December 2, 2022

As a tool creator, my most popular products have lots of organic darkroom looks. and for good reason. Filmist Film presets for Lightroom and Capture one. Emulsion Platinum actions, Silver black and white presets. They all have something special in common… Darkroom science!

Presets and edits that mimic the look of film in a darkroom give your photos an authentic look.

But you need more than that. You have probably used some of my most popular or my free film like presets such as my Classic Negative style, and Portra film presets. These work so well because digital makes it really easy to over-edit in ways that were non a problem in the darkroom and we need to balance that.

We’ve all gone back over our images and seen icky, overly saturated adjustments. So it’s easy to panic and begin underediting after that. Due to underediting, I actually designed Muse presets to create more cinematic edits.

Balance is what my new Darkroom Hackers editing class is about.

You can sign up for the class here.

This is not a “how to use the best film presets class.” I will show you how to use Filmist, Silver, and other tools; even Photoshop, for amazing color and black-and-white darkroom-like edits.

But this class is more than that. It’s a power-packed LIEV hour of how to understand what RAw editors are doing. Whether you’re using STyles for Capture One, Lightroom Film Prestes, Photoshop layers, or your own manual edits.

I’m going to show you how to achieve that organic look that feels like it came from the darkroom while still being able to create great color mixes and bold shadow blends. You’ll learn how to use film-like presets and make your own looks that pop off the page.

I’m excited about Darkroom Hackers because how we edit matters, and the photographer that knows these things get ahead of the competition in so many ways.

I’ll see you there | Sign Up

Gavin Seim

Film presets film styles portra 160
Fuji Classic Negative lightroom preset
Silver presets for LIghtroom and Capture One film looks
Grainy film look black and white edit
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November 15, 2022

Photography has seen many transitions. Glass plates to film, black and white to color. One of the biggest was the film to the digital which saw many photographers unable to transition.

Will we photographers be needed in a world of Ai?

I’ve shown you in recent videos how the Lightroom Ai with tools like Elegance Speed mask presets makes advanced retouching of portraits unreal. Watch that video here. But while we can’t do this in Capture One yet, it’s perhaps not as big a deal as it looks. I’ll show you why…

(or watch on YouTube)

There’s more than one way to develop a photo.

I’ve always started edits with presets like Filmist or Natural HDR. These work across LR and C1. Then I would go into Photoshop and use Alchemist or BlackRoom and others to refine. I still do all of this, but the new Ai tools make me do more in Lightroom.

We need to stay ahead of the curve but we don’t need to let every new tool change our look. Artificial intelligence is the buzzword. But tools like the Lightroom Ai masks are still not really that intelligent. They do however bring a sign of what’s to come.

For now, things like Lightroom Ai are about saving time. But do we really need the Ai, Is Lightroom really better than Capture One because of it? Is it the best way to edit or should we still use a little Photoshop or Affinity to refine our photos?

It’s pretty amazing what the Ai masks can do. This transformation was virtually instant using my Elegance Speed-Masks which define the parameters and stack the LR Ai masks in one click. But as we see in the video, other methods might take a tad longer but can yield nearly the same result.

In the end, it’s what we create in the camera that defines our photos. Let’s not get blind-sighted. But I also think software can be overhyped. A focus on creating with emotion and soul comes before the edit. The shadow hunt. I think those things are still king.

Don’t miss my next live Shadow hackers workshop so we can talk more about this. Also, leave a comment to share what you think about all these Ai tools such as Lightroom Ai.

Keep creating – Gavin Seim

Add on’s I used in today’s edits… Elegance Speed Masks, Filmist Presets, BellaDonna presets, Alchemist Actions.

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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 16, 2022

I’ve been thinking for a while about how to make today’s video. People keep asking me for an overview of my tools but I’ve wanted a way to make that video useful, even for those who don’t have any of my tools or who just use my free tools.

What is Native editing?

This is when you use the tools already in your app like Lightroom instead of plugins. It can mean presets, actions, or all manual. And usually, it’s better because it uses all the engineering built into your favorite app.

Today I’ll show you why native editing in Lightroom, Capture One, Photoshop, and the rest is usually better than a plug-in and how to decide what kind of edit to do.

But I’m also going to show when you need to go beyond LIghtroom and a RAW edit and go to Photoshop.

There’s a lot of confusion on this and I get questions all the time about what native tool to use, why Silver 4 presets or when to Use Blackroom, Filmist, Lumist etc.

So Why do you need Photoshop?

I’m covering this more in the video. But where LIghtroom and apps like it are RAW converters. They are fast, you can copy and paste settings. You can batch edit. That’s great

You really can’t do that in Photoshop. Actions speed things up rapidly, but you can’t just apply settings from one photo to another or import a batch and edit on import. The difference is that in Photoshop you can do high-level refinement on your best photos. The keep is knowing how to use your RAW converter and your pixel level; editor like I show in the video.

There are a lot of ways to achieve your goal in photography.

I think the best way to get there is to know your options and most importantly to start making your editing plan. You need a system in place that guides you thru your own process each time.

I hope you found today’s video useful because I want this editing approach to make sense. If you have feedback just leave me a comment and I’ll see you next time.

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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