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What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’?? {Photoshop Recipes & Tutorial}

One of the questions that I get asked the most is, “What kind of Photoshop Actions do you use?”  To me, the better question is, “Which Photoshop Action sets don’t you use?”  Now, that’s a conversation starter.

To say I am a fan of Photoshop Actions would be an understatement.  To me, actions are like my medium that I use to create beautiful art on my photo canvases…cheesy, I know…but its totally true.

I literally have invested in hundreds of Photoshop Actions.  They have become a bit of an obsession for me.  I primarily use actions from about four sets but that’s not to say that they are the only sets that I use.  These are just my go-to ones that I have used to create some of my brands signature looks.  I feel like its important for photographers to find their signature look and stick to it.   To be consistent but yet evolving at the same time.  It sounds like an oxymoron but if we think about it…it totally makes sense.

Our brides have to be able to expect a certain style from us…I mean isn’t that part of the reason they booked with us in the first place? We can’t showcase all these vintage style portraits on our website and portfolio but then give them an end product full images that were edited in the complete opposite way.

But at the same time we have to be willing to always be moving our brand forward and staying relevant.  We can’t get so caught up in our own ways that we are unwilling to change in an industry that is full of trends and forever evolving.  I’ll be the first to admit that I totally rocked the black and white photos with little color pops in the bouquet or eyes or the couple in the middle of the dance floor…but you can bet your last dollar you won’t see that from me anymore.

With that being said, here’s what I am rockin’ these days:

Totally Rad Actions…Mr. Doug Boutwell is a genius if you ask me.  I am SO in love with his action sets.  I have every one and there are some pure gems in there.  I highly recommend these if you are looking for a great set of actions to start with that will help you really define your style.  Plus, they have a great online community where you can share your latest “recipes” and see what others are doing with the same sets to gain some inspiration.

Kubota Image Tools…Kevin Kubota’s actions were actually the very first ones that I bought.  I was using these before I had Lightroom and was editing all of my images in Photoshop.  These were perfect for me and are still some of my staples.  I mean, let’s talk “Daily Multi-Vitamin”.  My absolute favorite, favorite action of all time…hands down, no questions asked, favorite.

Pioneer Woman…Ree Drummond is seriously one of my favorite women.  This woman can do it all.  She’s like a country Martha Stewart who’s into photography. She came up with two sets (with a little help from Mr. Doug Boutwell) that she offers to her readers for free.  Yes, you read it correctly, free.  When I was starting out, that  was SO HUGE for me.

Lastly, there is my Florabella Collection.  This is my newest and latest obsession.  I came across these beauties and am still kind of playing with them to figure out how I want to work them into my brand.  This set is a perfect example of me evolving while remaining consistent…hehe! It sounds so funny but makes complete sense to me.  Hopefully, I’m not the only one.

Lightroom edit for exposure and white balance
Slight Lighten- 60% (Pioneer Woman)
Pro Retouch- 35% (TRA)
Sweetness- 50% (Florabella)
Slight Lighten- 10% (Pioneer Woman)

One of my favorite things about the TRA actions is the pro retouch tool.  To retouch skin is actually a very complicated process…if you want to do a good job and not make it completely obvious.  My biggest thing is that I NEVER want any of my clients to know that I did any sort of retouch on them.  I want them to see their portraits and remember feeling beautiful.  I want them to see the very best versions of themselves.  Not the version that they feel that felt I needed to be changed.  That’s why all of my retouches are subtle and rarely go over a 35% opacity.

Lightroom edit for exposure and white balance
Slight Lighten- 35% (Pioneer Woman)
Punch Out- 18% (TRA)
Pool Party- 55% (TRA)

Lightroom edit for exposure and white balance
BW GM 2 warm + snappy- 100% (Kubota)

Lightroom edit for exposure and white balance
Punch Out- 25% (TRA)
Sweet Tea- 23% (Florabella)

Lightroom edit for exposure & white balance
Punch Out- 40% (TRA)
Hazy Teal- 30% (Florabella)

My best advice for anyone that is still defining who they are or what their style is…just experiment, create and have fun!

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