post-processing | a my four hens giveaway

The giveaway is closed. A winner will be announced tonight. Thanks to all who participated and left comments here. I loved hearing from you. :)

I love a well-crafted photo action. Not so much because they make post-processing easier because in some instances, they don’t. You can layer them and alter opacity and really spend a lot of time working with them. Rather, I love them because they’re a lot of fun!

There are different types of photo actions: actions that are essentials to editing such as basic airbrushing, eye pop and teeth whitening to name a few. You will use these to make your basic photo shine. Then there are other actions that are mostly for “looks” if you will. These actions will give your photo a vintage feel or convert it to a crisp black and white, etc etc etc. Lets start with those.

For all of the samples below, I used actions created by one of my absolute favorites, Sarah of My Four Hens Photography.

The photo on the left is SOOC (straight out of camera). You can see how the blue backdrop changed color with the various actions I ran. Some people will run an action and really transform their original photo (and of course, that’s ok!) I try to find a happy medium. For me, that is giving the photo a fresh new look but staying at least partly true to surrounding colors. After all, you don’t want to run so many actions that your once brunette child is now a redhead!

By The Bay and Summer’s Breeze are both available in Sarah’s Glory set. The entire set is wonderful!

These next few actions are from the latest M4H’s set titled Hippy Dippy Trippy. Every single action is amazing! A lot of them give subtle faded tones and a true vintage feel to your photos. Check out how neat the Back In The Day one is!

You need to experiment. What works on one photo may not work on another. Back In The Day looks great because I wasn’t worrying about facial details I may have been fading away. On a close-up portrait I may have chosen a different path. Peace Man is really nice because it subtly lightens shadows while warming and gently popping the colors. Another favorite of mine from the Hippy Dippy Trippy set is called Cherry Hill.

Sarah also has a ton of various black & white actions. Sometimes they are included in a set that is made up of primarily colored actions but she also has a few sets where the black and white actions are bundled together. One of my favorites is the Falling For Black & White mini collection. You get four actions – two with more of a black & white feel and two that feel more sepia. Check out how fun these are:

Sometimes, you need an action or two to help take a photo from so-so to WOW. Sure, you may know that you will want to duplicate your layer and screen to lighten an image or multiply to fix a shot that’s overexposed but many times even if you are armed with this knowledge, a good set of actions can speed up the work flow tremendously. Take this dark, drab picture of my youngest daughter. It was so cute but I knew it needed some attention in the post-processing department. I first ran a basic action to get the color where I wanted it. Then I played with more subtle areas like the eyes, sharpening up her lollipop, etc. It took under 5 minutes to fix this image and get from what you see here on the left & then right. Sarah has tons of useful tools in her Photographer’s Toolbox set.

Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s one final set of sample photos where I used actions to alter the colors a bit and then finished some details like popping the colors in her dress and sharpening the apple.

The actions used here are also in the Glory set.

My original white balance was a little off so I knew I wanted to play until the background appeared more white. I really liked the way Canary Fairy ran so I went with that. Then I played with some fun stuff like her apple, eyelashes and even manicure! Take a look:

I could honestly sit here and talk for hours about various actions, which I call my favorites, what they do and show you samples. In the end, they truly do different things to different photos and it’s best you experiment for yourself to see what works for you. And that I can help with today. : )

Sarah is offering up a $40 gift card to one lucky random winner! How do you become that winner? Well, you enter your name once or twice, cross your fingers and toes and hope your name is attached to the randomly drawn slip of paper at the close of the weekend.

You can get entries one of two ways. Please leave a comment here for each entry.

1) Blog about this giveaway. You must include a link to this Blog post (click the title for a direct link).

2) Facebook this giveaway. You must grab a link for this Blog post (click the title for a direct link) and directly link it to your Facebook page.

After each (or one) of the above, leave a comment here *and include a link back to your Blog or FB if applicable*. You can have a max of two comments per day: one for each number prompt listed above. This giveaway will run from Friday-Sunday so you have a chance to enter your name up to 6 times this way. Additional comments left after that 2-per-day-cap will be tossed.

For example: Susie Blogs about this giveaway with a direct link on Friday, Blogs it and posts to her Facebook on Saturday and just posts to her Facebook on Sunday. She comments 4 different times and has her name entered into the drawing on 4 individual slips of paper.

** YOU GET A BONUS ENTRY IF YOU ARE A FAN OF GINA RAE MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY ON FACEBOOK! CLICK HERE **

Leave an additional comment for that too. Just say you are a fan and I’ll check to make sure that you are. ; )

Easy enough right? You have a chance to enter your name seven times by Sunday night. The winner will be announced sometime on Monday.

Before I go, how about a picture of my little birthday girl? She turned two yesterday!

Happy Birthday Grace! And “hi” if you stop by the Blog over the weekend. We have football, pumpkin picking and Grace’s family party this weekend. Lots to share come Monday!

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