In the latest instalment of our series on photo retouching we explain some of the best Photoshop Actions for portraits and how these quick and subtle tweaks can make a real difference to your images.
Photoshop Actions allow you to record a sequence of image editing adjustments, then play them back over other images to streamline your workflow.
Professional Retouchers use Actions all the time to speed up their workflow and achieve consistently great results. Most follow the same simple two-stage system.
First, a new layer is created and a tweak is made such as a blur or a tonal adjustment. Then a full Layer Mask is applied to hide this tweak. All you have to do then is paint with white over the area where you want the tweak to apply. The Action even selects a white brush for you.
How to load a Photoshop Action Set
To load them in, first go to Window>Actions to access the Actions Panel. Click the top right icon to access the drop-down menu and choose Load Actions, then navigate to the appropriate folder.
They’re easier to view in Button Mode, which can be turned on or off in the same drop-down menu. If you find you’re using an Action all the time, you can set a keyboard shortcut, highlight the Action – turn off Button Mode first – then choose Action Options from the menu.
All the Actions add a new or duplicate layer, so you can tone down any effect by lowering the Opacity of the layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge the layer when you’re finished.
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