Photoshop actions can save a lot of time with the editing process and create a unified look to a series of images. I have been testing the Portrait Perfection Photoshop actions by Sleeklens. The set contains 56 actions to enhance tone and colour as well as actions for portrait re-touching.
The actions are clearly organised in well labelled sets. I tried them out on some location photos. First, I tested each of the actions on a single photo to get an idea of what the set is capable of. You can create a variety of looks, from light and bright to strong and contrasty. The enhanced tones allow you to create a mood which suits your photo - cool, warm, bright, dark, desaturated or even musky, pink toned.
Here is the first photo I tried. BEFORE - straight out of camera
AFTER - I used:
Base from Scratch
Colour correction - reduce greens. I used this to remove the green colour cast from the face and underarm area.
It was a quick and simple way to brighten and enhance the photo.
For the second photo, I used a few extra actions. Here is the BEFORE - straight out of camera.
AFTER: I used the following actions for this one:
Base from scratch
Enhanced Tones - Romantic Dance - I masked some layers off the dark leotard so it retained it's tonal depth.
Toned vignette - Yogi Bear 20%
Light Glow - Neutral, I made 3 of these layers and arranged them around the photo, masking off the figure.
I really like the way the actions brought this photo back to life and created an image which was much closer in atmosphere to the gorgeous afternoon of the shoot, than the original photo.
For the final photo, I used a close-up portrait from a woodland fairy shoot. Here is the BEFORE - straight out of camera.
AFTER: I used the following actions:
Base from Scratch
Soft Skin Glow
Dodge and burn - to contour the face.
Sharpen - eyes and lips.
Enhanced Tones - Whisper 70%
Light glow cream - 50% masked off face, hair and hands.
Light glow soft warm 35% in the top left, masked off the rest of the image.
I like the vintage feel of the desaturated, sepia look from the Whisper tone action.
Sleeklens actions are well thought out and easy to use. The arrangement of the actions is logical and makes for a quick and simple workflow. I find the colour correction actions particularly useful. The collection requires a basic knowledge of Photoshop, but should be quite accessible to most photographers. The website also has helpful video tutorials with instructions if you are new to portrait re-touching. There is also a Lightroom preset collection if you prefer to work directly in Lightroom instead of moving over to Photoshop. I personally prefer the extra control and flexibility in Photoshop. I like to open each action folder and often mask a particular layer off an area in the photo, switch off layers, or change the opacity.
An excellent collection of actions which I would highly recommend. Visit www.sleeklens.com to see their full range of Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets and graphic templates from photographer.