September 2, 2023

You don’t want to miss today’s video. For 20 years I’m been beaten with ads and presentations of lighting, modifiers, and the great tools that will finally make me a true Master Photographer. I spent a lot. In the end, becoming a Master was just a lot of competing, studying, and hard work. And I learned other things.

You can just any light and you don’t want to miss this video.

I used Silver Presets and Filmist for the portraits in this. You might also find Lumist actions a great tool to manuapate your light and shadows after.

Shadow and a touch of light.

If you’ve not been to one of my free Shadow Hacker workshops I recommend you come. You won’t regret it and it will transform how you see as it’s like no class you’ve attended.

Using any light has always worked. But with a foundation of shadow, I’ve learned we think differently. The shadow is your base and you layer light over it where needed to create your photo.

This is why random lights make everything easier.

Using any light makes you practice and not focus on the best gadget. But small inexpensive lights like flashlight photography also give you a fluid flexibility to just play with shadow and lay light over it, bounce it off things, and make tone happen.

I teach a lot of technical things about photography and over the years I’ve tried to make the more and more simple. When you understand the flexibility of light and shadow creating a photograph becomes intuitive and you know how to move photons where you need them.

Save your money…

What I’m showing you today is both a technique and a review. Fancy lights and modifiers can be useful. But you only need them when you have a specific task for those tools.

As someone who is somewhat of a gearhead over the years I know being too focused on tools actually distracts us from creating. Sure good tools are great, but sometimes the basic tool you have in the glove box is generally better.

Start playing with any light. Use flashlights in photography like I showed. Grand the little flash that is easy and small. Use the light that just feels good in your hand and to your brain.

Hack shadow and you start to Light everything with anything.

This is not just for portraits or streets. It’s landscapes and buildings and trees. if there’s an ESP equal in photography it’s shadows. But you see shadows with light.

Should you get a strobe and a softbox of beauty dish if you’re a portrait photographer? Probably, but it does not need to be the expensive one, it does not need to be TTL. Once you start to know light based on shadow, you want to be manual and simple.

Go use any light and see what happens… Gav

Read More

June 17, 2023

“Go to the bathroom,” My mentor told me – After 15 years, I saw it. These free online photography courses are game-changing.

Shadow Hackers LIVE

With Gavin Seim. 

Wed July 6th | 11AM CST (UTC-6)

  0  7
  2  2
  1  8
  3  8

Sign up $69 Free

Super insightful and inspiring

Thanks, Gavin, super insightful and inspiring! Already applied this in my photos.

This free online photography course is LIVE and teaches you the critical things every photo course ignores.

I’ve taught classroom and online photography courses for 15 years But none compare to Shadow Hackers. This is my free online photography course that will ignite your photography in one day.

I’m Gavin Seim. I’ve been a photographer for over 20 years. You may be thinking. “Ugh, another crappy online photo webinar about things I already know!” — It’s not I guarantee you.

Platinum portrait from Shadow hackers  online photography course

You’re about to see everything in your photos!

And nothing will be the same once you do. I’ve been building the Shadow hacking method for a decade and no one else is teaching what I’m about to show you. In one hour I’m going to challenge everything you know.

Have you ever taken a great photo but not know why it worked so well? Or took a shot and expected a great photo, only to be disappointed? I’ll show you why.

I’m Gavin Seim, a Master photographer, YouTuber, and host of the Pro Photography Podcast.

It was the early 2000s when digital blew up. I realized that to survive in photography, I had to stand out. I traveled. I paid for classes. I studied with the top photographers. I wanted to become a Master of Photography and when I finally did in 2017, I realized that was just the start.

Street Photography Mexico - Shadow Hack free online photography courses

Photo schools and conferences won’t teach you this stuff…

This may sound dramatic, but it was a dramatic change for me! You may be where I was 15 years ago. You may be newer, or advanced. But you’re here because you want to be BETTER! It took me so many years of advanced photography study to discover what I’m showing you in these free online photography courses. 

A glimpse of what I’m going to teach you!

  • Cameras don’t tell you the “right exposure”.  Here’s how you do it!
  • The secret to dramatic photos is NOT actually light and this is why!
  • Easily combine art and science to instantly improve your photography!

The actually free online photography course will transform your photography fast.

The reason is that most photo teachers don’t know this. These secrets are not common and have been lost over the years since digital.

Have you ever felt like you’re missing a link to something important, but you’re so close so you keep looking? Finding the information was not as easy in those days and it’s surprisingly hard even with the internet.

When I started grasping bits of this I was blown away. I called my friend who was a long-time rep for a major camera brand and said… why did no one tell me this It felt so strange because I would never see light and shadow the same again.

That was the year I started documenting and trying to make it simple. The next year I started filming the award-winning Exposed workshops. But the process was not complete. Over a decade later, I made this free online photography course to make it easier to start out.

Shadow Hackers free online photography courses for those who want to step ahead of the pack.

I remember discovering something early one early on, standing in the window of my studio. I asked my friend

“Why did no one tell me this about photography?”

He laughed and said… “They don’t teach that stuff anymore!

I needed to understand the secrets of the masters that they never complied into one course. When I finally discovered these I knew I had to make free online photography courses to share it. Techniques to get great photos every day, not just when things go well. No tool or software makes you a great photographer. Knowing this does!

I started shooting large-format films. I was understanding tones, the truth about light meters, and finally the truth about SHADOW. It changed everything and pushed me to become a PPA Master Photographer and create my HotOne award-winning Exposed workshop. But it was not enough.

Now it’s 2022 and photographers are still not being taught this. We’re going to change that together. I’ve compressed this into a LIVE workshop that makes the 3 secrets of shadow hacking simple and challenges everything you know. And once you know. You will spread it.

HDR Seattle - Seims free online photography courses

I came back to my mentor, the legendary Whitmore, and said. 

“This changes everything. I don’t know if I can see normally again”

Ken laughed because to him it was normal. The man that had given me only the film holders for a 4×5 camera then told me to go sit in the bathroom. He didn’t think about it like this because it was normal.

A LIVE online photography course, not another marketing replay!

When I started with film in the ’90s. There was no redo button. If you listen. This will change your photography faster than you ever thought possible. I’m going to show you, for free. 

This is a real LIVE class, not an automated webinar. There will never be another just like it. The class will be 70-80 minutes and there no replay. So set your calendar and don’t miss this opportunity.

Sign up above and I can’t wait to see you there. Gavin Seim

Read More

June 7, 2023

It was 2013 and I had been attending and teaching at the Wall Portrait Conference for a few years. But there was always something new to learn especially from Ken.

This man inspired most of the things I teach today in my Photography workshops and talk about on the Pro Photography Podcast. There were a half dozen of us in this small class and here’s the video found from that day.

There are not many videos of masters like Ken, Ansel Adams, and others from his time. But Whitmire carried on into the digital age.

So most people that go to a rockstar photographer’s class at the photo conference don’t realize that what they are being taught about being a profitable portrait studio is usually from Ken. He and others of the time like Stephen Wolf invented this stuff and creates that part of the industry. Ken has more awards than you could fit in your studio and was the Ansel of the portrait.

Ken taught the portrait industry.

Ken showed them how to create the Canvas Wall Portrait and in fact, he and colleagues like Stephen Wolf that came out of the 50’s era were the ones that create the idea of high-end canvas photo prints long before there was inked.

So when you see us young guys talking about projecting or selling wall art or creating art decor. We didn’t invent that. We learned it from Ken if we were lucky or we learned it from classes taught by photographers that Ken taught over the decades right up until he passed away in 2016.

My favorite portrait of Ken I took while helping him on a session on the Oregon Coast.

I shot this clip, a rare look inside Ken’s WPC classrooms.

It was often dark in these classes for projection and video was not as easy then. This was taken at Wall Portrait Conference, a 6-day workshop at Kens Studio that happened every Spring in Yakima Washington. Probably on an iPhone 4. I never named the file, and I never noticed it until today when I discovered it on my hard drive.

The also was bad, so I used Adobe AI POdcast audio took to restore it. It helped a lot, but that’s why it sounds a little strange at times as the audio had faded and the Ai is trying to restore it.

Wall Portrait Conference is not around anymore. But its message lives.

Even if it was, it would not be quite the same. Ken was always the engine behind WPC. Teaching is different now. It’s always an up-selling product, trying to be exclusive It’s TikTok youtube, and digital marketing. Those have value for us (well not TikTok). But us kids from this generation still can’t replicate his energy or his willingness to share. Nothing was held back in Ken’s classes and none of us could keep up.

When you go all in as I did in those days learning from Ken. When you stop thinking small and sell like this, you sell art for walls and it can transform your business. In this new world of fakery and Ai content, I think that authentic portraits like this will become even more important to people.

Ken passed in late 2016 and we all miss him. Here’s his tribute video as well as a few more cuts on creating and selling Wall portraits from Ken and from what he taught me in those years. There was only one and at least, we have videos like this to remind us.

Gavin Seim

Another gold clip from ken I found a few years back on raising the quality of our work.
A small history of Photography documentary Ken and I made for my Photo Perfect Master Class.
An early video I made about how I implemented Wall Portrait in my own studio.
Read More

February 3, 2023

It took me years to learn that consistency, style, and editing speed are directly linked. Many new photographers think editing slower means a better edit. In general, the opposite is true!

1. Why Speed_Mods improve your photography style and speed.

I’ve shown you how editing mods create a better editing result and speed in Lightroom and Capture One. Today I will break down how they are made and how to use them better.

Like Speed-Masking in Lightroom, Speed_Mods are included in my preset packs and you can make your own. They let you take any recipe and make it your own but without wasting a second. So, lets not waste any seconds and jump right into todays video.

2. Your style starts with consistency!

I know firsthand that finding a style can take time and that you sometimes can’t seem to decide. Part of the issue is that we have SO MANY EDITING OPTIONS that we lose focus.

It’s not wrong to have various flavors in your photos. But your style can be defined not only by how you shoot, but also by the nuance of your edit. Most overthink this, so they are always searching. But your recipes combined with Speed_Mods will help you stay the course, and your style will shine through every time.

When you create or use presets in Lightroom, the goal is not to create the same photo as everyone else. Just like when you shot Portra 160, it did not mean your photos were meant to look like the rest of the world.

Things like this Xpan 65×24 crop can help you define your style. And film edits and mods do the same.

3. Recipes are like your Film, Mods are like your chemicals.

If you use Filmist and add Porta or Ekrar or Classic Negative, those looks are a base recipe that has been proven to work millions of times.

Buy using a recipe (like choosing a film) you create a aesthetic, but just like in the darkroom we could then shift shadows, tones and details by how we developed, not you can adjust that recipe to your liking.

Of course going straight to granular sliders is fine. But say I apply Silver 5 wet plate look like I did in the video and I want a more HDR feel. I can go and play with sliders of I can simply apply the HDR mod from mod-kit presets. The speed-Mod gives me a refined process based on testing and I am done in a moment.

Professional software is about being able to find your creative edge and your style. Just like for 20 years we’ve used Actions in Photoshop, the RAW editing apps made for pros will always have tools like presets and styles to let us create more and faster.

In the viddeo we see how this photo started as a bit of a dud. But we found the style in it that fit with my theme by having the right mods recipes.

4. Photographers who know their own style!

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen people say. Don’t use presets, don’t buy presets, make your own style. It’s like saying, find a harder way and use that instead. Pros want all the tools at their command.

There’s nothing wrong with making your own presets and styles like I show you in this video how to plan your own Speed_mod presets. Just don’t put up walls to your creality.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours refining packs like Silver, Natural HDR and Filmist. (all of these have free packs) Why? Because once a work is built, it can be used again and again and I don’t have to waste those hours to maintain the creative style I use with those presets and a few mods.

Recipes and mods combined like this will elevate your editing speed and style, and I hope you’ll give it a try and tell me in the comments what you think.

Gavin Seim

Mods like Speed Masks that I use in Elegance 4 let me use advanced tools fast and try them, that means I try more things to get the look I was going for. Speed, recipes and good mods means a more focused edit, not a generic edit.
Many mods can work. By finding a recipe I like this bold warm Gold-Chrome look, I can then mod to make the style fit my visualization . Staying consistent and strong in my shadows and presentation.
Read More

June 20, 2022

The topic of Lightroom VS Capture one comes up a lot.

I am a little bit of an expert since everyone one of my Lightroom Develop Presets Packs also comes, and a Styles Pack for Capture One Pro and I’ve been using both for many years.

I’ve compared various things about Lightroom and Capture One and I have the main video for 2022 that compares Lightroom VS Capture One in a wide sense so you can decide which one is best for you.

YOu can even try the edit yourself with the RAW file below and the free lightroom preset and free capture one style I’ll link below. You can also share your results on the Shadow Hunters group post for this.

Try it – Download the RAW file for today’s test here.

So today is about a simple portrait edit. BUt not really an easy one because of the tricky light. This is a perfect test to see how we use Lightroom and Capture One in the real world for a great portrait edit and which one offers the best features.

Both edits are clean and have gentle differences from Lightroom to Capture OnePro

Download the Portra 160 Preset/Style I use in the video for FREE in the FIlmist Mini Pack.

Watch the video and see side-by-side edits and some tips for editing great portraits in both.

Lightroom is a little more initiative and has better Ai tools. Capture One is more nuance and control. They are close!

In the end, both are good and both have their advantages. But watch the video and I’ll show you some ups and downs. Whether you use Lightroom Classic, CC, or Capture One Pro 22, you can get great results and we’ll see them in today’s video.

Let me know which one you like best and why, or if there’s another app you favor for your RAwe editing, I’d like to hear about it in the comments.

Read More