How does using the best photoshop actions compare with hand editing in Photoshop?

Hand Editing Vs Best Photoshop Actions

add instant magic to your images with free photoshop actionsWith so many different actions on the market choosing the best Photoshop actions to improve your workflow without suffocating your creativity can be a dilemma.   So the question remains how does using actions compare with hand editing?

I believe it all comes down to discovering what is your style?  It is your style that sells your images to your clients because on the whole, they come to you because they love the way your photographs look, it is the feeling they receive from them that leads them to you.  Some may argue, but you can definitely create your style with photoshop actions designed by others.  The majority of actions allow you to tweak the settings to your taste and to your vision of the end image.

How do I use actions?

Well I have to admit I am a lazy editor in photoshop.  My workflow is a 3 stage process.  Firstly, I select the images I am drawn to immediately then copy them to a folder that I call “Best Raw to Process”  I do this as I don’t want to waste my time wondering if the one next to my initial choice is actually better than the first one I chose.

My second step is what I call the basic workflow.  Touch ups, skin softening, liquefy if required.  I go through all the images and do this basic step.  I do follow a formula for this i.e. body, face, eyes, hair. Etc.  I’m not a totally organized person, but I find following this formula allows me to become very fast at this basic editing.  And yes!  I do use actions for this basic touch up workflow.  It’s the same formula that we followed when developing our Photo-Rejuvenation Photoshop Action set.

The last step in my editing process is the fun bit!  This is where I get to let my imagination run wild.  Whilst I am doing the basic workflow touch ups I can see in some images where they can be pushed a little further to create something more special for my clients.  Do I use actions for this step?  Yes I do, I find they can give me a starting base, sometimes pairing the process with some hand-editing in photoshop.  I also find they can simple give an image that special touch to finish it off, whether its by adding a colour wash action or a moody hue.

The benefits of Photoshop Actions

use the best photoshop actions to speed up your workflowYou do need some knowledge of Photoshop to use actions, but not as much as you need to hand-edit.   I strongly suggest you are always updating your Photoshop knowledge, that way you will keep enthusiastic and the creative juices will flow.  There is not one week that goes by that I do not learn something new with my editing.

Actions are fast!  There is no way you can carry out the same steps manually in Photoshop and not have it become tedious.  You will soon hate to sit down at your computer if you hand-editing every step.  And let’s face it, we would all like a little more time to imagine and create our next photo-shoot and spend more time shooting.  That is why we fell in love with photography right?  To shoot and create.  Not necessary to be a slave to the computer.

Which actions should you use?

This choice is purely up to you.  There is a multitude of free Photoshop actions online as well as some superbly designed by established photographers.  Be sure you purchase Photoshop Actions for Photographers because these will work the best for your workflow.   Just like a client comes to your for your style, you will be drawn to the style of Photoshop actions that you purchase and use.  There is no guarantee that you can copy that particular photographer’s style, but you can get pretty close if you watch their training on how to use the actions.  The photographers that want to share their processes are the ones that are confident in their style.  They feel honoured that you are creating works based on the inspiration you use photoshop actions for photographers to create magic and wow your clientsreceive from them.

So it’s your decision, to use Photoshop actions designed for photographers or to do hand-editing.
I choose to use the best Photoshop actions for my workflow as I want to get to the 3rd part of my editing process faster – the creative part.

Once you get to know me, you will understand I take short cuts and cheat a little, if I really need to bake a cake, it will be a packet mix, yes I have artificial flowers on my patio and I have just  started wearing eyelash extensions.  I design my life so I can feel good and enjoy more of what I like to do.  I hope you do the same.

‘never stop learning – this is where you will find your contentment’
Til next time…


keep on photographing and use the best photoshop actions to save time


Leave a Comment