I’ve gotten emails before about people wondering why Lightroom/ACR presets or Photoshop actions aren’t ‘working’ for their photos the way they anticipated. They have seen photos on my website, from friends or the example images shown when purchasing and can’t understand why they’re not getting the same results. There are a few really basic things to consider if you’re experiencing buyer’s remorse:
- Look at the images used as examples when buying. Were they taken outside? Then your indoor flash photos won’t get the same results. The results might still be spectacular, but not exactly the same.
- If you’ve seen a B&A, was the ‘before’ already a near-perfectly exposed image? Presets & actions need a well exposed image to start with.
- Check with the maker if they were created to work best with jpegs or raw.
- Presets and actions are very rarely a one-click deal. Every image is different and so these great little plug-ins for your photo editing software are just a foundation for editing.
- After running an action, go into the layers palette and tweak the resulting layers. Mask bits out and fiddle with opacities.
- After running a preset in LR or ACR, take a look at the sliders and educate yourself on what the preset has done to your image and change things to customize your result.
Actions & presets are an excellent (for me, must-have) tool to help you edit your images. I just think the most important thing to know is that they’re not meant to be one-click solutions for your photos but a springboard for your own creativity!