How to use Photoshop Actions

How to use Photoshop Actions

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Photoshop or Elements Actions are designed to save you time and enhance your images.  

They are also an amazing tool for fixing photos that you may otherwise throw away do to exposure issues.  

The following are some great tips & best practices when using actions.


Do I need software to be able to use Photoshop Actions?  

Yes.  Actions are an addition to the software program Photoshop or Elements by Adobe.  Each set sold by Colorvale will list the necessary compatible software version needed.


Do raw files have to be processed a certain way in order to get the best effect from actions?  

Raw files do not have to processed a certain way other than getting a great exposure base.  Here are my general setting in RAW that allow me to usually get a clean base to begin.  You can save these as a preset for your next editing.  Remember the exposure bracket is usually something I adjust per the photo however everything else is about the same.


 How To Use Photoshop Actions ACR

Sharpening photos in ACR




I love adding Actions to all my photos and they will look gorgeous on the screen but when I print them, they look totally different and actually some look bad. What am I doing wrong?  

If you find that what you are editing on your screen is not matching the prints this is due to not calibrating your screen.  No computer has correct colors without this calibration.  We suggest the SpyderPro which will help you to ensure that what you are editing is true to color.



How do you blend some of the actions to make them smooth and natural?   

Creating a natural look with actions is usually the desired outcome.  You don't want people to say "wow that's edited" you want them to say "wow, that's an amazing photograph" and this can be achieved using actions.  

The trick is all in Opacity and turning on or off layers.  To use actions you must be familiar with your layers palette located in the software.  The layers made by an action create an effect.  This is sometimes too strong for a photograph when first applied.  

However, if you go into the action and turn down the Opacity as a whole or turn off unnecessary layers you will get a beautiful fit.  Also there is a blend mode for layers that will create an entirely different look that may become your style.  Click on the layer & adjust these few things and come up with your style. 

Once you have done this to one of the images you can then drag ALL those layers on top of each photo in the session so that you have a uniform color.


How to use layers in Photoshop


What should my image settings be for photographs?  

We always suggest that your color profile be sRGB and resolution at 300 before beginning.  Don't let this scare you because both of these are usually set within your camera but also available within your editing software.  

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