10 Premium Photoshop Actions Used by Pros

Premium photoshop actions can be real lifesavers for photographers that need to edit and process a great number of photos. They might not come for free, but they can make your life a lot easier if you are a beginner at photography editing, since they will ensure that your photos look professional with a minimum of effort.

Whether you are enhancing wedding photos, adding an Instagram vibe to your collage, or making sure newborn portraits have the appropriate lighting, there’s no way you will regret buying a premium package. Make sure you buy them from trusted websites and forget about getting them off a torrent. A lot of hard work has went into creating these Photoshop features. Here are our top 10 premium Photoshop Actions.

1. Flare Lights Photoshop Action

Photoshop Actions for nature photos

If what your photos need is a warm vintage glow, then you should use Flare Lights Photoshop Action. This premium feature will turn you into a DeviantArt professional with only a few clicks.

2. Comicbook iT

10 Premium Photoshop Actions

Those that are trying to give a comic book or cartoon effect to their photos should look no further than the ComicBook iT Photoshop Action set. One click is all it takes to turn you into the next Andy Warhol. You can choose from 4 different rendering styles, from colorful to black and white ones.

3. Portrait V2.0

Photoshop Actions

This Photoshop Action covers everything from skin, to eye, teeth, or lips retouches that will turn your subject into a work of art. Buy it in order to create some of the best portraits ever made, all blemish-free. You can correct for bloodshot eyes, give a luscious aspect to those auburn locks, or whiten those teeth.

4. Free Faux HDR Actions

Photoshop Actions for sunsets

This is a set of 13 Actions which will give that HDR-effect to your photos. Each of these actions can be powerful tools since they also add a sharpening effect to your works. In case you are not happy with the results, you can revert to the original photo.

5. Greater Than Gatsby Photoshop Actions

Photoshop Actions for newborn photos

All Greater than Gatsby Photoshop Actions are useful tools for professional photographers and novices alike. Their packages are compatible with both PC and Mac. Regardless of your Adobe Photoshop version, be it a CS3, a CS5,  or CS6 one, Greater than Gatsby will show you how it’s done. All their Action Sets come with detailed tutorials on how to download, install, export, or create cool effects.

Their Newborn Essentials package is hard to top in terms of usability and variety. You can paint away jaundice, red splotches or purple toes, so that those newborns look as clean as a whistle. This package also comes with an entire batch of amazing elements from which you can choose your favorite light vignette or enhancement.

6. Florabella Action Sets

Photoshop Actions for close ups

Florabella Action Sets are great for those that are looking to create dreamy portraits and remind you of a pure atmosphere. You can use each element in the package to edit your selected images. You can even make new photos look like old ones by adding a matte vintage effect. If you are planning to shoot weddings, Florabella Action Sets will take your clients to the moon and back when they see the end result.

7. Watercolor & Pencil Photoshop Action

10 Premium Photoshop Actions for Photographers

Whether you’re interested in a pencil or watercolor effect, this action set will help you set a new record in terms of the artistic qualities of your works. You can edit as many frames as you want using this Action, so that you create that perfect fusion of colors. They even offer help installing it.

8. MCP Actions

Photoshop Actions for portraits

Newborn Necessities Actions, Fusion Actions or their season-themed Actions, all are totally worth the investment. MCP will help you save time and gain more money by being more productive than ever. Over 50 Action packs are stored in their shop, where you can buy each one of them.

9. Look Filter Photoshop Actions

Photoshop Actions for Photographers

If you want to hang out with the pros, then you have to get the Look Filter Photoshop Actions. They even offer free trials in case you might want to try their products first. You can bet you will feel privileged if you get your hands on one of their limited edition sets. Offering a wide range of new sets, Look Filter makes sure you don’t repeat yourself when editing those photos. You can choose from The Dark Knight Rises (inspired by old Hollywood movies), The Holy Helmut (dedicated to Helmut Newton), or The Lith Process (inspired by Lith Prints).

10. Totally Rad Photoshop Actions

Premium Photoshop Actions for Photographers

As the name suggests, these Photoshop Actions are totally rad. Not only are they rad, but they are also legendary (or so their website claims), with many photographers choosing their products. You can use them to adjust color, saturation, brightness and contrast, or to add that little extra something that your work needs. You can try their stuff for free and you can choose from the TRA1 – The Original Mix or TRA2 – The Revenge, which feature a plethora of elements to add to your photo and help you finish that project faster.

Extra Mention – Free Online Actions

You can also find many free Photoshop Action sets on the world wide web, in case you are not willing to pay. The CoffeeShop won’t give you coffee, but you might find amazing downloads that will only leave you to worry about finding the appropriate file format for exporting your work. The same can be said about The Pioneer Woman. Polaroid frames are quite popular among hipsters, so there is no need for you to invest money in Photoshop Actions that can mimic photos taken on film. You can find many of them online with a simple google search. 

These were our top 10 choices for premium Photoshop Actions. You can shop for them online and you might even find some of them on sale. Now you are ready to create a Tumblr blog and start uploading your creations.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Natural HDR in Photoshop and Lightroom

HDR photography was made to address the restrictions of photography equipment, mainly in the sensors of digital cameras. This technology was intended to recreate in photos, as accurately as possible, a human experience by connecting what the human eye actually sees and what a digital camera can shoot.

You can think of HDR as being a complex, ND filter based on software. Instead of applying a filter on your lens when you shoot images, you can accomplish a natural HDR in Photoshop and Lightroom. You won’t have to carry massive equipment with you when taking shots and you can work on your image from the comfort of your own home.

The reason HDR received such bad press recently is that there is a misconception regarding what it actually stands for. The concept that HDR is a new type of photography is entirely incorrect. HDR isn’t a genre or style it’s simply a post-processing technique. It’s just a tool and you will have control over the process.

1. Bracketing images

Before you can get started on processing images for HDR you will have to take some bracketed photos with different levels of exposure. Typically you can take three to five shots for each series. However, if you plan on shooting in extreme conditions of light, such as with the sun right in front of you, it’s possible that you will have to shoot up to nine images.

It’s ideal to shoot multiple images with the help of a tripod, but it’s not completely necessary because Photoshop has a very good alignment function built in. It’s possible to take shots with the camera in your hands and align them in Photoshop.

2. Lightroom Preprocessing

The preprocessing step is a very easy one and shouldn’t take that long. You will have to import your images in Lightroom and apply these adjustments that can be found inside the Lens Correction section.

Turn on Profile Corrections. Adobe Lightroom will automatically detect which type of lens you used and will apply corrections in order to fix any distortion on your images.

Remove the Chromatic Aberration. Adobe Lightroom will automatically clean the edges of your images.

3. Photoshop Tone Mapping

This is mostly an automated process and shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to achieve.

In Adobe Lightroom select the photos you want to merge. Right click on the selection and enter Edit In -> Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop.

Natural HDR in Photoshop

The photos you chose will appear in Photoshop and will be put in individual layers. Instantly, an algorithm will be used to align all your image layers. This is very useful if you shot your photos without a tripod.

After this, the HDR Pro platform will be brought on. The only thing that you will have to do inside the interface is to pick the tone mapping setting. We recommend that you choose the 32 bit feature in order to keep as much data as possible from the original photos. Select OK.

The HDR Pro will merge the images together and will open the 32 bit image in the main interface in Photoshop. The process is now complete. All that remains is for you to save your image. The HDR image is automatically imported in Lightroom after you save it. The processed image will be right next to your original images.

4. Lightroom Processing

This is the best step. You will edit your HDR image with its huge bit depth to make it look the way you want it to. Make use of the standard workflow in Lightroom to satisfy your creative view.

Natural HDR in Photoshop

This is a photograph taken in Cuba that has been achieved by following these steps. Below it you will see another image with the settings used to achieve it.

Natural HDR in Photoshop

You’re all done now. If you are pleased with how your image turned out you can export it from Lightroom as a JPEG.

5. Photoshop final touch

This is an optional step but during certain circumstances these kinds of images will require extra work, like a bit of noise reduction, cleaning of HDR artifacts and sharpening. Photoshop is the go to program when it comes to these edits.

Select your finished image in Lightroom and right click on it. From there you will have to choose Edit -> Edit in Adobe Photoshop. Once it’s opened in Photoshop, make all the necessary adjustments in order to improve it. Most of the times, all you will have to do is apply a little noise reduction.

That’s about it. Use these simple steps in order to achieve natural HDR in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Images source: 1, 2, 3

Adobe Creative Suite 6 vs Creative Cloud – Which is Right for Me?

adobe creative suite 6 vs creative cloud

Adobe launched Creative Suite 6 back in 2012. The bad thing is that the tools inside the suite are out of reach for most people because of their prices. Even though Adobe offers discounts for people who upgrade from older releases and its software costs a lot less for some segments in the market such as teachers or students they are still quite steep. So, we wanted to examine cheaper alternatives such as Creative cloud. But what are the differences between Adobe Creative Suite 6 vs Creative Cloud?

When Adobe introduced cc, it was received with a little uncertainty. Since then, CC saw a lot of success and a lot of people started using it. Adobe Creative Suite is still sold but most people now prefer the Cloud alternative. Cloud from Adobe contains the latest and greatest toolset and is generally high rated by customers. If you’re interested in purchasing Creative Cloud, check it out here on Amazon.

Adobe CC is only available via subscription and it is, in some ways, cloud based. However, don’t let the name fool you. It’s a very powerful piece of software and the applications inside it are not web-based or online. Adobe made it clear that Photoshop and other powerful tools might add numerous online features but the software will never completely run in the cloud.

Adobe Creative Suite 6 vs Creative Cloud – What is in Creative Cloud?

Adobe Creative Cloud comes with newer versions of all the tools in the older cs6 as well as others such as Lightroom, Adobe Edge and more. Most of these applications don’t rely on the Internet to run as you will download them and install them locally as you would with CS6. However, you will have to connect to the Internet once every 4 months for revalidation of your annual subscription.

Adobe CS6 vs CC – Which is the right one for you?

Before comparing prices, it’s quite important to know that it’s not all about the cost. Adobe supports CS6 for the existing Mac OS and Windows releases but they don’t have any plans to support the suite on the next operating systems from Apple and Microsoft. This means that it’s very likely that the Creative Suite 6 won’t be supported on newer versions of Mac OS and Windows. Creative Cloud, however, is a product as well as a service so it will always be updated and supported for the newest technologies, devices and platforms.

Adobe Creative Suite

The cost of Adobe’s Creative Cloud is $49.99 per month on a yearly plan and $74.99 when bought month-to-month. For the people who are upgrading from the previous Creative Suite costs $29.99 per month and teachers and students will pay $19.99 a month for the product. This means that the toolset costs around 1 to 2 dollars a day to use.

Adobe Creative Suite

The CS6 Master Collection costs $2,600 when bought full and $1,050 when upgrading from CS5. Keep in mind that this price is for a static, older version of the suite that will never improve or evolve. It seems like Creative Cloud is the better deal here.

You also have the possibility to opt for what tools you want from the complete cc package. There are bundles such as the Photoshop Photography Bundle which comes with Photoshop and Lightroom and costs $9.99 a month. However, if you only use Photoshop or After Effects you can also buy standalone apps.

Single App Membership

If you think that the complete cc suite is a little too much for you, then you will be happy to know that you can buy a membership to use a single tool. This option is not known by many people but you can actually subscribe for just a single app such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere, InDesign, Acrobat Pro and many others for just $14.99 to $19.99 a month. The download and sign-up are made online so you can do so whenever you want. On top of this, all the upgrades for your software are included in the package so you will always be running the most recent version.

All the new tools in the old software are available on a month-to-month as well as an annual subscription in all the languages for both Windows and Mac OS, so this is quite flexible. If you later decide that you wish to upgrade to the complete package and have access to all the applications, Adobe will refund the remaining amount on your account on your membership plan.

Comparing the $19 a month versus $1,000 to buy, let’s say, After Effects, you will see that it is at least worth your consideration.

It’s also a known fact that Adobe won’t launch a new cs number 7 so the Creative Cloud might be your only chance of getting newer, more evolved tools to work with.

Images source: amazonaws.com, adobe.com, techjobsla.com

The Lowdown: What Are the Setup Costs of a Photography Startup?

Are you really a professional photographer, or are you a passionate amateur – but one who’s ultimately pretending to be a pro? Often enough, the one differentiator between pros and amateurs is working up the courage to start a legal photography business. It’s not enough to have a camera, website, Facebook page, and a couple of gigs here and there (either for money, or for ‘exposure’). The one essential ingredient you need is to take your photography business seriously – because, until you do, no one else is going to take it seriously either. Now, of course, before you decide on the matter, it’s only normal to want to figure out the setup costs of a photography startup. That’s where we come in, with today’s blog post: a rundown of all the major costs you are likely to face, in your quest to open a new photo biz.

The gear setup costs of a photography startupsetup-costs-for-a-photography-startup01

·         Cameras

Make no mistake, you’re going to need at least two of them, in order to be prepared to deal with camera malfunctions. The pros’ best recommendation for wedding photographers is the Nikon D610 ($2,000 a piece) – you’re going to need two bodies, sans the lens included in the full kit.

·         Lenses

One of the most important investments, in terms of setup costs of a photography startup, is that into lenses. Here’s the kit that the pros recommend: Nikon 35mm f/2.0 ($350), Nikon 50mm f/1.8 ($299), Nikon 85mm f/1.8 ($499) and the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 ($2,400). About that last lens: yes, it is expensive, but it’s absolutely essential for wedding photogs who often shoot in low light conditions, such as churches.

·         Other gear

A couple of flashes are mandatory and, if you go for the Nikon D610, you might want to opt for two Nikon SB-700 flashes ($329 a pop). Additionally, the rest of the accoutrements: camera bags, memory cards, stands for lights, flash triggers, reflectors, etc. Be prepared to spend at least $500 on them (though $1,000 sounds like a more realistic amount).

Business setup costs

setup-costs-for-a-photography-startup02Let’s get down to the pure business setup costs of a photography startup now. First off, you’re going to have to pay $125 for incorporating your business. Then, you’re going to want to have that business insured, for roughly $600. The services of an accountant will cost you about $300 per year, and a money and client manager to keep track of your finances will add an extra $130, let’s say, to the total tally. A showcase of product samples can cost anywhere between $200 and $1,000.

Then comes the issue of legal fees – you’re going to want your contracts to be completely in order. Ideally, you should seek out a lawyer with previous experience in the field of photography, or one who’s a photographer themselves. Hourly fees are about $400 to $2,000, but you can also purchase ready-made contracts online ($55 to $450) and have your lawyer review them.

Computer & online costs

As far as IT and tech setup costs for photography startups go, you know that there’s no way you can survive without an iMac, and that’s at least $1,299 right there. Then, you will want to invest in a color calibration tool for your screen, a couple of backup hard drives, and licenses to use Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop suites. All in all, these items are going to cost you an extra $450, with the amendment that software licenses need to be renewed each year. And since we’re on the topic of yearly costs, also add yearly hosting and domain name costs for your website (about $70/year), plus a website theme (a good one shouldn’t cost more than $50).

Of course, you might want to invest in some training and business streamlining tools, such as a pricing guide workbook ($150 to $250), a marketing course (about $800), a sales guide ($250). These are optional, but, chances are, they will help you make a lot more money faster, once you invest. So, once you draw the line, expect to put in about $15,000 in your wedding photography business right from the get-go. How does this amount sound for you?

How to Reduce Your Photo Post-Production Time in 3 Simple Steps

reduce-your-photo-post-production-timeA career in wedding photography doesn’t have to mean a you only do one job, i.e. shoot weddings. Of course, perhaps your business strategy is that of a one-person army, a single-engine machine. That is, you shoot and edit your own photos, without the aid of an assistant or second shooter. However, perhaps your current level of career development has brought you to a less stable position and you alternate between post-production work in the studio, second shooting with various main photographers, and running your own photography operation. The advantage of doing all these things is that you develop a lot of diverse and useful skills, not the least important of which is that of knowing how to reduce your photo post-production time. We’ll tell you all about it today – though the truth is that it all boils down to a single strategy: knowing how to shoot like an editor.

1) Tell your clients’ story

As a wedding photographer, what’s your main goal? Putting together a portfolio of photos that look amazing on your blog, that have a ton of editorial appeal, that could, after all is said and done, end up in a wedding magazine? Or do you rather want to please your clients? Ideally, you should strike a balance between the two goals, but, at the end of the day, your clients are always the most important members of your audience as a photographer. They’re the ones whose needs you want to satisfy and whose story you want to tell. And they won’t always care as much as you do about super-edited photos with editorial value. They’ll want the candid smiles and the group photos, so focus on those if you want to keep them happy and reduce your photo post-production time.

2) Shoot for film

In the day and age of digital photography supremacy, it’s all too easy to overshoot. When there’s a 16GB memory card inside your camera, you might find yourself unable to stop shooting – but ending the event with tens of thousands of photos on your camera won’t help reduce your photo post-production time. Instead of falling into this entrapment, try to shoot with the eye of an editor. Try to think ahead and anticipate the necessary edits with each photo you take. You don’t want to be stuck in the studio for days, culling out your photos before you get to do anything else. The general rule of thumb here is to forget that the camera you hold in your hands is digital – think of it as an old-school film camera with no more than 36 exposures on a roll of film. This might just teach you to appreciate each shot and determine you to try and make it count.

3) Let your mistakes teach you

Irrespective of whether you work with an editor or edit all your own photos, you can always learn from your mistakes, especially if you want to reduce your photo post-production time. If you do work with an editor, try to spend some time with them as they work on your photos (and, ideally, on the work of other photographers, too). Perhaps you chose to use a 50mm lens in a small, crowded space and ended up with pictures that had to be massively cropped, in order for the guests’ expressions to become visible. Perhaps you selected an exposure time that worked for one part of the photo, but completely obliterated the side of it that would have actually been relevant. Until you shoot (and then shoot some more), it’s going to be difficult for you to understand what techniques and methods work in which particular contexts – but when you do, do pay heed to your errors.

Create Great Wedding Cinemagraphs in 15 Steps

create-great-wedding-Cinemagraphs

Image via PhotoJojo

What are cinemagraphs, you ask? Why, what a question! Essentially, they’re Graphics Interchange Format files, better known as .gifs. You’ve seen them all over your favorite entertainment websites online and you can even make them with nothing more than your smartphone these days, since, of course, there’s an app for that. However, there’s also a professional way to create great wedding cinemagraphs that will bring those unforgettable moments to life.

How to create great wedding cinemagraphs: A checklist

You’re going to need a camera that shoots video, a tripod, a video editing program and one version or another of Adobe Photoshop. And, of course, props, a model or several, and, most importantly, ideas for cinemagraphs.

#1. Plan out your scene. Shoot for subtle motions, moments and movements. In contrast, the rest of your scene should look great when still. Finally, aim for something that looks good when looped.

#2. Set up the camera as solidly as you can on its tripod and shoot away. You need 10 to 20 seconds of video tops.

#3. Make sure you’re shooting in the right format for Photoshop, i.e. either MOV or AVI.

#4. Import your video into Photoshop. You’re going to import the frames of the video into layers, and while more layers make for a smoother animation, anything above 100 layers is probably too much to work with.

#5. Check out the video frames, now imported into separate layers. Make sure you have all the layers you need.

#6. Go to Windows/Animation, to see the layers as actual frames in an animation. Play the animation to identify the moment you are going to be animating next.

#7. Once you’ve found the frames that display the portion you want to see animated. Bear in mind that some of the smoothness of the end .gif is going to be lost after you’ve deleted some of the layers, so choose them wisely.

#8. Choose your Alpha layer. That’s going to be the one layer that stays unchanged in the end .gif. duplicate it and place it over the other layers in the Layers window.

#9. Next, start creating movement in order to actually create great wedding cinemagraphs. This means that you need to start editing the Alpha layer with the aid of vector masks. These masks will effectively do away with the elements that are still in the Alpha layer, but that you want animated in the final version.

#10. Test out the animation, after you’re done masking the portions you want animated. Set the animation to loop Forever, then press play. Make note of any further edits you need to make, so as to make the movement as smooth as possible.

#11. Make sure your loop is smooth. There are several ways in which you can achieve this. One is by adding the Alpha layer plus the very first animation layer, right after the very last layer in the animation. Simply duplicate the last layer, then change what layers appear in it in the Layer window. For more complex animations, you’re going to want to loop some very specific frames in your Animation, that will help make the motion transition smoother.

#12. Color your .gif. .gif files unfortunately can’t hold as much color information as regular pictures, so you’re going to want to use an effect that works well with less data. You can either use a preset Photoshop action for a specific color effect, or colorize all the layers with a specific Photoshop mask.

#13. Save your final .gif in a resolution that’s suited for the web, i.e. not very large. You’re going to want your clients to show it off online and you’re also likely to showcase it in your portfolio. The typical resolution is 72 pixels/inch.

#14. Save the PSD project of the cinemagraph, then Save for Web & Devices.

#15. Enjoy the fact that you now know how to create great wedding cinemagraphs and don’t forget to show off your work!

Survivor’s Guide: How to Sell Your Photography in the Digital Age

sell-your-photography-in-the-digital-ageIf you’ve been in the pro photography business for at least a decade (or even several years), it most definitely hasn’t escaped you how much the business, industry, and, ultimately, the art of taking pictures, have changed during this time. Hark back in time some more, if you will, and you’ll note that the changes that photography has undergone over the past century are unlike those of any other medium. Back in the early 20th century, having your picture taken was a rare and momentous occasion; nowadays, everyone and their grandma is packing enough technology in their pocket as to take a photo anywhere, at any time. So, can you still sell your photography in the digital age?

The short answer is “more so than ever”. The long one is, of course, more complicated. On the one hand, with the multitude of apps and digital editing software available out there for one and all, the pro photographer nowadays is almost obligated to keep up with the digital Joneses. On the other hand, it is this very evolution of the digital realm that has brought up a whole new world of opportunity for professional photographers. To this end, in the following we’re listing some good tips to sell your photography in the digital age.

Know how to price yourself

It’s easy to fall into the trap of devaluing yourself, on today’s competitive digital photography business scene. However, it does a lot of harm to sell yourself short, both to yourself, as well as to your fellow photographers. Set your prices, make them reasonable but sustainable, and make sure you stay firm for the long run. Like with everything else, if the work you put out there is good enough, then pricing issues will become secondary for the buyer of your services.

Sell your photography in the digital age as art

You may be a wedding photographer, a travel photographer, or just about any other kind of photographer – the important thing to remember is that you are, first and foremost, an artist. It doesn’t matter that others out there are choosing to market their technical skills. If you genuinely want to sell your photography in the digital age, you will quickly come to the realization that it’s not the technical skills that will help you sell. That’s because those skills are finite: you can only improve them so much. But your ‘voice’, your own unique visual style, your trademark and signature, is something that will help you position, market, and ultimately sell yourself.

Improve your skill

That being said, don’t rest on the laurels of your career years past. In this field, much like in any other one that has anything to do with art, it’s important to stay in the loop. This is all the more true nowadays, with the digitally native generation of photogs coming up fast from behind. That being said, there are plenty of workshops out there from which you can benefit – at the very least, by learning from those more accomplished than you, you’ll also get the opportunity to network with them. At the same time, you’ll meet up-and-coming new talent and learn about new techniques you might not have been previously exposed to.

Find your niche

There is absolutely no shame in being a niche photographer these days – quite the contrary. Haven’t you noticed how profitable a business stock photography is, for instance? The knack in this sense is to get a feel for what the audience wants, be it wedding photography, or any other segment, and to develop a sense of upcoming trends. As long as you get that down to pat, chances are you’ll do just fine and manage to sell your photography in the digital age.

Photoshop Tutorial – Layer Comps

Have you ever created a multi graphic image layout and wanted to see how modifications would change the feel of the design? Layer Comps allow you to modify a layout quickly while offering design freedom within the same work piece. Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to use Photoshop layer comps and scripts to save many design options in a single Photoshop file.

 

Photoshop – Automating Tasks With Actions

Are you constantly applying the same adjustments in Adobe Photoshop to all of your images? Do you feel like there should be an easier way to increase your work flow? Well there is good news, through the use of actions, you can automate your image modifications. Richard Harrington will share with you how to quickly reapply complex artistic effects to multiple images.

Top Ways To Automate Lightroom

Automating Adobe Lightroom can save huge amounts of time. This 2 part video series
hosted by Julieanne Kost will show important features and shortcuts that you use. Do you work in the development module or image grid area mostly? Learn the shortcuts that will relocate your views quickly.

Part 2 of the automation of Lightroom