Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about ways of improving my workflow. I’m always looking for methods of speeding up my editing process without sacrificing quality, and the quicker I can get a client’s images back to them for viewing, it’s a win in my book! It was quite the coincidence then when Sleeklens contacted me last week about testing their action sets. In case you’re not familiar with the term, an action set is a set of steps in Photoshop or Lightroom that can be downloaded or created and recorded, then repeated over and over with the simple push of a button. They can be extremely helpful and time-saving to a photographer if there is a set of edits that they complete every time to achieve the look they desire.
I must admit, I was hesitant at first to try Sleeklens' actions. I’ve always enjoyed creating and using my own actions in order to create the look I love. I feel that there is an importance to knowing how to manually edit a photo rather than simply pushing a button and calling it good. However, I wondered if there was something I could be missing?
To start, I tried Sleeklens' All in One and Base actions from the Portrait Perfection Workflow. The action sets went through numerous adjustments and changes at once and then flattened the image. I imagine these sets would be quick and easy to use if it gave you the exact look you wanted, but I personally would prefer to have more control over the edits. From there, I tested the more individualized actions such as Temperature, Exposure, Retouching, Enhancement and Web File Preparation. This is where I began to see the value, and could actually picture myself using a few of these actions more than the All in One sets.
In the end, I’m pleased that I decided to try out the Portrait Perfection Collection. Even though I was already implementing similar actions that I had created from my own editing process, there were a few that streamlined the process more than my own. Also, I can foresee these being very helpful for photographers who are just beginning to become comfortable with using Photoshop. For example, perhaps they know there is a color adjustment they need to make to their image, but just can’t seem to find that special tweak that makes it work. They can simply choose the action that best suits their needs, adjust the opacity and be done. In doing this, they can also study the action steps and learn the manual process of the edit as well. In conclusion, these actions are very helpful and thorough, and I would recommend them if you’re looking to speed up your workflow.