I admit it, I use Photoshop actions as a crutch. I do not use them to minimize my workflow. I use them because I have no idea what I am doing in a program as complex as Photoshop CS5.
Well, I am trying to learn. Slowly but surely I am learning. It helps that I am also trying my hardest to get things right in camera, so I can just tweak and then add artistic adjustments.
I had a family shoot two weekends ago. After the shoot I tweeted how fast my edits were going. By the way, you should totally follow me on twitter. I am extremely dorky. Now back to the post… Here are my shots absolutely straight out of the camera (but formatted as jpeg, since I shoot RAW).
Don’t even get me started on how mad I am that I cut off her foot. She was moving so fast and that foot was tucked in next to the other one, then poof not any longer. I have been trying to line up my shots knowing I am going to have to crop some off to fit standard frame sizes (8x10, 5x7, etc.). So that is why there was excessive space to the left.
I opened this shot in Adobe Camera Raw. If you have Photoshop or Elements I highly recommend you use ACR. It is a free plug in. It has intuitive sliders that make adjustments easy to see and control. I increased my black levels, brightness, vibrance, contrast, and clarity to adjust to this.
Then I added a texture. Yep, I have been experimenting with textures in portraits. Who would have thunk it?
So this was the ending shot after a quick crop to make it fit the standard portrait sizes, and sharpening for web with a watermark placement. The entire process took me about 3 minutes. I talked with her mom when we were lining up the shoot and she specifically did not want any skin smoothing edits. She wanted her photos to look as natural as possible. Which I am all for (as long as it isn’t my photograph, then photoshop the snot out of it!)
Now after looking at it, I want to clone out the shadows from the trees in the background. How did I not see that until just now? Oh well, off to do it because it is bugging the crap out of me to see now.
So now it is your turn, honest critiques. Go ahead I have thick skin. What would you like to see in this shot?