Many people don’t realize that a photo shoot is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. A 90 minute photo shoot has at least another eight hours of behind the scenes work in consultations with the client, coordinating the shoot, equipment preparation, backing up images, editing, converting files, basic color correction, yet more editing, and upload to a proofing site. And then after the client orders, additional time is spent on retouching and finishing the images.
As you can see, it’s easy to see how shooting (the thing I love the most) quickly becomes the thing I do the least!
So, when I am given a tool to reduce my time in front of a computer and get me back behind the camera faster, I grab it with both hands!
To be honest, purchased actions have not been a part of my workflow for sometime. I find that many of the action sets on the market today are quite heavy-handed (No, I did not want everything to turn yellow and fuzzy, thank you very much!) and tend to be destructive (flattening your layers).
I joke that my retouching style is just like the oath that doctors take – “Do no harm”. I want my retouching to be believable. I never want someone to look at an image and have my retouching jump out at them.
After testing out the Sleek Lens Portrait Perfection actions, I’ve found their facial retouching actions to be quite helpful. The multiple facial retouching actions give you the ability to quickly do things like brightening eyes, sharpening the lash line, adding a rosy hue to cheeks, and even making matte lips glossy again. The actions are non-destructive, easy to control, and speed up the retouching process.
The actions also caused a “duh” moment for me when I tried out the “Toned Vignette” action. Why didn’t I think of adding color to my vignettes?? The Yogi Brown option in the “Toned Vignette” action is my new favorite. The subtle brown tone not only darkens (you control how much), it adds a richness to the vignette.
The section of actions called “From a Candy Store” also help move along retouching with one button set up of layers for things like dodging and burning. I also like the “Enhanced Tones” actions, especially “Summer Love” and “Hot Kiss” (no, I am not making up these names) for adding warmth to an image.
The “All in One” actions will flatten your images and do not give you any control. So, for someone like me, these don’t work. But, these are only eight of the many actions included.
While I do think these actions can be used by all levels of photographers, I think those with experience in Photoshop will get more out of them.
I would however, like the actions to be a bit more user friendly. The “how to” videos that accompany the actions are quite long (the one I was sent is 24 minutes) and go through so many steps that by the time you are done watching, you are left trying to remember how they used a certain action. I’d love it if they’d break down the instructional videos into smaller sections…maybe one video per section of actions.
That being said, these actions are a great tool for portrait photographers. I’ve added Sleek Lens Portrait Perfection actions to my workflow and am grateful for the time they save as well as the creative control they give me.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask!
You can check out the Portrait Perfection Actions here.
And you can check out all of their actions here.
Disclaimer: Sleek Lens provided me with a free copy of their Portrait Perfection actions in exchange for my honest review of their product.1