So, I gave myself up to 3 minutes for each photo. That would be 900 minutes or 15 hours or an hour and half a day for 10 days. Of course, some photos asked for only a minute od editing while others asked for 5, 10 or even 15 minutes. I’ve decided even 20 minutes would be OK if I don’t spend 20 minutes on too many photos. My final estimation is that a few photos took over 20 minutes to edit and two photos took a lot more time to finish them but more about that some other time. I estimate it was that way because I cannot tell for sure since I kept going back to same photos and it probably took longer.
Because I like to take my time to edit photos from scratch and build my own custom Photoshop actions, I don’t really use COTS actions. The ‘COTS’ is a term for commercial off-the-shelf software and it’s popularly used by geeks in the IT industry. However, I was well aware that I need to approach this large editing task in an organized manner and set up a flawless process. Otherwise, I would never deliver photos, especially not in a timely manner. So, I decided to use three excellent COSTS actions for photo enhancement and my own black and white action that I like and trust. I described that action in How to Get a High Contrast Black and White Image?
COTS actions I used the most are 2020 and Lustrous Pop by the CoffeeShopBlog and Lovely and Ethernal (it’s part of set #1 which is CS5 compatible, too) by Pioneer Woman. This last one can seem too soft and flat for some photos so I’ve mixed it with Lustrous Pop to get more texture but to maintain the overall soft and lovely feel at the same time. So, can you tell why you need Photoshop actions (your own or COTS)? You need them to save your time and prevent you from spending an hour of editing for each photo you shoot. Trust me; I would probably be on my photo number 10 instead being done with editing if I didn’t use Photoshop actions.
A Final Photoshop Action Tip:
To save even more time and make things easier for you: create a separate action for saving your photos to a certain folder. I shoot in RAW and I edit in RAW but I deliver photos in Jpeg or PNG. To save a photo I need to go to File, Save as, change the file format to PNG/Jpeg, browse folders to find the one I need to save the photo in, and then I need to hit the save button. With Jpeg you also need to choose the highest quality for the image and for PNG you need to select OK for PNG options. That’s at least 6 clicks! If you record your own saving action, you just need to click on a play button (or hit the function key) and Photoshop will do the rest for you.
The great thing is that you can still browse your photos in Camera Raw while Photoshop is saving your file. After you’re done with your editing project, delete the action.
I use a Save action for my blog photos, too. After I am done with editing, I hit the function key (in my case F2) for my “Save for Blog” action and it resizes the photo, adds the signature, and saves it as a PNG to my “Blog Photos” folder. Creating a PS Action is really simple. Check out this video. There are also action shortcuts at the bottom of the action window with tiny icons that you can use to create actions.
Actions are there to work for you; work smarter, not harder, and use them!