I’ve just discovered the joy of Photoshop actions! My photos look better with one click:
So what exactly are Photoshop actions? If you find yourself performing the same editing steps on photos (brightness, exposure, curves, etc.), you can save some time and record them. Then when you want to edit a photo, just highlight the action you created, press “play” and those steps will magically happen.
Or, if you’re still learning curves and all that other Photoshop stuff, you can download pre-made actions from a pro and look like you know what you’re doing. That’s what I did.
Links to Photoshop Actions – Free and Paid (Updated)
These are the five Photoshop actions I bought ($4 each), created by Adrienne Looman:
Here’s how they each look:
UPDATED to include another set of examples:
The Pioneer Woman has fabulous free actions. Here are a few of them:
Installing Photoshop Actions
The actions are easy to install. Texas Chicks has written instructions, video instructions and FAQs for The Pioneer Woman actions here. There are download instructions that come with the paid actions from Two Peas in a Bucket.
Here’s a screenshot of where actions are located in Photoshop – I highlighted the areas mentioned in the directions:
This article has more information on creating and installing actions.
To apply an action to a photo, simply open the photo in Photoshop, highlight the action you want, and click the triangle “play” button.
Examples Using Photoshop Actions
All of these photos were taken with a point-and-shoot Sony Cybershot and are straight out of the camera. No other editing was done except cropping on a few of them.
(Note: I’m only including examples using the paid actions from Two Peas in a Bucket in case you are thinking about buying one. The actions from Pioneer Woman are free, so you can download and experiment without worrying about cost.)
Of course some actions look better with faces, some better with landscapes, some bring out certain colors more, some look more vintage, etc. My favorite is clean exposure – it worked well on every photo I tried.
If you find a great Photoshop action, please include a link in the comments!
UPDATE – Elements users:
The description of Adrienne Looman’s Photoshop actions states that “it will work in just about any Photoshop version (elements and up). CS users have the easiest installation process, while Elements users will have a couple more steps to install. I recommend using Elements 6.0 and up. I would not suggest purchasing this if you have a version lower than 6.0. If you are unsure, please contact me first before placing your order.” I got this info from her Etsy site here.
The Pioneer Woman has some actions made just for Photoshop Elements here, along with installation info and links.