Photoshop Actions: A Guide to Choosing the Best Actions

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

Photoshop Actions: A Guide to Choosing the Best Actions

Photoshop Actions: Which Actions are Best for Your Photos?

So imagine this… You sit down at your computer to edit in Photoshop or Elements. And you want your editing to go faster and more smoothly.  You decide that you want to buy some Photoshop actions. But how do you decide which ones to purchase? And which should you use once they are loaded in your actions palette?

blue skies in photoshop

I frequently get emails asking, “how do I know which set to buy (or use)?”  Remember there are hundreds of companies making actions now. You need to find and use products that educate you with their use and help you achieve the look you want. We hope that you love what you see at MCP Actions, but for certain looks, you may need to stray a bit too. Do your homework, and make sure you buy from a company that has excellent customer service and fully supports their products, with help and tutorials.

Here are 10 tips: A guide to help you choose the best actions for your specific photos.

  1. Try before you buy: MCP Actions has an assortment of single Free Photoshop actions so you can get to know our style.
  2. Look through before and after examples on each individual product page to see the types of looks you can achieve. If you start stacking your edits, and mixing in more than one set, you can create a wider variety of looks.
  3. Experiment: Try things and write down your steps on an index card.  For looks that you like, keep a little card box with your “Blueprints.”
  4. Blueprints: Most Fridays I share Blueprints sent in by customers, or occasionally ones that I make into before and afters, with step-by-step instructions.
  5. MCP Facebook Page: Join MCP on Facebook and post your questions and answers to the “wall.” Ask other photographers, what they would use or how to get the look you want. Feel free to share your images using MCP’s Photoshop actions. Look through older “wall” posts and photos uploaded by other photographers.
  6. Search the Blog: Search for Photoshop tutorials, look under specific categories for lessons, and check out past Photoshop video tutorials.
  7. Search the Website: Search for products in the top drop down sections (under “actions” and “training”) – you can organize by the version of Photoshop you have (for example, you could click on Shop By Photoshop “Version” and select “Photoshop CS5” or “Elements 8“). You can also search by “Category” and even “Keywords.”
  8. Educate Yourself: When deciding what actions you want to use, take the time to watch the Photoshop actions video tutorials and Elements actions video tutorials that come with each product.  You can find these 2 places, through the links on the product pages and under “Training.”
  9. Take Notes: As you start using the Photoshop actions, write down which are your favorites and what looks you get with them.
  10. Organize Your Actions: After you use certain action sets for a while, you may find that you use some all the time, and others rarely. Learn to organize your Photoshop actions in this video tutorial for a faster, more efficient workflow.

COMING TOMORROW: A Glossary of MCP Actions. Learn which MCP Actions are best for your photos.

resizing photoshop action

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  1. October 29, 2011 at 4:51 am —

    WOW! This is out of my thought! Brilliant work.
    image masking service

  2. Melissa
    December 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm —

    Question – when you show a before and after on your site, are you literally showing the image before you hit the button and then right after the action is run/fine tuned? I always wonder if purveyors of actions are showing a SOOC, doing like five steps of correction, then adding the action on top of that.

    Just curious! Thank you!

  3. Allison
    August 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm —

    I love the Texture applicator! I use it on everything 😉

  4. August 18, 2010 at 2:37 am —

    excellent work! thanks a lot for sharing..

  5. Lori B
    August 18, 2010 at 1:18 am —

    I can’t wait to read more! Love your actions!

  6. August 17, 2010 at 1:35 pm —

    Thank you for linking to your tutorial on organizing actions. I hadn’t seen that one previously and it was very helpful.

  7. August 17, 2010 at 12:54 pm —

    all good points–I have many, many actions and struggle to keep track of them and where they are best used–you put together a nice road map here!! since I found this blog, I have learned a number of things–thanks for sharing

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Photoshop Actions: A Guide to Choosing the Best Actions