View this video for a preview of the "Picadilly" Collection by Basic Grey:
View the entire Picadilly Collection by Basic Grey
View this video to preview the "Little Black Dress" Collection:
View the entire Little Black Dress Collection by Basic Grey
When my boys were just babies, I had little time to focus on my photography so I took up the hobby of digital scrapbooking. It was so new that there were not even any stores selling elements and papers which are now a common place item in hundreds of digiscrap shops. During that early time in my digiscrapping days, I was teaching myself Photoshop 5. Yes, this is before the Creative Suite came along, and even before PS Elements came along. Can I just tell you that I was so frustrated that I nearly gave up the new hobby before I really even started?! Well here I am 7 years and seven Photoshop versions later...
Now that the kids are older and in school all day, I have found more time to pick back up with my photography business and even started designing products specifically for photographers a few years ago. But back when I was learning Photoshop, I found a Photoshop tool called "actions" to be super helpful in creating quick work of repetitive tasks like re-sizing my snapshots of the kids so that I could quickly print out a bunch of 4x6's to share with the grandparents. As my Photoshop skills increased, my actions also became more involved and widely varied - including black & white conversion actions, color pop actions, comic book art action, chocolate conversion action, and so many more.
So in 2007, I started selling these Photoshop and PS Elements actions to other digital scrapbookers. But since I've been really focusing most of my efforts on my photography business much of these last 2 years, it seemed only natural to offer the Photohop actions to photographers too! So I thought that perhaps you'd like to see some before and afters of some images...take a look:
This is a stock image which was fine just the way it was. Perhaps a bit underexposed, but not horrible by any means. With a combination of a few different actions, this has taken on a completely new look. This final image was achieved using Sharpening Action from the Pro Photo Set 4 plus the Eye Defined Action from Pro Photo Single 18 plus YesterYear Action from Pro Photo Single 53 and also the Teeth Whiten Action from Pro Photo Set 5. All of these actions have layer masks so that you can apply the desired effect right where you need it.
This next stock image also uses a combination of several different actions. Notice how much more bold the colors are and how much crisper it looks. This was achieved by using Color Correction Action from Pro Photo Set 2 plus the Downtown Action from Pro Photo Single 55 plus the Flower Child Action from Pro Photo Single 66 and also the Lab Sharpening Action from Pro Photo Set 3. Just like the prior example, all of these utilize layer masks so that each action can be adjusted to your liking.
These actions work well on everyday snapshots too. You don't have to be a professional photographer to enjoy using them and for your images to be taken to a new creative level. Take a look at some of the images that Angie (from the ACOT design team) provided. Her first one is this fun wedding party photo. As you can see, the men are in the shade while the ladies were more in the sun. The skin tones are not equal because of this (see how much cooler the men's skin tone is?). So I used a combination of actions to bring this photo to life. First, I started out by fixing the exposure using theUnderexposure Fix Action from PSE Action Set 1 and only applied the effect to the men's side of the image as they were too dark. Then I added theColor Burst Action from PSE Action Set 2 and utilized the layer masks to warm up the skin tones and give a boost to the color of the wood. But it still needed a little more zing so I used the Flower Child Action from Pro Photo Single 66 and the Dodge & Burn Action from Pro Photo Set 15. And to finish off, it needed to be sharpened up a bit so I used the Sharpen Image Action from Pro Photo Set 1. The result is remarkable. :)
Angie had another really cute shot that she sent over for me to play with. In this shot, I thought the girl's eyes needed to be enhanced - brown eyes can be quite challenging to photograph and often need a little help in Photoshop to bring out their real beauty. I also wanted to enhance the color with this. So I started out by giving it a pop of color with the ColorSat Action from PSE Set 18 and used the layer mask to apply it only to the hat and greenery behind her. To and a little more punch, I used the PSE Luminous Boost Action from PSE Single 21 - again, using the layer mask to only apply the color to the hat. To bring out those beautiful brown eyes, first I used the Brighten Eyes Action from PSE Action Set 8 and then gave them an extra bit of sparkle with the Eye Sparkle Action from PSE Single 26. This combination took this image from dull to dazzling in just a few minutes.
So the next time you are sitting at your computer trying to decide what to do with your images, I hope you will consider using some of these helpful actions to enhance what you've captured. You've already provided the foundation and these actions are just that extra little boost to bring your images to life.
~ Kim Hill is a professional photographer and designer here at A Cherry on Top. To view the Pro Photo Actions CLICK HERE and to view the PS Elements Actions CLICK HERE. Please note that if you are using a pro version of Photoshop, you can use all of the PSE actions too!
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