Some of you who drop by this wee photo blog of mine may be aspiring photographers yourselves. If that is the case, this post is definitely for you.
In this digital era of ours, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the other other half of digital photography: post processing! What that really means is any photo editing software which can enhance one’s digital images that go from camera to computer.
Photoshop is not a new concept, of course, but there are tons of programs out there from which to choose, and it can be overwhelming. Personally, I use Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. The pros from whom I’ve learned were right when they said this is a very powerful combination of software tools. I have loved delving into these programs and taking my photography to the next level.
When starting to use photo editing software, it’s important to seek out those who can educate you. Adobe makes some very sophisticated software. Fortunately, there are gurus aplenty. One such guru of Photoshop actions (and I believe she’s diving into Lightroom, as well) is Rita from The Coffeeshop Blog.
Run don’t walk to her website! She is one of the kindest, most generous, talented gals out there. She designs fantastic actions to help photographers–amateur and professional alike–achieve the best possible edits to their photos. (She also has a plethora of frames and other web-ready templates.) If you don’t believe me, you can check out her Facebook Page, where thousands of people flock and post their pictures. I have done so myself.
If you don’t know what an action or a preset is, these are recorded settings that “play” in your preferred editing program and after the settings have been applied to your image, you can tweak from there. Actions are like an invisible photographer’s assistant, though I should stress the importance of tailoring the look to your own particular style. When left unmodified, photos can look awfully garish with too many actions run as-is on them.
Because learning such software does take time and patience to become comfortable in, it is so wonderful to have in-the-know folks like Rita developing actions for anyone to practice with. Personally, her Perfect Portrait and Baby Powder Room actions are staples of mine when it comes to portrait editing. They really help me achieve the exact enhancements I am vying for within each layer. I’ll post a before and after below.
As I’ve developed my style in post processing, I still try to remind myself from time to time to remember just how far I’ve come. I have much more confidence with my edits. Rita’s actions are f-r-e-e (100%!) but she does accept donations if you find her stuff useful. And believe me, once you start using her actions, it’ll be hard to stop.
Some photographers prefer not to use actions, as they like to do each little step by him or herself. And I think that’s great! Whatever works. For me, actions help me see what can be accomplished with my software tools; they give me an extra leg up when I otherwise wouldn’t have known what to do.
So thank you, Rita. This is my tribute post to you and your body of work.
The top photo is untouched, the bottom uses at least one action from Rita. Taken June 2011.