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Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets are not Just for Beginners

I am not new to Photoshop.  I have been editing for many years.  So, why do I buy and use Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets?  The answer is simple. I get nearly identical results in only a fraction of the time it takes me to edit by hand.

The Experiment

One day, after hearing someone say that it is best to edit by hand rather than use actions, I decided to do an experiment of my own.  I took a photo straight out of the camera and edited it once by hand, and then once with actions.

The photo below is the image I started with.  I would usually correct the white balance in Camera Raw before pulling the picture into Photoshop, but I wanted to do this experiment in Photoshop only.

webIMG_2553before Why Many Photographers Choose to Use Photoshop Actions Guest Bloggers Photoshop Actions
Here are the results:

Hand-edit-vs-MCP-edit Why Many Photographers Choose to Use Photoshop Actions Guest Bloggers Photoshop Actions One photo took me 20 minutes to edit by hand while the other took me 3.5 minutes to edit using MCP’s actions.  I used Photoshop actions from the Inspire set, and then I used the Newborn Necessities set on her skin.  Can you tell which edit is which?

My Conclusion

Although, I love my own editing style, I would much rather save myself hours of time and use actions.  The best thing about my MCP Actions is that I can tailor them to my own editing style and needs.  They are, by far, the most adjustable and customizable actions that I own.  I actually prefer the look of my faster edit using the actions compared to my hand-edit, although the differences are extremely subtle.

I really enjoy being able to quickly and cohesively edit an entire session, while still staying true to my own style and preference. That is why I choose to use Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets rather than hand editing most of the time.  Do you prefer hand edit or use tools that speed up your editing process?

Hand-edit-vs-MCP-edit-labeled Why Many Photographers Choose to Use Photoshop Actions Guest Bloggers Photoshop Actions

This blog post was written by Blythe Harlan, a hobbyist photographer in Fort Bliss, Texas.  You can find her facebook page here.

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