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Have Questions?

Review the FAQ’s below for answers.

What is an action?

[expand]An action is a series of steps recorded in Photoshop. Actions can enhance photos, change the look of an image, and even compile your photos into storyboards and collages.  Actions are shortcuts designed to save photographers time.[/expand]

What is the difference between an action and a preset?

[expand]Actions work in Photoshop and Elements. Presets work in Lightroom. Actions cannot be installed in Lightroom. Presets cannot be used in Elements or Photoshop.[/expand]

Can I use your products independently? Does my purchase include the software needed to run presets?

[expand]On every product page we have the following: “To use this MCP product, you must have one of the following software.” This will tell you exactly what you need in order to use our products.  Our products do not include the Adobe software needed to run them.

We have two versions of actions:

  1. Photoshop CS versions – we will list the number after the “CS” so you know what version is needed. All our actions work in CS2 and up.  Some work in CS.  None of our actions are tested in versions prior to CS. Do not buy if you have the old Photoshop 5, 6 or 7.
  2. Photoshop Elements – many of our products now work inside Elements 5-10; however, not all do. If you own Elements, please look for your version # of Elements on the product pages before buying. Our actions will not work on the scaled down version of Elements 9 sold through the Mac app store.

If you are unsure, please ask us, as we are unable to issue refunds for actions purchased and downloaded for incompatible versions of Photoshop or Elements. Our actions and presets do not work in non-Adobe products such as Aperture, Paint Shop Pro, Corel, Gimp, Picasa.  They will not work with any web versions of Photoshop, iPad, iPhone or the free photoshop.com.[/expand]

Will actions work in Photoshop or Elements written in a language other than English?

[expand]We cannot promise that our actions will work flawlessly on non-English versions of Photoshop and Elements.  Many customers have gotten them to work using workarounds such as renaming the “Background” in English.  This is at your own risk.[/expand]

Do actions work on PCs and Macs?

[expand]Yes, actions are cross-platform.  You need to make sure you have the appropriate version of Photoshop or Elements for your operating system.  Installation paths will vary based on your operating system.[/expand]

Will the actions I buy for Photoshop or Elements work in future versions of the same program?

[expand]While we cannot guarantee future compatibility of our actions most actions are forward compatible.[/expand]

Will the actions I buy for Elements work in full Photoshop? What is your upgrade policy?

[expand]Yes and no.  Yes, they will work.  They are created using full Photoshop.  Our actions for Elements often use complex designs to get around the limitations of PSE.  When installing actions designed for Elements in Photoshop, your actions palette may look unorganized and they will not use the more advanced Photoshop features.

If you wish to upgrade your actions from the Elements version to the Photoshop version, we give you a 50% discount off our current pricing.  We will need you to email us your order numbers or receipts from your original purchases and a list of which actions you want to upgrade from Elements to Photoshop.  You will then send payment to us as explained in a confirmation email.  Upon receipt of payment, we will email you the new actions.[/expand]

How well do I need to know Photoshop/Elements to use actions? Are they just click and play?

[expand]Prior experience with the basic tools of Photoshop is helpful. On each product page you will see links to video tutorials explaining how to install and use the actions. We recommend watching these before purchasing if you have concerns, so you can see exactly what is involved with each set.  You may also watch the video instructions and follow along while you edit.

Actions vary in complexity. Some actions are literally click and play, while others require feedback from the user, explained in pop-up dialog boxes.  For the most flexibility, our actions often include layers and layer masks. Usually these masks are optional, but sometimes masking is required to achieve a specific outcome. Our videos will show you what you need to know.

In addition to our free videos, we offer group workshops for Photoshop and Elements.  The Watch Me Work class will show you in depth use of actions in your editing.[/expand]

How do I know if these actions will fit my style of editing or photography? Will your actions make my photos look like your examples?

[expand]Results vary when using actions.  We cannot guarantee your photos will look exactly like the sample photos on our website.  Everything from the lighting, focus, exposure, composition, and the way the photo was taken will influence the end result.  The better your starting image, the more actions will enhance your work.  To achieve certain styles, in camera scenarios often influence the final image more than post processing.[/expand]

Do you sell individual actions?

[expand]All our actions are sold in sets as shown on our website.[/expand]

Can you tell me more about discounts, promo codes, and coupons you currently have available?

[expand]It has been our company policy not to offer sales throughout the year. We offer premium products with high value to photographers. We have one sale per year at Thanksgiving time – 10% off.  Please subscribe to our newsletter for details.

If you are looking to save money now, see our packages.  We bundle multiple action sets together at a discount.  We do not offer refunds if you buy a set and then wish to purchase a package with that same set.  We are unable to offer custom packages.[/expand]

How do I install and use actions in Photoshop/Elements?

[expand]We offer video tutorials on installing and using actions in Photoshop and Elements.  You can find a link to these on every product page on our site.[/expand]

Can I batch process with actions?

[expand]You cannot do this with our actions used in Elements.  For Photoshop, batch processing ability varies from action to action.  Most of our Photoshop actions will need adjustments prior to batching.  This is not included with the actions and is recommended for advanced users only.[/expand]

What is your return policy?

[expand]Due to the digital nature of Elements and Photoshop actions, we cannot offer refunds because there is no way to take back the product.  Once downloaded, digital products are not returnable under any circumstances. Before selecting your actions, please check that your version of Photoshop will support all the features of the action set. All action sets require basic knowledge of Photoshop. Video tutorials are available for action sets on my site. Please watch these prior to purchase if you want to know how they work, ease of use, and if they fit into your particular workflow.[/expand]

What is your actions replacement policy if my hard drive should crash and I lose my actions?

[expand]MCP Actions expects users to backup their actions onto an external hard drive or CD/DVD, for replacement purposes. It is your responsibility to back up your purchases. If you cannot locate your products after a computer failure or when moving computers, we will try and assist you, but are in no way obligated to store or re-issue your purchases.

For products purchased on this website which launched December 17th, 2009, as long as you can locate them in your downloadable product section, you may download products as many times as you need for your own use (see licensing under Terms at the bottom of my site). You will need to remember your log on information to access these. We are not responsible for keeping this information or your downloads.

For products purchased from my past website prior to December 17th, 2009, we will resend for free if you can provide me your receipt via email (either your paypal receipt or credit card receipt, not just the invoice showing you ordered). It is time consuming for me to look through thousands of transactions to locate your purchases. If you cannot provide a receipt, we will discount previously purchased actions at 50% off current website prices assuming we can verify your purchase. To start this process, you will need to provide us the following: month and year each set was purchased and email address used for payment. Incomplete or inaccurate information may make this option unavailable.[/expand]

Can I back up actions up onto my external hard drive?

[expand]Yes, backing up your purchase should be your first step of any digital product purchase. Computers crash. Make sure you protect the actions you have purchased.[/expand]

How can I move my actions to a new computer?

[expand]You are welcome to re-download the actions to your computer. If you purchased from our older site, see our video tutorial which teaches you to move your actions to a new computer.[/expand]

When will I receive my actions?

[expand]Our actions are instant downloads. Upon completing payment, you will be redirected to our site. You should get an email with a link to these downloads too, but it occasionally ends up in spam. For actions purchased on this site, after December 17th, 2009, you will go to the My Account area. Then go to My Downloadable Products on the top, left hand side of the page. Your downloads are there. Just click on the download, then save and unzip. See Troubleshooting FAQ for a screen shot of how to download your actions if you are having trouble.[/expand]

How do I unzip my actions so that I can use them?

[expand]Most computers come with unzipping/extracting software.  You can also download unzipping programs online specific for your operating system.  This process varies from PC to Mac.  We are not responsible for unzipping your files.  Please make sure you know how to unzip software prior to purchase.[/expand]

What are your Terms of Use?

[expand]Before purchasing, every customer must acknowledge our terms of use.  Please read it thoroughly before completing your purchase.[/expand]

What is a preset?

A preset is a series of settings that correct a photo or apply a certain style or look to it. There are multiple types of presets.  The Quick Clicks Collection and Mini Quick Clicks are Develop Module Presets made to enhance your images and speed up your workflow.

What is the difference between a preset optimized for RAW vs JPG?  Can I use the RAW presets on a JPG and the JPG on a RAW image?

Due to the way in which Lightroom 2 and 3 handle RAW images, certain settings such as extra brightening and contrast are applied at import. These settings are a starting point for presets and are hard coded.  If you apply a preset optimized for RAW to a JPG image, it will be too bright, have too much contrast, sharpening and noise reduction.  Likewise, if you apply a preset optimized for JPG to a RAW image, the photo will lack contrast, sharpness, and be overly dark in most cases. Our Develop Module presets, Quick Clicks Collection and Mini Quick Clicks are available in versions optimized for both RAW and JPG.  Use the presets for your specific file type for the best results.

Upgrades in Lightroom 4 eliminated the need for different presets for RAW and JPG photos.

What is the difference between an action and a preset?

Actions work in Photoshop and Elements. Presets work in Lightroom. Actions cannot be installed in Lightroom. Presets cannot be used in Elements or Photoshop.  Read this article for more information.

Can I use your products independently? Does my purchase include the software needed to run presets?

On every product page we have the following: “To use this MCP product, you must have one of the following software.” This will tell you exactly what you need in order to use our products.  Our products do not include the Adobe software needed to run them.

Unlike Actions, presets don’t work directly in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. They work in Adobe Lightroom. To use MCP Quick Clicks Collection Presets, you’ll need:

  • For Lightroom (LR) version: Lightroom 2 or later

Always check individual product pages for version compatibility.  If you are unsure, please ask us, as we are unable to issue refunds for presets purchased and downloaded for incompatible software.

Our presets do not work in non-Adobe products such as Aperture, Paint Shop Pro, Corel, Gimp, Picasa, or any other raw editors.  They will not work with any web versions of Photoshop, iPad, iPhone or the free photoshop.com.

My Lightroom presets do not work in LR4.  How do I get the updated presets?

If you previously purchased presets for Lightroom 2 and 3, and subsequently upgraded to LR 4, we have provided a complimentary preset upgrade.  You can download them from My Downloadable Products on the My Account area of this website. Just click on the download, then save and unzip. See Troubleshooting FAQ for a screen shot of how to download your actions if you are having trouble.

Will actions work in Lightroom written in a language other than English?

Lightroom presets will work in non-English versions of Lightroom.

Do Lightroom presets work on PCs and Macs?

Yes, presets are cross-platform.  You need to make sure you have the appropriate version of Lightroom for your operating system.  Installation paths will vary based on your operating system.

Will the presets I buy for LR work in future versions of the same program?

While we cannot guarantee future compatibility of our presets, usually presets are forward compatible.

How well do I need to know Lightroom to use presets?

Prior experience with the basic tools of Lightroom is helpful. On each product page you will see links to video tutorials explaining how to install and use the presets. We recommend watching these before purchasing if you have concerns, so you can see exactly what is involved with each set.  You may also watch the video instructions and follow along while you edit.

Unlike actions, develop presets do not use layers, brushes, or masks.  This makes them slightly easier than actions.  It also means they are less flexible.  You may need to try multiple presets on a photo to find the one that works best.

How do I know if these presets will fit my style of editing or photography? Will your presets make my photos look like your examples?

Results vary when using presets.  We cannot guarantee your photos will look exactly like the sample photos on our website.  Everything from the lighting, focus, exposure, composition, colors in the photo and the way the photo was taken will influence the end result.  The better your starting image, the more presets will enhance your work.  To achieve certain styles, in camera scenarios often influence the final image more than post processing.

Do you sell individual presets?

All our presets are sold in sets as shown on our website.

What is your upgrade policy if I want a different version of presets?

For Quick Clicks Collection, if you want the JPG + RAW versions, your best pricing is at the time of purchase.  Our e-commerce cart processes these transactions through our site. Since we manually process any discounts for later upgrades, you will not get the best pricing at a later date. We will give you 50% off the second “file type” with proof of purchase. For example, if you bought the JPG set for Lightroom and now want the RAW, you would get 50% off the full price of $169.99 by contacting us. You will also need to back up these files as they will not be accessible through our e-commerce cart.

Can you tell me more about discounts, promo codes, and coupons you currently have available?

It has been our company policy not to offer sales throughout the year. We offer premium products with high value to photographers. We have one sale per year at Thanksgiving time – 10% off.  Please subscribe to our newsletter for details.

How do I install and use presets in Lightroom?

We offer video tutorials on installing and using presets.  You can find a link to these on every product page on our site.

Can I adjust the opacity once I apply a preset so it is stronger or weaker?

Lightroom does not support layers or opacity adjustments.  You can adjust presets by working with individual sliders.  You can also bring an original and an edited file into photoshop, layer the two, and adjust opacity.

What is your return policy?

Due to the digital nature of Lightroom presets, we cannot offer refunds because there is no way to take back the product.  Once downloaded, digital products are not returnable under any circumstances. Before selecting your presets, please check that your version of Lightroom will support all the features of the presets. All presets require basic knowledge of Lightroom. Video tutorials are available for presets on my site. Please watch these prior to purchase if you want to know how they work, ease of use, and if they fit into your particular workflow.

What is your presets replacement policy if my hard drive should crash and I lose my presets?

MCP Actions expects users to backup their presets onto an external hard drive or CD/DVD, for replacement purposes. It is your responsibility to back up your purchases. If you cannot locate your products after a computer failure or when moving computers, we will try and assist you, but are in no way obligated to store or re-issue your purchases.

For products purchased on this website, as long as you can locate them in your downloadable product section, you may download products as many times as you need for your own use (see licensing under Terms at the bottom of my site). You will need to remember your log on information to access these. We are not responsible for keeping this information or your downloads.

Can I back up presets onto my external hard drive?

Yes, backing up your purchase should be your first step of any digital product purchase. Computers crash. Make sure you protect the actions you have purchased.

How can I move my presets to a new computer?

You are welcome to re-download the presets to your new computer.

When will I receive my presets?

Our presets are instant downloads. Upon completing payment, you will be redirected to our site. You should get an email with a link to these downloads too, but it occasionally ends up in spam. For presets purchased on this site, go to the My Account area. Then go to My Downloadable Products on the top, left hand side of the page. Your downloads are there. Just click on the download, then save and unzip. See Troubleshooting FAQ for a screen shot of how to download your actions if you are having trouble.

How do I unzip my presets so that I can use them?

Most computers come with unzipping software.  You can also download unzipping programs online specific for your operating system.  This process varies from PC to Mac.  We are not responsible for unzipping your files.  Please make sure you know how to unzip software prior to purchase.

What are your Terms of Use?

Before purchasing, every customer must acknowledge our terms of use.  Please read it thoroughly before completing your purchase.

I am having trouble adding things to my cart?

First check that you added the quantity of “1″ t the cart. If you did and items are not going into your cart, it is almost always a browser issue.  The best solution is to clear all of your cache and cookies.  Then retry.  If that does not work, please try another browser. If you lose your password, please do a reset.  If you do not get the reset, please check spam and junk mail filters.

How do I use the shopping cart and download products from your site?

Shopping at MCP Actions is easy. Just add the items you want to your cart by selecting the quantity you desire for each action set, product or training class, and click Add to Cart. Once you select the products you want, click Proceed to Checkout. Log in or create a new account. Actions ordered and accounts created on my old site, prior to December 17, 2009, are no longer valid, so please create a new account.

At step 2 of the payment process, please read carefully and select the appropriate option. You have the choice of using a credit card or paypal for products and services that have a charge. If you are only downloading FREE products, you need to choose the option that says, “Use this option if your cart totals $0.00.”

 FAQ

Once you complete payment via “free option,” “paypal,” or “credit card,” you will get to this screen. There are links to videos (which are also located on my site in the FAQ area – drop down) and to your downloads. Click on “My Downloadable Products” to get to your actions and workshop information downloads.

 FAQ

Click on the word “Download” next to the desired product.

 FAQ

From here download your products. Use unzip software to extract the files. Inside you will find Terms of Use, your action(s) (which ends in .atn), and a PDF with instructions. Remember that most sets have a video you can watch as well by coming back to my site and looking on the product page.

How do I re-download if I have lost my actions, my computer crashed, or if you have a new version available for my version of Photoshop or Lightroom?

For all products you should get a confirmation email. If you do not, it likely went to your spam or junk mail. Just click on the Download links.

 FAQ

If you miss this email and download page, or need to access the products in the future, log on to your account. Go to My Account. Enter your email and password. Go to My Downloadable Products on the left side.

 FAQ

Once there you will see all of your current and past purchases (12/19/09 and on). You can click on whichever product you wish to download. If we have a new version of a past product, due to past incompatibility, we will have the files waiting for you.  The title will still read the same as our e-commerce cart will not allow us to adjust the name from the original (for example if you bought it for Lightroom 3 – it will not say Lightroom 4, even after we add those.)  Just re-download and they will be part of the zip file.

 FAQ

My download is not working. My zipped file is corrupt. What can I do?

To start with, make sure you know where downloads go on your machine. Sometimes they download and you may not realize it. If you get a spinning wheel or download that will not end, check and make sure your firewall is not blocking the file. Sometimes firewalls will either block a download or even cause it to be corrupted. If this may be the case, temporarily turn off your firewall to download the products.

If you get your download but get errors when you upzip it, you may not have allowed it to download completely. Please re-try and give it more time. Since the files are zipped on a mac, they create two separate folders when PC users view them. You need to discard the one that starts with ._ if you are on a PC as these will appear empty to you. Look in the folder with just the name.

When unzipping on a PC, make sure you “open” rather than “save” when unzipping the files. Customers who had trouble said this was the fix for them.

If these options do not work, try another web browser, such as Firefox, IE, Safari, Flock, Opera, etc. As a last case scenario, if you own a 2nd computer, try using it.

If you still cannot get paid items to download or unzip correctly after multiple tries, I can manually send them to you. Please contact me within 3 days of purchase. I cannot offer this service for free actions and presets.

I just purchased actions or presets and I am not sure how to install and use them. Can you help?

Every product page has links to videos on how to install and use the products. Please watch these to ensure you get your products installed and running correctly.


TROUBLESHOOTING ACTIONS:

What do I do if I get error messages, my actions stop working or are acting crazy?

For full Photoshop, read through this article on troubleshooting Photoshop actions.  Also read through the rest of the tips listed on this page. If you continue to have issues, please contact jodi@mcpactions.com.

For Elements support, read through this article on troubleshooting Elements actions and this article on installing actions in Elements. Also read through the rest of the tips listed on this page. If you continue to have issues, please contact erin@mcpactions.com. There is no charge for having Erin assist you with installation of MCP’s paid actions in Elements. Erin does charge a fee for installing free actions or actions from other vendors.

I am getting error messages when playing my actions. What is wrong and how can I fix this?

First, make sure you have the correct action installed for your Photoshop version. This is the number one cause of errors. Also make sure the file is unzipped properly.

At this time, many features of Photoshop are only available in 8-bit mode. If you shoot raw and you use LR or ACR, you may be exporting as 16-bit/32-bit files. You will need to convert to 8-bit if the action steps are unable to work in 16-bit/32-bit. In the top toolbar, go under IMAGE – MODE – and check off 8-bit.

If you are in the right mode, and get an error such as “The object layer background is not currently available” it may mean you have renamed your background layer. If the action calls upon the background, it cannot work without one. You will want to create a merged layer (or flattened layer) of your work up to this point, and then name it “Background” so that you can use the action.

Why can’t I save my photo as a jpg after using “Color Explosion” from the Complete Workflow Actions?

You need to finish running the action. When it asks you to paint on the photo with the mask selected, it explains to click play to resume the action. The message is not a joke. If you do not do this step, you cannot save as a jpg. So, if you are using this action and run into this problem, make sure to finish running it. It will sharpen your photo and then convert back to RGB so you can save it. If you already saved it as a .psd, go to IMAGE – MODE – RGB. Then you can save your photo to a jpg.

How can I get the layer mask to work properly?

We recommend watching this video that addresses all major issues people have with masking.

How can I get the “Sharp as a Tack” layer working in the “Eye Doctor action” and how can I get more light into the eyes?

The Eye Doctor actions are very powerful and tweak-able. If you are having problems after reading the steps below, please watch this video.

Important things to remember:

  • Nothing happens when you run the Eye Doctor until you “activate” it.  To do this, you will select the layer mask for the layer you want to activate.  Then you will paint with a white brush.
  • When activating a layer, the “brush tool” is the only one that can activate a layer.  Check to make sure you are not using the “history brush tool” or even the “clone,” “eraser,” etc.
  • Once the brush tool is selected, check the top toolbar. Your opacity of the brush should be set to 100% in most cases when using the Eye Doctor.  Control the intensity of this effect by the layer opacity instead. Check to make sure you are using a soft edge brush that feathers on the edges. And check that the blend mode listed in this top toolbar is set to normal.
  • For the color swatches/color picker, make sure white is in the top left box, and black in the bottom right.
  • In the layers palette, make sure that nothing is covering up your Eye Doctor layers. The Eye Doctor is layer sensitive.  Adjustment layers may be above it.  If a pixel layer, one that looks like a mini version of the image in the layers palette, is above the layers of this action, this layer will cover up the results of the Eye Doctor. Before running it, if you have pixel layers (duplicate background copies) or any retouching pixel layers, flatten before running the action.
  • Sharpening (this applies to Photoshop, not Elements users, as Elements sharpening for this action is global). In the layers palette, make sure when you paint on the eyes, that the layer mask (the black box) has a white outline around it  For most layers, it will select automatically.  For the “sharp as a tack” layer, you may need to select it manually, by clicking on it. If you do this after you painted 1st, you need to start over or you will reveal white paint on the eyes.
  • Remember not every set of eyes needs all layers activated.  Opacity of the layer is your friend so that you make the eyes look better, but still natural.
  • This set is not a fix for lifeless eyes, out of focus eyes.  It is intended to enhance eyes that had some light and clear focus in camera.

What can I do to prevent my photos from distorting when I resize for storyboards and blog it board?

There are two important keys to using the transform handles when resizing. If you wish to maintain proportions, you need to hold down the Shift Key the entire time as you drag the handles. And you need to make sure you drag one of the 4 corner points to resize. If you do not hold the Shift Key down completely or if you drag from one of the 4 middle points instead of corners, your photo will be distorted. Once you resize, you need to accept the change by clicking on the check mark in the top toolbar.

Why is my action stopping at every single step?

Some actions are designed to run straight through, while others may have a few spots where they need feedback.

If your actions are stopping at every single adjustment and popping stuff up so that you have to keep hitting ok, you have a slight glitch. This may happen as a result of a Photoshop setting or you may have accidentally turned this on for a particular set of actions. The easiest way to fix this is to reinstall.  If that is not an option for you, here is how you can fix this annoying problem.

My actions are acting possessed. I think I messed them up accidentally. What can I do?

Your best bet is to reload the actions. You may have accidentally recorded or deleted a step.

My actions worked in an older version but in CS4, CS5 and CS6 in 64bit, I get “invert” errors. What can I do?

Open your adjustment panel. In the top, right corner, there is a drop down menu. Make sure you have “add mask by default” checked off and “clip to mask” not checked off. You may want to read this article for more details.

I get an error about the “background layer” not being available while using actions in CS6.  What is the problem?

If you crop first and then use actions in CS6, you may run into problems.  Here is a blog post teaching you what to do.  It includes a free action to fix the problem too.

My actions are not working right – but they are from another vendor, not MCP. Can you help me figure out the problem?

You will need to contact the company you purchased from. Since I do not own their actions, I cannot help troubleshoot them. If you buy from a reputable company, they should be able to help you


TROUBLESHOOTING PRESETS:

Why do my other presets disappear after I install Quick Clicks?

Lightroom can only access presets from one location at a time.  When you open the Preferences window and have the choice to check “Store presets with catalog,” make sure you make the same choice each time you install presets.  If you can’t see all your presets by installing them with the box checked, install them with the box unchecked to fix.  Or vice versa.

The Quick Clicks Customizers from Section 5 of Quick Clicks are not changing my photo.  Are they broken?

The Customizers are not broken.  They are designed for you to save your own favorite combinations of presets.  See the instructions that came with your download or the Lightroom video tutorials  for more details.

My preset isn’t acting the way it should.  How do I fix it?

It is relatively easy to override a preset without intending to.  This can happen if you right click and select “Update with Current Settings” without being aware of it.  To fix this, uninstall your presets and re-install from your backup copy.  Or uninstall, download from your account at MCP Actions, and re-install the new set.

My Lightroom presets do not work in LR4.  How do I get the updated presets?

If you previously purchased presets for Lightroom 2 and 3, and subsequently upgraded to LR 4, we have provided a complimentary preset upgrade.  You can download them from My Downloadable Products on the My Account area of this website. Just click on the download, then save and unzip. See Troubleshooting FAQ for a screen shot of how to download your actions if you are having trouble.

 Why do my photos “jump” when I apply some presets?

Our presets use Lens Correction, which corrects the distortion created by certain lenses.  This correction identifies the lens you used and applies correction specific to that lens.  Lens Correction is not available in earlier versions of Lightroom.

Why do my photos look blown out after applying a preset?

If you applied a Raw preset to a JPG photo, your image is likely to appear over exposed and to have to much contrast.  Use the presets for your specific file type for the best results.

When I first load my photos into Lightroom, they look wonderful for just a second and then it changes.  What’s happening?

If you shoot in Raw, the first time you see an image in Lightroom it will briefly show you the rendered version of the photo.  This is what you see on camera and is Lightroom’s attempt to make your Raw look like a JPG.  After the image loads completely, you will see the photo as it looks with standard Raw settings applied.

How do I mask areas of a photo that I’ve applied a preset to?

Masking is not available in Lightroom.  However, you can use the Local Adjustment Brush tool to make certain adjustments that might override settings applied by the preset.

How do you make adjustments to presets?

You can adjust the various settings that go into a preset by using the individual sliders on the right side of your workspace in Lightroom.

How can I adjust the opacity (or strength) of a preset?

You can create snapshots of your image from before and after your preset is applied, export them to Photoshop, and adjust the opacity there.  See our Lightroom video tutorials  for more details.

Why don’t some features, like Film Grain and Lens Correction, work in my presets?

Older versions of Lightroom do not support these features.

What type of Photoshop training and workshops do you offer?

MCP offers two styles of photoshop workshops:

Private Workshops: If you learn best working at your own pace, and if what you want to learn topics not taught in our group workshops, you will love this one-on-one training. Private Workshops are an effective tool for learning and understanding photoshop at any level. Private Workshops are customized to your skill level, specific needs and interests. These workshops are conducted using remote desktop software during daytime/weekday hours.

Online Group Workshops: If you love to interact and learn from other photographers and want in depth knowledge of specific Photoshop topics, you will want to take our group trainings. Each workshop teaches a specific photoshop skill or set of skills. We will work on a sampling of photographs from the attendees.

How do the audio and visual portion of the workshops & training work?

To attend MCP Actions Online Group Workshops and Private Trainings, you need a high-speed Internet connection and an up to date web browser to view my screen via the Go To Meeting Software. You will see my screen after clicking the web link provided. There is no additional cost to you for using this program.

All trainings are conducted via GoToMeeting.com. You will receive a link that provides you access to the training session. You will have options for the audio portion of the workshop. To see the training, you will click on the link provided to you, Then you select one of two audio options:

1. Telephone: for this option you will choose a dial-in number (normal long distance rates apply). If you choose this option, you are welcome to use a speaker so your hands are free, as long as you mute your line. When you have questions, just un-mute.

2. Microphone/Speakers: To use your computer’s built-in microphone/speaker system, choose that option upon login. You can use your speakers on your computer to listen. If you have a built in mic just mute yourself so others do not hear echoing and background noise. If you listen through a speaker (but have no mic) you will just use the chat window to type questions or comments. If you have a USB headset with a microphone, you can speak and ask questions that way.

In Private Workshops, to hear the audio portion if you are in the US or Canada, I will call you on the phone.

Can I attend a private or group workshop if I live outside the United States?

Yes! My only requirement is that you speak English. I do all trainings over the phone or using Voice over IP. If you are outside the US, you will want to have a USB headset/microphone so that you may use the Voice Over IP to hear the audio portion. Alternatively for group workshops if you do not have a microphone you can listen through your speakers and use the chat feature to communicate.

Do I need any MCP actions to get the most out of the training classes?

You do not need my actions or any actions to take the workshops, except for the Private Workshops on actions and big batch action. In many of the group workshops we cover some of the techniques used behind the scenes in MCP actions. So there is a great chance that you will have more control over your results using MCP actions once you attend a workshop.

I cannot decide if I should take a Private Workshop or Group Workshop. Help?

In one-on-one workshops I work directly with you on your specific questions, pictures and issues. In group workshops a number of photographers attend the same training. In the one-on-one private workshops I can go over photography and photoshop questions, as well as off topic areas like social networking and marketing. These classes are customized to your needs.

The group workshops have a curriculum and are very structured and cover the specific topics thoroughly. These classes are done for small groups of 8-15 people to keep things fresh and enjoyable. I do not offer Group Workshop topics as one-on-one workshops. In a Private Workshop, we can reinforce what you have learned from group classes and apply these lessons to your pictures.

With group classes we work on a wide variety of images and you have the benefit of hearing answers to questions from other participants.

Photographers benefit from private training when they have many topics for clarification, fine tuning after group classes or specific pictures they need help with. Photographers benefit from group trainings when they want an in depth understanding of a specific Photoshop area..

What order should I take your Group Workshops in?

We highly recommend taking the Beginner’s Bootcamp and/or All About Curves Workshops first. Unless you already are familiar with the inner workings of Photoshop and curves, these two class provide a foundation for all others. Secondly, we recommend either the Color Fixing or Color Crazy. This depends on you – if you need to correct color in your images or if you want to learn how to make your colors more vibrant. You can take these in either order. Lastly, take our Speed Editing Workshop. We recommend this class once you have a solid grasp on your workflow, using layers, masks, and skills taught in my other classes. Our Watch Me Work class is independent of the others since you literally watch how we use MCP actions. It can be taken at any time and you will want to either own some MCP actions or plan on buying some once you see them in action.

Do you have a video of the workshop that I can watch later?

Due to the restrictions of my hard drive, delivery of such enormous files, and because of copyright, we do not record the workshops. Each class is so unique and personalized based upon the participants (both the photos and the questions) so it is our recommendation to take screen shots and notes as we teach.

Do you give attendees a workbook or notes after the class?

Since every class is unique to the photos and questions asked, we do not provide a workbook or notes. We do point out important things that attendees may want to write down. We encourage and permit still screen shots during the workshops.

How do I take a screen shot?

On most PCs there is a Print Screen Button. You will press it (and any attached function key if needed) and paste into a document. You can also purchase software to make PC screen capture easier, such as SnagIt by TechSmith.

On a Mac, by default, you can click COMMAND – SHIFT – 4. Then drag and select what portion of the screen you desire. These typically save in your downloads, documents or desktop, depending on how your computer is set up.

Can you help me make my pictures look like … photographer?

We get this question all the time. People email asking me if we can help them make their photographs look like a particular photographer. We feel it is important to understand what you like about their artwork. Many times it is not just post processing, but the depth of field, focus, composition, exposure, and lighting. If you study those that inspire you, you can learn from them, but aiming to copy is not going to make you a better photographer. You will benefit most by working to find your own style.

You need to decide about what qualities you want in your work – richer color, brighter skin, what, more contrast, flatter lighting, smoother skin. We can help you with those attributes assuming your focus, composition, lighting, sharpness, and artistic capture are your own. As a result, there is a good chance your photography will become your style and those you admire.

What is your cancellation policy?

Private Workshops: Your workshop fee covers the time you schedule and, as such, is non-refundable or transferable. We do understand that conflicts can arise after you have scheduled your session, so we will work with you to reschedule sessions when given enough notice. Cancellations with less then 48 hours notice will be treated in the following manner: You will get 1/2 the amount of time credited to a future session. Cancellations with less then 24 hours notice will not be refunded or rescheduled. Thank you for understanding.

Group Workshops: Once you pay your group workshop fee the money is non-refundable. If you give at least 48 hours notice, you may switch to a different workshop slot and/or apply the payment toward actions on our site.

Do I get a discount if I sign up for more than one class at a time?

There are no discounts available for paying for multiple classes at once. Just sign up for one class at a time or many. It is up to you. This way there is no pressure to take every class at once.

Where do you purchase your photography equipment?

The main 3 places we buy equipment from are:

They are usually competitively priced and provide excellent customer service. We order based on which company has availability.

What cameras do you use?

To see a list of all the equipment we use and/or recommend, visit What’s in My Bag or Office. Our current camera is a Canon 5D MKII. It is incredible at capturing low light, high ISO shots with very low noise. We also have a point and shoot camera, a Canon G11.

Why did you go with Canon?

When starting out with digital, Canon just felt right. We have stayed with Canon ever since.

What lenses do you use most?

We have upgraded through time. We did not start with L series lenses. My favorites are my 70-200 2.8 IS II and my 50 1.2.  But I have a lot of lenses and each has its place in my photography.

To see a list of all the equipment we use and/or recommend, visit What’s in My Bag or office.

What lenses do you recommend if I am on a limited budget?

Since we shoot Canon, we can only recommend lenses for Canon. Our favorites prior to purchasing “L glass” were the Canon 50 1.8, 50 1.4, and 85 1.8 prime lenses. I also really liked the Tamron 28-75 2.8 zoom lens. To see a list of all the starter equipment we use and/or recommend, visit What’s in My Bag or Office.

What do you think of the Tamron 18-270 lens that you used for the Fall/Winter 2009 Tamron ads featuring your photography?

You can read full details on my blog about this shoot and impressions. It is an amazing travel lens and is so versatile. The vibration reduction works really well and let me hand hold at extremely low shutter speeds. As long as there is enough light around, this is a fantastic lens. I own its full frame counterpart, the Tamron 28-300 and love it for when I am on the go.

What external camera flashes and studio lights do you use?

We own the 580ex and 580ex II and a few flash modifiers. For a studio setting we have 3 Alien Bees lights, a Lastolite hi-lite backdrop, a Westcott softbox, and a few umbrellas. To see a list of all the studio equipment we use and/or recommend, visit What’s in My Bag or office.

What type of reflectors do you use?

I own 2 Sunbounce Reflectors that are amazing. I use these in studio and on the go. To see a list of all the reflectors we use and/or recommend, visit What’s in My Bag or office.

What is your most used MCP product?

This changes through time.  I currently edit with a mix, starting with the Quick Click Collection for Lightroom and then using a batchable action that combines actions from many of my sets. I change it occasionally as my style or needs shift. The main actions inside my personal big batch action are Color Fusion Mix and Match and Bag of Tricks. When I need retouching, I turn to the Eye Doctor and Magic Skin.

For blogging and Facebook, I use the Blog It Boards and Finish It set to display photos. All of the presets and actions I use are designed for two things, to speed up my post processing and improve upon the image I captured in camera.

What do you use for white balance?

We have a number of white balance tools, but I usually default back to my Lastolite Ezybalance in studio. When outside, we often just adjust white balance in Lightroom and occasionally use a lens cap with built in white balance. To see a list of all the white balance tools we use and/or recommend, visit What’s in My Bag or office.

What type of computers do you use?

I use a Mac Pro desktop and Macbook Pro laptop. To see a list of our computers and monitors and other office equipment we use and/or recommend, visit What’s in My Bag or office.

How do you back up your pictures?

Time Machine backs up to an external hard drive and a mirrored RAID drive. We back up our most important business data to outside backup companies, should something happen to all hard drives at the same time.

Do you use a mouse or Wacom when editing?

I have tried and tried to use a Wacom tablet.  But every attept has resulted in failure.  I am not sure why, but I prefer edit with a mouse.

Do you calibrate your monitor?

Yes – this is essential to getting accurate colors. We currently have the NEC2690 monitor that has built in color calibration software.  This monitor is incredible. To see a list of all the calibration software we use and/or recommend, visit What’s in My Bag or office.

What professional print lab do you recommend?

I use Color Inc. for my printing. I love their quality, but even more-so, I love their customer service. I highly recommend calling them, as they can walk you through the set-up, upload and ordering process. They can also answer questions you have on bleeds, printing, how to prepare your prints, calibrating with their printers and more. Make sure to tell them Jodi at MCP Actions sent you.  They are also a sponsor of the MCP Blog.

What plug-ins and software do you use besides your own actions?

Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Autoloader (this script speeds up our workflow by allowing us to zip through my photo editing using our personal batch action. It opens one photo at a time into Photoshop and runs our big batchable action, allows me to tweak the photo, then it saves and it opens the next.)

Do you know everything about Photoshop? Where do you go if you get stuck in Photoshop?

We love Photoshop and Lightroom. Learning Photoshop is an ongoing process for us. While it would be incredible to say we know everything about Photoshop, nobody does. We’ve even stumped industry leaders, like Scott Kelby, with certain questions. We are very strong in Photoshop as it relates to retouching and enhancing photos. We do not utilize certain features in Photoshop as they relate to architecture, science and graphic design.

When looking to learn new information, the main resource we use is NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). They have a wonderful help desk for members, as well as video tutorials.

We also post questions to Twitter, Facebook and photography forums. Just because you teach does not mean you cannot learn…

Who do you use for your monthly newsletters?

We use Constant Contact when sending my monthly newsletters.

What are your favorite Photoshop and photography books?

We have a lot to recommend. One great place to start is Amazon, as it often has reviews of the books by readers. We would have to say that Understanding Exposure is the book we recommend most for photographers just starting out. As for Photoshop, it depends on your learning style. To see a list of all the books we recommend for photography, Photoshop and even marketing, visit What’s in My Bag or office.

Do you use affiliate links or have advertisers on your site or blog?

We only will recommend sites and products that we believe in. Some of the links on MCP Actions are affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. See the bottom of our site for our official disclosure policy.

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