Hi, it's Emily with a photoshop tutorial for you today. There are times that I am post-processing a lot of photos. And doing the same thing over and over again can get tedious and time consuming. There are also times when I want my photo to have a fun vintage feel, one I know how to create with adjustments, but I don't quite remember how I did it. Both of these situations are times it's nice to know how to make your own actions. An action is a series of steps that have been recorded in Photoshop. That's it. There are tons of free ones out there, just google the phrase "actions in Photoshop (or Elements)" and you'll find more than you know what to do with! (You can find tutorials on installing actions the same way.) But it's really easy to make your own, which is what I'm going to show you how to do today.
1. First off, you're going to open the photo you'd like to run through an action. Now you are ready to start recording. How do you do this?
2. Go to the Window tab and click on Actions, this will open a pop up window, mine sits in the upper right corner of my work station. In the bottom left of that window, you'll find a stop (square), a record (circle), and a play (arrow) icon. They should all be grey right now.
3. In that window, you'll see a small downward pointing arrow head to the left of three vertical lines. Click on that and a new pop up menu will appear, If you select New Action..., a new pop up window will appear, I'm not going to show you a picture, just trust me.
4. You'll get to name your action at this point, name it something that makes sense. For this photo, I'm going to up the contrast a lot and desaturate a little, so I'm calling it "Up and Out." This is totally up to you. Once you have it named, hit record and you'll notice a the record icon in the Actions window will turn red.
5. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS start by going to Image and Duplicate your photo as your first recorded action. You might be sorry if you don't.
6. Now what you do is totally up to you. For this image, I played with the Hue/Saturation, the Levels, the Curves, and the Brightness/Contrast (all found under the Image/Adjustments tab) What you do depends on your picture, if you follow my steps exactly, you probably won't get the exact same results, conditions and cameras are going to be different.
7. I lowered the Saturation.
8. I adjusted the Levels. I always have to do this adjustment on my camera, it's an underexposer.
9. I adjusted the Curves.
10. I adjusted the Brightness/Contrast, bumping the Contrast all the way up to 100.
11. I still wasn't happy with the Saturation level, so I lowered that some more.
12. When I was happy with the look, I stopped the recording by clicking on the stop icon (it's a square) in the Actions window. Now you can save your image and use it as you'd like.
That's it. Easy, huh? There are so many ways to get the same end results in Photoshop, I am by no means an expert, I just play around with the program until I am happy with the look of an image. This action will work for other photos, but I might need to adjust things just a bit. However all the pictures I took at this shoot location will easily clean up in this same fashion. That's what's nice about an action, it does the same thing to a series of pictures, taking some of the leg work out of your process.
I hope I've been clear in my directions, if you need more help, please contact me through my Studio Calico profile or my blog.