What is the one thing that most photographers wish they had more of? Time. Usually that’s true in any profession, but as photographers, we want to be out photographing our dream clients that understand and love our imagery, rather than us being stuck on a computer editing for hours.
Fortunately, as we progressed from film SLR’s to digital, we have been working with this media for some time now and that brings experience in editing. And knowing how to cut down that time!
I was recently contact by Sleeklens to see if I would like to trial out their Portrait Perfection Photoshop Actions. I thought why not and had a few styled shoots and courses coming up that I could trial the actions on.
For those that don’t know, an action within Photoshop is a series of steps that you can either set up in two ways 1) if you have a particular style of editing and usually apply the same processes then you can record these as an action and apply to each photograph. 2) Or you can buy an action pack. To buy an action, it is relatively straight forward as all you do is buy, install and away you go with the loaded steps. With all things there is a learning curve to it, but relatively straight forward in the Photoshop realms.
The Portrait Perfection pack was quite the eye opener. My photographic voice is vibrant, bold and full of colourful personality. I don’t over edit however and “manipulate” my images, just a gentle boost where is needed from the raw files from the camera.
The pack comes with a series of sub categories you can apply to your image. From base colours, enhancing exposure, changing temperature, adding colour corrections and full on portrait retouching – including whitening of eyes and teeth, skin softening and contouring; there is something for everyones taste.
I don’t have the need to use every single action as I settle on what suits my brand and leave it there. However if you are the type of photographer that enjoys dabbling on Photoshop with colours and portraits; then this applies to you!
The proof is in the pudding so they say, so here is a walk through of each stage of the actions that I ran and you can see the build up to the final image.
These are the camera settings used and the original image out of camera:
The starting point for me is to slightly lift it to my normal editing techniques. This isn’t necessary, but wanted to see what the actions would be like with these settings as the highlights needed work as well as the shadows.
The first action I ran was the Base – Bright Sunny Day – this adds fantastic vibrance to the whole image and not just a specified area. As the last action added warmth to the whole image, I still felt as if the shadow areas under the tree needed a bit more of a lift in the shadows and make it a bit more warmer. This runs a Mask to the image and you can paint where you do NOT want the action to take place. In this instance, I simply wanted the surroundings warmer and not the subject; the mask is painted on her.
A little more colour correction was needed for the next stage and ran this action to make it the final image that I am happy with that suits my brand.
Other examples of this process and further portrait edits – particular the advanced portrait techniques. The advanced techniques are great if you want to enhance mascara, eyeliner, lip colours, contouring and also whites of the eyes. This is not something I generally do for portraits, but thought it was a good technique to try out.
For reference, Sleeklens also do this pack as a Lightroom preset option if you are more into your batch processing. They also have a huge variety of different editing packs on their website for all sorts of photography genres.
Thanks Sleeklens for sending this pack over and hope this blog has helped in your editing journey! If you are interested you can purchase here: https://sleeklens.com/lightroom-tutorials
- To view the live editing video on You Tube – Click Here
- We will be launching a new editing workshop over the next few months – please do get in touch to be placed on the waiting list.