I've been wanting to add more how-to's to A Good Hue and thought a Blogger How-To series would be perfect. For my first post, I wanted to share how easy it is to edit photos using Actions on Photoshop. Even if you're not a blogger, these tips can help beef up your own photo editing skills!
Photoshop Actions are a series of steps that can be applied all at once to an image you are working on in just one click. They're super easy to use and make editing a breeze-- similar to filters, they can add different effects and colorings to your photos. For my blog photos, I usually use the same action so that all of my photos have a consistent look, but you can be creative and mix it up, or even layer actions for your own customized look. At the end of this post, I'll link to some of my favorite action packs, most of which are free! Keep reading for the how-to:
You'll need to first download and install the action packs into your Photoshop program. When you download these, there is typically instructions on how to install them. You can find the action menu under 'Windows' then 'Actions.' I keep mine handy on the side panel for easy access.
Step 1: First, open the image you are going to edit. Above is my image without any editing.
Step 2: Prior to using actions, I may apply some slight editing (color-correcting, etc.) if needed. I then duplicate the layer and sharpen the image using 'Unsharp Mask' found in the 'Sharpen' sub-menu in 'Filter'. I then adjust the opacity of sharpen, usually between 40% - 60% depending on the image. I then flatten the image to merge the layers together.
Step 3: Once my layers are merged, I apply my action. I really like the Fresh & Colorful action from Pioneer Woman, but there are so many others to choose from! In your actions bar, select the action you want to use and then press the 'play' icon to play the selection. You can see all the specific steps within the action that are being applied to your image.
Step 4: This particular action requires some manual adjustments, not all do but some may. After I adjust the Light and Soft Light layers, I just click 'play' again to resume the action.
Step 5: All the steps in the action will be grouped into one layer- if you don't like it, you can delete the entire group and re-start using a different action. Or, you can apply another action on top of this one. Once finished, flatten the image, re-size, and Smart Sharpen ('Filter' -> 'Sharpen', I use custom presets: Amount- 60%; Radius- 0.4px; Reduce Noise- 10% . Below is the final image:
As mentioned, I really like the Pioneer Woman action packs, which are free to download. She has ones for black and white photos, vintage, colorized and more. The Coffee Shop Blog has a HUGE list of actions for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements-- including retouching actions, design actions and more- this is an amazing resource. IFB offers a set of 12 free actions, and A Beautiful Mess has some gorgeous collections of actions, but are fee-based. Happy editing!
Questions? Have some favorite action packs to share? Let me know in the comments below!