Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ready, Set, Action(s)!

Russ took Levi to Super Science Saturday today, so I had the day to spend with Luke and Leif. When it is up to me to decide what to do... it is picture time. Grin. We headed to a tiny little park downtown within walking distance of a toy store. Bribery. Unfortunately, Leif isn't old enough for that sort of bribery.

The lighting was excellent, and I got some great pictures. I'll share others later, but I thought I'd use the following (straight out of camera/SOOC) photo as an example of the editing process I use.

The above photo is nice, and all, but... I wanted to focus in on Luke's face. It happens to be a classic Luke expression. So I did a little cropping and came up with this:

The lighting must have been just right, because my photos don't often look quite as nice SOOC. No photo is too perfect for a little editing, though. Every photo I post here on my blog is first processed in photoshop. I am technically challenged (and lazy and impatient), so I use actions exclusively at this time. (Hopefully that will change in the future as I get more comfortable with photoshop.) I downloaded Pioneer Woman's free actions and purchased Totally Rad Actions (both sets). These are the extent of my arsenal.

Some photos don't need a lot of help, or I want them to look natural. My favorite actions for these pictures are PW's Boost or TRA's Oh, Snap. Both of these get rid of any gray haze to the photo and brighten it up. (Don't ask me for an accurate description of what they do, I couldn't tell you.) I applied Oh, Snap to this one:

Luke's eyes slay me, especially when the lighting is right. The original photo isn't bad, but I used PW's Bring On the Eyes! here at 100% opacity to show you what it can do:

I rarely use the eye action at 100% (it tends to look a little wicked), so I toned it down for the next few pictures. I added TRA's Milk and Cookies B&W at 100% for the next example:

My favorite trick with actions is to adjust the opacity of each action to create a wider range of effects. I changed the Milk and Cookies opacity to 30% here:I don't remember the percentage on this one, but it is somewhere in between:

Did I mention how much I love Luke's eyes? I rarely change Levi's pictures into B&W or sepia, because I can't bear to mess with his vibrantly blue eyes, but Luke has really dark eyes which look great in sepias. I used Oh, Snap and Homestead on the following (without any eye actions!): Often I'll find that one action (or a couple together) is just the right look for a whole batch of photos (a day at the beach, for instance), and I'll process most of the photos using that action. Occasionally, though, I'll find that multiple actions (used separately) look great on an individual photo. That is when it is tough to decide!! I liked almost every action I tried on this picture of Luke:

I was even willing to get a little crazy:


Ridenour Family said...

Darling!! My favorites are the Milk and Cookies 30%, and the sixth from the bottom-but they are all great! Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

need. photoshop. badly. =) I know nothing but SOOC with the slight contrast and brightness boosters that Windows Live provides, sigh.

Skeller said...

Yowza! These are awesome! He *does* have incredibly beautiful eyes.
Remember how much time you had BEFORE you discovered photo processing? I remember how much I used to have. sigh. (Guess what I'm on the computer doing right now?!? ;-)

Precision Quality Laser said...

So that's what SOOC means! I need photoshop too..all I have is the FREE Picasa software :)

Renee said...

I have got to start using the editing program I got for Christmas. I am too overwhelmed to learn. All of my photos are SOOC, except I do crop and take out the red eyes. I need a personal tutor. I have thought of buying a book- but that's more overwhelming than the actual instructions. Maybe I should also read the instruction manual for the camera. I haven't taken it off of "auto" yet. :) You have inspired me!

April said...

Found your site last week: serendipity. I have been so inspired, thank you for your many insights. I am also encouraged by your imperfections, thank you for disclosing that part of yourself, as well as your beautiful accomplishments. It gives hope to ones like myself, who often feel hopelessly flawed. I am looking forward to reading this blog regularly.

Aja Jenise said...

Wow! I am just sore... sorely envious. As said in above comments... I.need.photoshop.badly.
Thank you for the reminder of what obsessions I face... tee hee hee... ;)

Donna Boucher said...

Fun times with actions!!!

I like your milk and cookies with adjusted opacity.

I haven't tried that.