May 12, 2024

Pictorialism is about emotion over perfection and famous pictorialists like Stegliz, Coburn, Hamilton and many more helped create the fine art world of photography we know today!

That’s why I dig in to create Pictorialist Actions. A PS editing add-on focused on making amazing pictorialist edits. There are lots more samples, info, and videos on the pictorialist page.

You can get Pictorialist here as well as see more samples and video.

A while back I started studying pictorialism. These photos are from early-era to iconic portrait photographers like David Hamilton. I had wanted something like this for years on digital.

So we made it and it was not easy. Today I made you a hands-on training workshop on how to create photography pictorialism in Photoshop using these new actions and why it’s so good.

photography pictorailism and editing in photoshop

At this level. The answer is a definitive no. Sure we can use clarity and shoot like pictorialists in camera. But deep edits like this are not what RAW editors do.

Of course, don’t need my actions to create these high-depth photography pictorialism edits on your photos. You do need layers, a deep understanding of blurs and blending modes, and tools that are well outside of Lightroom or C1.

Yes, you can do amazing things in raw editors. if you’ve used my Filmist presets or my Elegance Ai Speed-masks you have seen just so far we can fo in modern RAW editors. It’s amazing.

Creating pictorialism in photography is more. Yes, it starts with a camera and you can shoot in a pictorialist style for sure. But getting this kind of control needs layers and nuance.

Stop being afraid of Photoshop. That’s why I made today’s video to show you that complex things like this can be easy.

Orton effect photography pictorailism.

Do photography and pictorialism differ?

Yes because when in the darkroom or on digital, pictures-based editing is about not perfect perfect or always accurate. But it’s also not Ai fakery. You use editing and techniques in camera and post to convey a more emotionally complex image. But not always a sharper one.

It’s a delicate balance and that’s why Pictorialist actions are really mind-blowing. They create a balance that you can then adjust quickly to fit your vision.

You can edit and mix and blur and create photography that is both real but also fine art and emotion. Pisctsorism reinforces the idea the idea that artistic editing is OK. But the edits are real. They are working with a real scene from camera to print and showing your vision.

photography pictorailism alfred Stegliz style editing

And I think we need that right now.

Nealy every image you see going viral online is fake. But as a pictorialist you can say, I’m creating something dramatic but it’s real. And people need real in these sterile times.

It can be deeply creative and atmospheric. But it’s all based on real-world and you as the photographer view it as a slice of time.

Go try editing like a pictorialist and see the magic that ensues. And of course, if you want to make it even better try my Pictorialist actions. They’re guaranteed!

David Hamilton style effects using pictorialist actions
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January 4, 2024

Pro Photography Podcast
Pro Photography Podcast #208 | Are new cameras worth it?
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Photography Podcast Host: Gavin Seim.

Leave a comment below, or talk about this week’s episode right here on the Shadow Hunter Facebook group. Also, don’t miss the next Shadow Hackers Online Workshop for Free.

On this week’s Pro Photography Podcast… Should you buy a new camera?

Check out the new Filmist 2 film presets because the film looks in them and real and I’ve been working for months to finish them.

Fimlist free film presets and styles - Pro photo podcast

Your phone camera is getting Ai and noise is not a bad thing in real photos so do you need a new camera body? Because they are expensive now.

Videos and other important things mentioned on this show.

Check out the new Filmist 2 film presets because the film looks in them and real and I’ve been working for months to finish them.

Your phone camera is getting Ai and noise is not a bad thing in real photos so do you need a new camera body? Because they are expensive now.

Check out Elegance Speed Mask presets and Gav’s other products on the homepage.

Peo PhotographyPodcast Pick of the Week

Godox TT 350 compact flash

Also, check out the FlashQ 20II

and the SmallRig mini arm clamp is what I keep in my bag.

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September 22, 2023

We’re always talking about high dynamic range. But today’s videos are a keystone much like our = STOP using contrast from the last Masters Made Easy video. LoFi photography is actually fundamental to understanding your photos.

No LoFi Photography is not just a lomo camera or a filter on Instagram. It’s just as important to shadow hunting as the High Dynamic Range techniques as I explained in my recent video.

Many photographers no longer edit Low Dynamic Range.

You’ll find some free presets to make this easier inside my Film presets sampler and the Silver Black and White preset Sampler. Also there are some powerful LoFi tools in my Emulsion Photoshop Actions.

LoFi Photography goes way deeper than people think.

LoFi Photography is often played as low quality, pinhole camera, etc. While those can be included, it’s a really low dynamic range technique and it’s important when you plan a shoot.

I know I say it all the time but this LoFi photography fits in with Shadow Hacking 101 so make sure you come to a Shadow Hackers online photo workshop.

LoFi photos take what everyone else throwing out and it often creates better photos. You don’t need to do all LoFi or all HDR. A lot of photos fall in between. But don’t be afraid to push the methods I show in the video to refine your style.

Reverse the things they teach you in LoFi photography

We’re almost universally taught to push sliders right in the digital world. A more is more kind of approach. That’s why most photos look so bad and even good photographers are ediuting to death. We went deeper into this in my post about how to ground your edits by using filmic presets.

I’ve been doing this since the start of digital. I’ve watched the influencers and experts nearly always selling the same ideas and repeating ourselves because they came from film and all the digital stuff was new and like candy. Candy sometimes lacks perspective.

Slowly that’s changing as digital matures and photographers realize that we still have a lot to learn from the past.

Stop speaking in just digitally.

We live in an analog world. The advent of Ai photography is reminding us just how fake everything has become and that the real world is often more magical. LoFi photography is not every part of the puzzle. But you nee to know it.

You can still do amazing complex edits. But by knowing all the tools in your box you have control. Yes, your capture can be HDR and your final LDR, or vice versa. When you know to hunt shadows and look for the atmosphere and life in photos everything starts to change. There’s not just one way and you need to know them all to master this. The good news is, it’s not that complex.

Stay tuned for more in the Masters Made Easy series.

Gavin Seim

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September 15, 2023

Ever feel your editing is messy, or you need a reboot?

Grounding changes your editing and improves your style. es, Filmic Lightroom presets and styles help a lot. But your style can still be whatever you want. Stay with me till the end and I will make this easy.

Why do most in-camera profiles look so bad? Why do I come back to an edit I liked and it seems gross? It’s because digital edits lack a reference point.

This is a Level 1 Filmic Lightroom preset from Natural HDR. That is it’s using film tone and color inspiration but not trying to be a specific film. I use these liberally but not as my grounding point.

Here are some free Filmic Lightroom presets.

I’ll also add some videos today showing how I create and use Filmist Lightroom and Capture One presets and some of the things I learned along the way.

To get staretd you can download my free packs…
Download my Free FIlmist Film presets sampler pack from the filmist page. Your grounding.
Download the Free Silver 5 free presets pack here which is Filmic black and white.
Get my Natural HDR free presets. Non-film edits, but grounded by filmic style.

I’ve made many videos over the years as I explored film stocks and created the Gen.2 looks of my film presets like Portra, Ektar, and Classic Negative which have become the go-to styles for many.

OK, let’s get started…

1. Grounding works because we exist in analog!

Ever come back to an edit the next day or week and thought? What was I thinking? I sure have.

You lacked a baseline and went too far. It happens to all of us. Filmic Lightroom presets and styles are not just a hipster fad, and if you’re still not using them you are missing out. So first we’re going the base our edits as close to real analog film as possible. Don’t worry you don’t have to stay there.

Much like Shadow Hacking, which brings you back to in-camera thinking. Filmic Lightroom Presets presets and styles seem simple but are not. I was a skeptic. But today Filmic Lightroom presets are my go-to for every session and for the past 5 years I’ve been developing better film and filmic presets to improve this process.

Here’s a video I did recently to explain how I use film presets overall in my work.

A film preset edit gives you a wide range of colors and tones but with a more subdued look that lets the truth of your photo come through so you can decide. When you add Shadow Hacking as I teach in my live workshop, you get photos that print nearly indistinguishable from film prints.

Level 2 filmic lightroom presets. This film style is the Ektar 100 like and
There is a shadow atmosphere happening here even though the EKtar 100-like. A level 2 film preset in Filmist is not super intense it constantly works and is a grounding development process.

There are two levels of Filmic Lightroom presets.

Both are important but you should know the difference between them because the second is better for rebooting and a lot harder to make. So much so that most presets sold don’t qualify.

The first is basic Filmic presets. Level 1:

These are most Filmic Lightroom Presets and Filmic styles in Capture One LUTS, etc. They have a film-inspired tone and look. What’s that mean when you are making them?

Usually, it means darker more obscured greens, and deeper shadows but not overdriving contrast and color using what we learned from over a hundred years of Darkroom to effect digital edits.

Filmic Lightroom presets and styles that are just inspired by the film are the easiest way to make your own. I use them all the time. But I don’t use them for a grounding base film process reboot my edits and they can quickly grow back into over-driven digital edits.

Street photography with level 1 filmic lightroom presets and styles
Street air is a prestige from Street’ist. This level one filmic preset has a lot of color and nuance like a chemical film, but does not try to be any specific film.

The second is true Film like presets, Level 2:

Film Lightroom presets, capture one style, LUTS etc. represent a much more complex edit. You could spend a week making a look like the Portra 400 presets from Filmist.

A Film preset is not just influenced by analog styles. It’s tested and refined to look like the film. That’s what I did with Filmist which is why it’s taken me 5 years and improves with every version. I watch the reviews and look for more information all the time. Real films reset your editing brain more because they ground you.

When I started trying to create film presets I was thinking more of filmic. Make looks that were inspired by my film. But it was not enough so I started digger deeper and studying the nuance of individual stocks to get a true-to-life representation of those films.

A level 2 film preset is about a specific film like the creamy shadows of this Delta 3200-like. You can mod or turn these presets up to enhance the effect. But I start simple and natural to get a good grounding.

2. This editing theory will reset your editing brain.

You might be thinking… Nothing new here. But the more you use this process in your edits. Level 2’s especially. The more you realize that these film stocks lasted decades for a reason. They seem simple at first you soon you realize well they are grounded and complicated.

Apply a film you like to every photo. Do your quick exposure adjustments and get the session looking balanced. When you edit with film-like presets and filmic styles you get perspective.

You might turn a filmic lightroom preset up or down. You might mod for contrast or transition totally different look. But your perceptions are grounded in the analog that is proven to withstand the test of time.

If you look at this session you can see the edit from when I first shot the session was ok. But it felt burned and it was inconsistent across poses and lighting.

Look how I came back and re-edited the session with Portra 160-like film preset and a few mods. Each pose is slightly different, but they all have a constant feel. I like them gentle like this but my old self would want to add more mods, saturation, etc. That’s fine, as long as you have grounding to keep you on point.

Soon you’ll find yourself going back to old edits and now they seem strange and overcooked. You reboot your brain in terms of editing. It does not mean other filters and edits are not important anymore. I still use Natural HDR or Bella 2 which are not specifically filmic.

How the session looks now after a more refined film edit and a good grounding from analog.

In this AI World, real things are gaining value.

And so we relate to and believe in analog things. Especially in this new AI-driven world where sometimes everything feels fake. This level of photography is going to become more important every year and Filmic Lightroom Presets help me stay focused.

Yes, there’s a level 3. Shooting digital side by side with the real film and using that as your grouping for shadow, color, and editing. I do this to practice and further refine Filmist for example but it gives you even more grounding and perspective.

Even the way we adjust exposure changes with analog. Pushing the exposure slider is not the same as pushing film and as I’ve become more advanced in my Film presets, even the mod presets, curves, and exposure settings have improved.

See this video from my channel after I created the Gen.2 the Portra-like pushed film style.

Creating pushed filmic looks in digital and why it matters.

You Ground with real film presets, then find YOUR STYLE!

Yes, editing with filmic styles and Filmic Lightroom Presets makes you edit everything better. Much like shooting film improves your understanding of shadow and creativity by resetting your brain to an analog state that lets you see your digital work from a new perspective.

But it’s important you ground to something solid. That means don’t just edit your first photo of the day and use that as your baseline edit. Start with an edit you know the analog human brain accepts. Film is a great start.

Start with a level 2 film preset. Not just a filmic look. That means using well-researched presets or spending the days of research you need to create one yourself that is accurately representative of a real film. Or download the free or complete filmist and that will get you started.

filmic styles and wet plate platinum in photoshop
It does not always stop at a preset. Sometimes I take go further into Photoshop and use chemical-based edits like this cyan plate platinum mix from Emulsion 4 actions. Analog just keeps giving.

3. Filmic Lightroom Presets and film styles. Then move outward.

The grounding keeps you constant even when you’re not doing the filmic style.

So for example I will go to Filmist and use Potra Ektar-like film lightroom presets. Maybe Fuji 400h. I know these analog looks withstood the test of time and that our minds relate to them.

I don’t have to stop there and I may not even stay with a film look. Grounding your edits sounds boring, but it actually makes you flexible and creative and keeps you out of a rut. So even when I go to HDR, that grounding is affecting my edit.

So I look at the mood and shadows of my shoot. I may decide to veer from film and use other effects, actions, edits, or presets. But now can really feel where I am in the edit better.

It’s about rebooting the brain to see past the temporary creative blindness that the ever-changing sliders and tools can give us so that we use those tools better with each unique photo session.

At least grab the free Filmic Lightroom presets, film styles, and LUTS I linked above and try them for a while. If they seem not intense enough that’s normal. Your editing brain will soon reboot and you will open up a totally new horizon.

So Let’s Recap…

  1. Ground the baseline of your edits with edits as close to real analog film as possible. Use Filmic Lightroom presets and film styles, or even create your own.
  2. Edit photos with favorite films and use that as your grounded starting point. I will often start with Portra 400 or Ektar as my baseline because these films work on anything and I can apply them to an entire session.
  3. You can expand out with mods, other filters, presets, actions etc., and the final look for your project. Use your first edits as a reference to not edit too far. Staying with the film is also fine. I often stay with the film look/

I hope this helps you refine your edit process as much as it did for me. Let me know in the comments and if needed I’ll do more videos on this. Gavin Seim

portra 400 as a filmic style is amazing and changes how you see tone rolloff on digital
With Filmic Lightroom Presets like Portra 400-like, you almost can’t fail. It was not until I discovered these processes for grounding that I realized the nuance of highlight roll-off and how we lost it in digital. Look at the before and after of this edit on the filmist page and you’ll see what I mean.
Expanding into level 2 filmic styles like Velvia 100 like let you stay creative and still know you’re on point.
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December 20, 2022

Merry Christmas. I started creating presets 15 years ago before the rest existed. I always gave you free preset samplers from packs Like Filmist and Natural HDR. So today I’ve made you a perfect starter pack of free black and white presets from the new Silver 5 presets.

This free black and white presets pack includes 5 hand-picked B&W styles for Lightroom, Capture One and RAW

Go HERE to the Silver Page to DOWNLOAD the FREE Silver 5 Black and White Presets Pack

I also added a few mod’s from the brand-new Mod-Kit that’s included in the complete version to show you how fast it will make you. I even included one of the AI mod tools in the LR version!

There are 3 key elements that create better black and white. Watch this video and I’ll show you them as well as how to use these black and white presets to level up your black-and-white.

I, the video, my secrets to using black and white presets to edit!

Take special note of how each Silver preset takes a different approach in how it mixes your tone using the 3 keys for a perfect black-and-white recipe. Once you have the complete pack, you’ll see this extended much further but just as simple and easy to apply.

Some are perfect for portraits, others for rich streets of the landscape. That’s the key to mixing the tools and completing your vision!

free black and white presets silver 5 sampler with capture one styles
Natural screens often benefit from a more crushed dark black and white and you’ll see great examples of that even in the free presets of Silver 5

You’ll quickly see what I showed you in this Silver 5 training video from my channel. How when you have advanced formulas you are more creative with your edits than any purist who tried to create a recipe from scratch every time. They simply never get this deep in their edits. That’s why presets are essential.

I hope you enjoy this free black and white presets pack.

Please let me know in the comments. See just how much time a good black and white presets system will save you and take a look at the complete Silver 5 pack as well because this free presets sampler pack is just the beginning.

Gavin Seim

Capture one and Lightroom free portrait black and white presets
Good portrait presets tend to focus on softer tones and the skin color channels are very important.
Lightroom free black and white presets
Download the free Black and white presets from Silver 5 and try all these elements in your photos.
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