Hi all. For this month’s Tech Tip we’re going to talk about how to use photoshop actions. Now before we get all fancy into picture editing, make sure you’ve read previous Tech Tips about how to optimize photos for your blog and how to use alt tags to make your images more searchable. If you’re not doing those two things, it won’t matter how many pretty Photoshop actions you’re using, your page will load slower and when people pin your pretty picture you won’t get the most mileage you can out of that pin.
OK, so now that you’re all up to speed on that stuff, let’s talk actions. What are Photoshop actions? Well, Photoshop (the Creative Suite version, not Photoshop Elements) has a nifty feature that lets you record and save a series of edits as an action, then apply the same action to other photos. It’s kind of like when you apply a filter to an Instagram picture (BTW, are you on Instagram? So much fun – find me here – I’m mellysews).
See the picture below? This is from the Summer Vibe collection photos I did – I wanted them to have a washed out retro feel, so I cropped and ran a few actions (I think it was three) and here’s what I got:
But wait – even if you have no idea about editing in Photoshop or you only own Photoshop Elements, you can still use actions! Because there are other awesome people who create the actions for you – that’s what I used in the photo above. And they are super easy once you have them installed. First you open your photo. Then you click the action you want to use. And then your photo looks awesome. Many actions have layers that you can adjust until the photo is just perfect, but that’s it!
So here’s what this looks like when I edit in Photoshop Elements (I think I have version 8).
Click the action you want to use.
In the layers area, adjust parts of the action to taste. That’s it!
So where do you get actions? Well, you can buy them, but there are also some great actions you can get for free. My favorite source is The CoffeeShop Blog. I use these so often that I just bought her action pack, but she also has every action available for free on her blog. Check them out here: CoffeeShop Actions. My favorites are Perfect Portrait 3, CoffeeShop Lustrous Color Pop, Storybook Vintage and Once Upon a Time. I think for the Summer Vibe photo above I combined Once Upon a Time with Storybook Vintage and then added a blue sky color filter. You’ll also need to check out her install page to install the actions, and you can find that here.
The Pioneer Woman also has a popular set of free actions. I’ve never used these, but you can see in her post what they look like.
I hope you have fun playing with actions, and if you have a tech issue or question you’d like to see me address in a future post, leave me a comment – I’m always looking for ideas.