commands that are run with one click. I create actions like BlackRoom, Lumist, and others. They use the native tools of Photoshop without PlugIns and can create in 30 seconds which would take me an hour to do manually. Giving me layers and effects to mix as I want but without the manual labor. Lightroom can’t use actions.

Look at this edit in LR vs Photoshop…

Actions make advanced edits in Photoshop much faster. Often people have Photoshop and take a file from Lightroom only to find they don’t know how to make it any better. But with time, or with actions that make atmospheric edits natural, Photoshop is easy and will always give you more tools.

This first photo is only a Lightroom edited using my Silver presets and some easy manual tweaks.


Next is the same shot editing in Lightroom but then taking into Photoshop where I used layers and BlackRoom actions. At a glance, they may not seem that better. But if you look closely see see much more control in specific tonal ranges, details, and more. When you make a print, these details matter.

LR RAW + Photoshop Layers and BlackRoom Actions

Yes, these are subtle things. But for serious black and white shooters, they change a lot of things.

Don’t edit ONLY in PS thinking it’s better. You will experiment less because it takes longer. Often making you less creative. Start with that basic RAW edit and go to Photoshop when you are ready for more by restoring the color channels while leaving your RAW tone edits in place. In my Silver pack, this can be done with the included mod preset.

LR or C1 is the starting point because its sliders, channels, and fast shadow control helps you create. Photoshop will give you more advanced and refined edits that you save right back into your photo library. If I use BlackRoom actions, the Photoshop part is fast with more detailed layer style controls that I don’t have in Lightroom.

So Lightroom VS Capture One for black and white?

There are always more choices and while I make tools for LR and C1 users, you need to decide how that fits in. Those are both RAW apps and neither replace Photoshop or even other pixel editors like Affinity. So in this second video let’s compare the apps LR and C1 in relation to Photoshop.

Photoshop is for when you’re serious!

You can almost think of Lightroom and Capture One as black-and-white film choices back in the day. It’s how you start. Then Photoshop is your Darkroom where you us native tools and layer mixes to make your image Ansel Adams-level perfect.

On a small screen, you may not see much difference. As a photographer who wants gallery quality, it’s a big difference. Black and white photographers who want the best do the final work in a layer-based editor like Photoshop. But I use a RAW editor for 90% of the photos. Having well-planned presets/styles, and actions is a must to expand creativity. Even if you make your own!

All of this matters. Even if you only use Photoshop in 5% of your photos, that 5% will be your best work. Think overlook how much those images can improve.

I hope you find this helpful in your Lightroom vs Black and White Photoshop questions. It’s really not a dilemma. Both are good! If it’s still confusing, let me know in the comments and I’ll try and address it in future videos on my channel.

Gavin Seim

Here we have a good Lightroom edit made quickly using Silver presets. One or two clicks and a little adjusting are needed.
The final photo, was taken further in Photoshop. I used BlackRoom actions to make it fast. It’s the control over details and atmosphere. On a small screen, you may not see the difference. But on my best photos going to print, the black and white Photoshop edit is more refined.
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