things i love (post 1)

As promised, I want to do a couple posts on my favorite photography/Photoshop-related things. I have found so many sites that have helped me immensely, and I'd like to share. Maybe you're already familiar with these sites, but if not, I hope they help you as much as they have helped me!

Let's start with the The Pioneer Woman . I have learned so much on her site. She has posts on basic photography (very simple, easy to understand), Photoshop, and my favorite...before and after's! She is funny, relatable and she provides screenshots of each step so you can watch her work. She makes aperture, shutter speed and ISO easy to understand, and interesting!

If you click on the link above, you'll see tabs on the left side of the screen going down. The tabs that have been most helpful to me are: Basic Photography, Basic Photoshop, and Photoshop Before and After. (There is a tab for Photoshop Elements too, but I haven't looked into that one).

She provides two free action sets that you can download. (You all know what an "action" is right? It's a series of steps (in this case for Photoshop) that someone has put together to give you a cool/fun/new result. The alternative to using actions is really knowing the in's and out's of Photoshop, and doing each of the individual steps yourself. I use actions that can have up to 10 steps or more. You just click "play" and it runs all the steps for you. I have been relying less on actions lately, but if you are new to Photoshop, these will be so valuable to you!

Action Set 1 includes the following actions: fresh & colorful, lovely and ethereal, soft & faded, old west, vintage, black & white beauty, PW's black & white, boost, quick edge burn, define and sharpen, slight lighten and slight sharpen.

Action Set 2 includes the following: seventies, colorized, sunshine, heartland, sepia tone, warmer, cooler, dim the lights, sharpen this, and bring on the eyes.

Every action has built-in opacity sliders, so if the effect is too much for your taste, just lower the opacity. Fun, right?!

Here are a few of my favorite actions from her site.

The next action I love is called "black & white beauty." Look how boring and blah the left black & white picture is. (I just moved the saturation slider all the way to the left. Bor-ing!) The right picture really pops, don't you think? Her black and white beauty action is one of my favorites.

Probably two of my most used actions from the Pioneer Woman are the warmer and cooler actions. These are awesome! In the past, I have messed with color balance, curves, anything/everything, but I haven't found a way this easy to warm or cool my photos. The only difference between the two photos below is running the "cooler" action at 70%. This is not the same as your auto color balance. I never like the results of that. All sorts of weird things happen when I try to balance color that way. See how the left picture has too much orange in it? The right one is cooler by 70%. (It's probably a little too cool for my taste; I'd probably choose something in the middle. I was just trying to show the difference).

See these little tiny pictures below? These are better examples of the Pioneer Woman's actions:


Click below if you'd like to check them out! They're free!
Pioneer Woman Action Sets

There will be more posts to come on things I love.
Hope this will be valuable to someone! :-)