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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July 12, 2017

This is a big update for Lumist that not only deal with some of the quirks but makes it 50-80% faster run time. Building the tonal map is blazing fast and once that done the magic really happens. Here’s a quick video looking at what’s new.

This is a free update for existing users and you should have en email. If you don’t have Lumist you can get it here.

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August 20, 2015

90-seconds3Improved 09/28/15: Getting it right in camera is easier than fixing it later. I hate it when I get in a hurry and overlook these simple principles and it comes up a lot in my workshops. I’ve learned there’s always something we can improve if we set aside ego, be honest and focus on craft.

The rules of art are universal to any style or any experience level. Rules can be broken, but they act as guides to help us stay on track; we should break them only for with reason. Here’s some powerful tips I’ve learned over many years. I’m also adding related links to a LOT of FREE content and videos that go more in depth. These powerful reminders will only take a few minutes, but will leave you with proven ideas that last a lifetime.

  • Have ONE primary subject. Everything else should be supporting cast.
  • Omit needless objects. If they don’t add to a photo, kick them out.
  • Light & Tone are king. Understand exposure, tones and zones (video)
  • Use SPACE. I see so many images that would be great not so crowded by the frame.
  • Think of light as liquid. Watch where it goes; know how it flows (more).
  • What surrounds a tone changes how to see it. Regardless of it’s actual value.


  • SHARPNESS is only as far away as a tripod, good focus and good planning (more).
  • There’s only 3 ways to get great light. Take it, make it, or wait for it! (video)
  • In portraits set the pose. Then watch those EYES to capture the soul.
  • Exposure is simple as 2+2, doubles & halves. Understand the STOP (more).
  • When harsh sun is a problem. Wait for the light, or find that golden shade.
  • Think about the shadows; without shadow, we don’t see light. (video).
  • You can’t fake it! Use that sunrise/sunset magic hour whenever you can.
  • LINES lead the eye. Pay attention to where they go and how they intersect.

Terrace Symphony
All I need is that one image that conveys everything I want to say. To I take the time to get it right.

  • Flat light is usually boring. Look for ratios and 3 dimensional light.
  • Take time to LOOK AGAIN at your subject BEFORE releasing the shutter.
  • Study history. Photography has 150+ years of it to make you a better artist.
  • Getting it right in camera is always easier than fixing it in post.
  • Change how you see making exposures LONG. Don’t forget an ND filter & tripod.
  • If you can’t something something wrong in your best photo. Look again & learn.
  • Just stop… Slow down, refine, simplify and visualize (video).


Taking my time to examine the pose, the eye contact and the details of a portrait may give me less frames, but always gives me better results.
Taking my time to examine the pose, the eye contact and the details of a portrait may give me less frames, but always gives me better results.

If you want to take it further subscribe to our newsletter below and check out the workshops tab above. Take the time to learn it right and you will improve faster than you ever imagined. — Gav

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March 25, 2015

In this weeks video we go on a trip to New Mexico and look at how light falls in a harsh situation. We’ll briefly study how to can better catch the falling light. Lots more eon this topic in the EXposed series.


Hope you enjoy — Seim

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February 25, 2015

You cannot train light, until light trains you! Then you can ask yourself. Am I controlling light, or is it controlling me?

Today’s video is quick and dirty and it’s about liquid light! Not that old emulsion in a bottle stuff, though that’s cool. Today I want us to stop and think. In recent years I’ve started thinking about how we handle light at a fundamental level. The more I think about light the way I describe today, the more I UNDERSTAND it. Light can have a mind of it’s own. But once you understand it’s nature as I often speak about in my workshops. Everything changes and it opens up a whole new world.

If you don’t fully understand the science of light you need to watch EXposed or study something like it because it will change your entire thought process on light,.

Tell me your thoughts in the comments — Seim

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