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Easy Photo Editing and Better Images with Photoshop Actions

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Ideally, as a photographer, we want to nail exposure in camera.  It makes editing easier and faster – and it creates better images.  But what if you failed to get perfect exposure while shooting?

In Photoshop, you can use Photoshop actions, which automate the editing process.  Another option to learn to use Curves Adjustment Layers.  A combination of both is the perfect solution.

In a recent Watch Me Work Photoshop Training Class, Maggie Wendel of Maggie Wendel Photography submitted the following photo for editing.  In my critique, I noticed three issues I wanted to correct for her:

  1. Under-exposure: The photo needed more light.
  2. Composition: Not only was the subject centered, but her eyes fell right in the middle of the photo.
  3. Color issues: The white balance and skin tone was too cool.

maggie-wendel-blueprint-before Easy Photo Editing and Better Images with Photoshop Actions Blueprints Photoshop Actions Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

Since Maggie is portfolio building, we discussed that she could have opened up wider, shot at a higher ISO, or used a slower shutter speed.  Any of these would have let in more light. If the photo was shot in Raw, some of this could have been corrected in Lightroom or ACR too. We also talked about the rule of thirds in composition, and how she could have achieved that in camera.  White balance could have been achieved via a custom white balance or by using a gray card and adjusting in Raw.

As with most editing, if these things are not done, you can still improve the outcome by using Photoshop.

For this image to go from the “before” to the “after,” I did the following {Blueprint}:

  • Ran Color Burst from the Complete Workflow action set – this Photoshop action helps correct exposure, add color pop, and brighten mid-tones.  It also adds some clarity and contrast and even sharpens. I used the optional “paint on pop” layer on her dress, and reduced the opacity to 60%.
  • Now that the exposure and contrast looked better, I needed to fix the overall colors and skin tones.  I used Bag of Tricks See-Saw color correction Photoshop actions and added red and yellow, which reduced the blue and cyan colors.
  • Lastly cropping… I chose to use a 10×8 ratio and did a horizontal crop.  I came in close so that the eyes fell in the top 1/3 of the image. I also cropped so she was not dead center.

So just 2 actions and one crop layer, we have this:

maggie-wendel-blueprint-after1 Easy Photo Editing and Better Images with Photoshop Actions Blueprints Photoshop Actions Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

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No Comments

  1. Dawniele Castellanos on June 20, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I just tried to use the code but it gave me an “expired” response. But according to the date of this post, it should still be good. Please advise.

  2. Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions on June 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I just emailed Alicia – I will see if she can fix this right away.

  3. Sarah G on June 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    yippee!! I’m so excited! thanks

  4. Lindsay on June 23, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Darn it! I just came across this today, and the code expired yesterday. Is there anyway you and Alicia can extend it for today? It’s my birthday if that helps. 🙂 I’ve been wanting these pricing guides for a while. Thanks for thinking about it!

  5. Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions on June 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Lindsay – ask and you shall receive…I contacted Alicia and she just added this: use the code MCP75off for $75 through the 1st of July.

  6. Lindsay on June 24, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Yay! Thanks Jodi and Alicia. Just purchased it!

    • Elena on June 7, 2012 at 10:08 am

      So Apature can be used for more than just Depth of field, it can be used for knocking out the surrnundiog light sources??? or was it the slower shutter speed that blocked out all the other light but the flash??? Im confused Great video

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