While some photographers prefer to learn everything on their own from scratch, becoming masters of Photoshop, others like to use Photoshop actions to ensure that everything is done as quickly and easily as possible. Others often find themselves turning back to actions as the easy way to get it done even when they have become the masters they aspired to be.
As with all things artistic, this is very much a case of one size does not fit all. But whether you are a Photoshop beginner, a master looking to speed up their process, or just somewhere in-between, there are lots of reasons why you would want to use Photoshop actions as part of your post-production process, including saving time and money.
Why you will use Photoshop actions
The first thing to note is that they will absolutely save you a lot of time. As a photographer, you know as well as we all do that time is a very finite resource. There is only so much of it that you can use! When you are spending time toiling away at your computer, painstakingly editing every shot from a big shoot, you are spending time that might be used elsewhere. We will look at what you could be doing instead in a moment, but first, it’s important to realize just how much time you can save. Some big portrait photographers recommend spending no more than two minutes editing any shot. If it takes longer, you’re either shooting wrong, not using enough actions, or you need to outsource your retouching.
Outsourcing can be very pricey, however, and it means giving away creative control. That retoucher that you hire from elsewhere will put their own spin on the work, and that could be bad for your creative vision. It also means that you may be obliged to credit them should the work be published or used in any official capacity. Instead of doing that, you could just save time and money by using Photoshop actions – which you only need to purchase once in order to use time and time again. If you do not want to purchase Photoshop actions, there are lots of free options out there as well as the option to turn your own editing workflow into fast Photoshop actions.
How you will save
It’s also clear that you can save money in more ways than one. Not having to outsource is a big area of savings, but you can also earn more money during the time that you save. You may even be able to offer fast services where you retouch all of the photographs from a shoot in a few days, getting your clients to pay more for something that takes you less time. How neat is that? It is certainly a huge benefit of using actions.
You will also see the chance to save money by just purchasing one set of actions to use rather than having to learn how to do it yourself. You could learn through your own steam (which will take many, many hours of work) – or you could pay for tutorials, lessons, and so forth that will rack up a much heftier bill. This is always going to be the most expensive option, while actions will in comparison have a very low cost.
What to do with your extra time
As we mentioned above, it can take a long time to learn to master Photoshop. But since you are saving a lot of time by using Photoshop actions, why not start learning some more complicated techniques in your spare time? You can actually use the actions to help by looking through the way that they work and starting to understand all of the steps that are involved. Over time, you can learn how to modify the actions to your needs and create unique effects that only you use.
You could also increase the amount of shoots you are doing, thus earning you some more money. If you are currently doing three shoots a week with two days of retouching, imagine if you can break down each session to just an hour or two of post-production. You could shoot four days a week and still fit all of your post work into a single day! You might even be able to work out a system where you have enough time to retouch after the shoot wraps, getting it done on the same day so that you do not need to worry about it later. Not only that, but your clients will be much happier to receive the work so quickly.
What about your family? You could stick to the same number of shoots but now have an extra day to spend with them, which will be a lot of fun and definitely beneficial to your health and relationships. Taking some time out to relax is a huge benefit of working for yourself, and always means a happier and healthier you. Even if all you use the time for is getting the house clean, it will be a burden off your mind.
Time is one of our most valuable resources, and it can be spent however you like. When you are not wasting hours slaving away in front of Photoshop, you will see just how much more you can get done.
How to spend your extra cash
There are a lot of ways that you can really benefit from saving money. As a business owner, the main area of focus has to be reinvesting in the business – and in yourself. When you save money on post-production by using Photoshop actions, you can then put that money aside and save up for new equipment. A new camera, new lenses, new lights or light accessories, new backdrops – all of these things could be on your wishlist from now on. You can also invest in training. While you are not focusing on Photoshop learning, you could learn how to take the best possible photographs in the first place. Do a portraiture or fashion photography course, or hire a model to help you practice your skills. This idea also gives you the opportunity to create some new marketing materials for your business!
There are so many ways in which you can give your business a boost as a result of using Photoshop actions. Remember, it’s not cheating to use actions to retouch; it’s being resourceful and smart.
Have you managed to find any more ways to save time and money with Photoshop actions? How about other areas in which they help? Let us know!