I was recently contacted by SleekLens and asked if I would like to try out some of their actions for Adobe Photoshop CC. In return I would get to keep the actions for my honest review of how they worked for me. I regularly use actions in my workflow so I thought why not, it is always fun to play around on the computer and if you find something to speed up your work flow that is great! Seeing as I am a portrait photographer, they sent me the “Portrait Perfection Collection“. Here is how they introduce this collection on their site.
Enhance the quality of your portraits with this amazing Portrait Perfection Collection. The collection consists of 56 portrait Photoshop Actions which allows you to manipulate your images during editing for enhanced beauty and flaw elimination. You can achieve perfection with this easy-to-use collection and create multiple photo varieties using a single portrait image. When you want to take your portraits to the next level, these actions will be your best bet.
What is included in the Portrait Perfection Bundle ?
- 56 Photoshop actions
- Compatible with Photoshop 4-6 and Adobe Creative Cloud
- Works both with JPEG and RAW images
- Compatible with both MAC and PCs
- Recipe list and sample images for inspiration
- an easy-to follow guide on how to install these Photoshop actions
- Easy to adjust to fit your own style
- Exclusive access to our private help and Tutorial Facebook Groups
Seeing as we have had nearly non stop rain here in Perth, Western Australia (which is not usual) I had to pull out some images from my archives to test these actions on. To start with I used an indoor studio image to try our the “all in one” actions. You can see below that you can get a variety of looks from just one click of a button. There is a warning that this will flatten your image so you can save any changes you’ve made first but I think it is designed to be the first step so it shouldn’t be an issue. I do like the flexibility of tweaking my work but these “all in one” actions flattens the edits just done as well so it can’t be adjusted. This is a negative for me but from testing the rest of the set it appears to be just these – perhaps “all in one” is designed as a quick all over edit with one click of the button. Everyone has differing styles but for me I could see myself using the “Bright and Subtle” action as a lovely base for my portraits seeing as it seems to reduce the reds in the skin and warm it up a little.
Next step is the “base” actions which again flattens your work but warns you before hand and in this case it leaves the changes so that they are fully editable. In these examples I have not made any adjustments so you can see the results from just one click. For this particular image I like the “Golden Hours” action as it brightens the image and brings out the warm colours in the surrounding bush, however i would need to go in and adjust the sharpened and contrast as it is too much for me in this image. Obviously you will have different favourites depending on the image you use.
Next in the collection are actions for exposure compensation and temperature compensation which I didn’t demonstrate as they are pretty straight forward. So we find ourselves now looking at the “colour correction” actions. For both the “Natural and Vivid” actions I used the brush to paint a squiggle over the image so you can see the effect which is more evident in the Vivid example. You will see the actions changing warm tones more clearly on the skin with the “Reduced Reds” also changing the flowers and the “Cream Yellow Tone” removing the yellow from the greenery. The actions changing cool tones can be seen by their effect on the greenery. These could be helpful in a variety of situations depending and the age of your model (for example newborns can be very red and purple in some places) or depending on location and if there are any colour casts present.
Now for the portrait retouch actions. You can see that all the important things are covered, brightening eyes and the whites, sharpening, smoothing skin, add colour to the cheeks and lips and some other skin altering actions. I didn’t reduce the opacity so the results can be clearly seen. I think any one wanting to retouch portraits would find use for some of these actions. I don’t have a glossy lip action so far so this is something new for my collection.
The “enhance tones” actions are a bit like the “all in one” actions in that with just one click you get a different looking image, but these are fully editable which is great. As there are 14 actions to choose from, you are likely to find a combination that suits any setting.
I skipped over the remaining actions as I thought they were pretty self explanatory. They include actions for vignetting, preparing files for the web, and a little group of actions for final portrait retouching – paint effect, dodge and burn, frequency separation, sharpen and an advanced portrait retouch action (actually I will have to play with these last ones some more!) However, there is one category left, the light glows which can be used to enhance the sun or added anywhere you want to add some coloured light. So that they were visible I had to play these over a light grey just to show the different colours created. You’ll see that there are slight variations in colour to suit a range of actual images.
Having quickly tested the actions and now writing up this review, I can’t wait to try editing from start to finish with the Portrait Perfection Collection and making the adjustments I see fit. I’ll have to wait for a glimmer of better weather to get some fresh images (seeing as my studio is still being renovated) and post the edits, hopefully by the end of the week.
With the literal one click edits at the beginning of the bundle through to edits that can be fully adjusted, this collection should be helpful for photographers of all skill levels. According to the SleekLens website, this action bundle is currently $39. They not only cater to portrait photographers but have actions for landscape, travel, fashion and wedding photographers to name a few, and they also have a collection of overlays. SleekLens offer an editing service if you are short on time as well as a large selection of print templates. If you are interested in learning more, I will leave a few links to get you started in the right direction:
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