Like I said in yesterday’s post, I really want to make this a more helpful place to be and I’m going to be doing ‘more tutorials, more helpful advice, more sharing of knowledge, more love all around.’

Below I’m going to start by showing my post-processing technique for this particular photo below that was taken in my parents backyard, September 2006, with a 7MP Canon Powershot A620 (a simple point & shoot):

Every photo I edit is different. Sometimes when I’m taking the photograph I’ll already know how I want it to look after editing, other times I play around with a process, discard it, and start all over again.

One of the biggest improvements in my photos happened when I discovered Photoshop ‘Actions’. Actions are basically a series of recorded operations used to edit a photo. Instead of opening a file (or five) then manually changing the color, levels, saturation, etc, you can simply find the Action you want, press ‘Play’, and Photoshop does all these steps for you.

So, not only do Actions make the process of editing faster, it also makes it more consistent if you’re doing a series of similar looking photographs. You can create your own (but I’m not getting into that today) or you can download them. Today, I recommend downloading some really useful (and FREE) actions from The Pioneer Woman. I’ll be using two of her actions in the steps below.

Just click on this link here to Download Actions Set 1 AND 2 from the Pioneer Woman.

I’m also providing the hi-res file of the the photo I’m working on today so you can download it and practice these steps yourself.

Click on this link to Download the 2304 x 3072 photo (just right-click and choose ‘Save Image As’, name it ‘PinkFlower.jpg’ and press ‘Save’)

Like I mentioned earlier, every photo will need different changes (even if using the same action on another photo, steps may have to tinkered with to get the same look as a different shot), but these are the steps I took for this particular photo.

Here we go!

Go to File > Open > PinkFlower.jpg

Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels > Move left hand arrow slightly to the right to darken the shadows a little and press ‘OK’ > it will look like this (not drastically different)

Go to the Actions Palette > Cick on ‘PW’s B & W’ from PWActionSet1 and press ‘Play’

(when a message pops up to adjust the opacity of the ‘Light’ layer, just press ‘Stop’ then press ‘Play’ in the Actions palette again)

In the layers palette, press the small arrow next to ‘PW’s B & W’ and open the group of layers

Click on ‘Quick Edge Burn’ and change layer opacity to 54%

Click on ‘Gradient Map 1’ and change layer opacity to 54% > Change ‘Light’ layer blending mode to Color Dodge and change opacity to 29% > it should then look like this

Press the little arrow next to ‘PW B & W’ again to close the group of layers

Go to the Actions Palette > Click on ‘Seventies’ from PWActionSet2 and press ‘Play’

In the layers palette, press the small arrow next to ‘Seventies’ and open the group of layers > Change ‘Fade the Colors’ layer opacity to 52% > Click on the small arrow again to close the group of layers > Change ‘Seventies’ master opacity to 95%

Go to File > Save > Don’t change anything, just press Save. It will save as a .psd file which keeps all your layers intact so you can go back if you ever want to change anything (I do this for all of my photos).

Now go to Layers > Flatten Image > File > Save As > Change the Format from ‘Photoshop’ to ‘JPG and press ‘Save’. This is the file you can upload and share online or print.

And there you have it. Done!

I used the same basic steps for these photos too:

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions, or let me know if there’s a better way to do any of this! I still have about 99.7% of Photoshop to learn.