Tag Archive for 'white'

White Balance Grey Card: Cool Product Of The Week

CPPOTW = The Digital Grey Kard

It seems someone is always selling a gadget to get your white balance right. It can indeed be useful to have a grey reading to get your white balance spot on out of the gate. This CPPOTW is the Digital Grey Card.

WB targets work quite simply. Their an 18% gray. You shoot a frame with the gray card in the scene, then later in post production you click it with the WB eye dropper using, Lightroom, Aperture, Camera Raw or whatever you use. The system reads, what you say is 18% gray and balances the rest of the scene accordingly.

I‘ve tried a few targets, and aside from being overpriced many of them are cumbersome, which means I tend not to use them. This set however is like having three business cards on a lanyard. Throw it in your bag, or better yet around your neck and wherever you are you can toss the card in for a WB target shot. It also includes white and black level target.

Nothing big, strange, or expensive. At around seventeen bucks, it may seem like a lot for three plastic cards, but these targets are cheaper than most and do just what they need to. Something every photographer should have in their kit. I’ve linked to Amazon. I’m sure you can find it all over, but the price is right.

Gavin Seim

Nik Silver Efex Pro – Straight Dope Review!

Nik Siver Effects Pro = 4/5 stars

Silver Effects Pro

UPDATED: 04/10.

We’ve worked out a deal with Nik and you an save 15% on any of their products with promo code PPS.

I finally got a chance to play with Nik’s new Silver Efex Pro. It’s a Photoshop/Aperture plugin for making Black & White images from color one’s. Here’s the straight scoop! The interface follows Nik’s fairly clean and simple window style that graces the rest of their plugin’s. When it open’s you’ll be greeted by your image; a sidebar on the right that gives you control over the effects being added; a sidebar on the left with some easy preset effects,  and a few other tools around the screen that control the preview, etc.

Overall I liked the plugin. It suffers the the problem I find with most PS plugins, that causes me to stick with actions and presets for most images. When you open an image in the plugin you have to wait a few seconds and then use the tools in another window. Essentially PS goes away for that time, and when you commit those changes you are returned to your regular work environment. There’s nothing really wrong with this, it’s just not great for a workflow with large quantities of images, but more designed for those great images you want to spend extra time with.

I did find what’s inside to be simple and effective. There’s various preset options for making B&W images fast. You have color tones, film type, color filters etc to give you full control over making a nice piece of art. There’s also the ability to add some great looking grain effects is so desired, and the plugin; like many Nik products includes the U Point option that allows you to easily control effects on specific portions of the image (See Viveza)

BOTTOM LINE: I won’t be using Silver Effects for my everyday B&W images, because presets in Lightroom and actions in PS do most the the B&W effects I need, with more speed. I can also get most of the effects that the Silver provides by using the built in tools that PS provides (though with a bit more work)
All this said I think Silver is a good tool for getting great B&W effects on those images you want to spend some extra time with. It’s also great for trying out various effects with a lot of control and precision. I knocked off a half star because, Silver, at $199.00 costs twice what it probably should. Still if you have 199 to spare, and want a great tool for really fine tuning B&W images then pick it up (you can of course try Nik’s short 15 day demo).

Gavin Seim

Free Lightroom Presets | The Ultimate Free Presets List:

The power of presets. Mouse over for before image. Get Gavin’s Lightroom and Aperture presets on from seimeffects.com

The Free Lightroom Presets Directory: by Gavin Seim. (Updated 10/07/2013)


One of the most powerful features of Adobe Lightroom is presets. And you’ve just found the biggest, best maintained list of free LR presets anywhere. I hunt the web for these, trying to add the best and filter out the dead ends. There’s plenty to browse. And feel free to share your favorites in the comments (freebies only).

LR4 and LR5 Presets: The develop module changed in LR4 and most LR3 presets will not fully function under the new process. As more LR4 presets are becoming available I’ll add to the list. I’ll also note listings that I’ve been able to verify are LR4 Compatible. Non-marked listing may be LR1,2 and 3 only.

NOTE: In LR 1-3 separate JPEG and RAW presets were needed. In LR4 this is not the case. since the process changes, all images are processed the same and any LR4 preset works on any image.

Also check out my presets for Lightroom 1-5. My full collections are guaranteed are worth the cost. But there’s also loads of freebies (linked below). I’m fanatical about quality and honored that they’ve become so well regarded my peers. OK, now on to the goodies. Oh and if you use Apple Aperture, here’s the free Aperture presets list.

Also check out…

Top Free LR Preset picks

6000+ Facebook Fans say it best – Seim Effects are the ultimate LR presets.

More Free Presets Worth Noting: These may not be large sets but they may have potential…

Other Random Presets: Some of these have obscure links, some with only 1 preset. But if you crave more…

Free Lightroom Brush PresetsHow To Install Brush Presets

LR4 Brushes…

LR2-3 Brushes

Free Lightroom Print Presets/Templates: