exquisitephoto (exquisitephoto) wrote,

Will PS Actions Be the Avocado Toilet of Tomorrow?

Austin Texas Headshot Photographer Tim Babiak

As a people photographer, I'm always checking out other photographer's work online and seeing how people react to it.  In my opinion, the biggest trend in photography has nothing to do with photography - it's all about Photoshop and what happens after a photo has been taken.  Make no doubt about it, I'm a big - okay, HUGE - Photoshop fan.  I love it and I think it's an important tool in image creation.  Yet the biggest trend in using Photoshop is getting things done quickly - and the quickest way to get things done in Photoshop is by using actions.  If you're unfamiliar with Photoshop, "actions" are strings of commands strung together.  For example, let say you want to open an image, convert it to black and white, resize it and save it.  If you do this all the time, just create an action and you can just click one button instead of many.  This is a great feature in and of itself.  However, many people sell their actions so other people can get their look.  So new photographers learn they can "dress up" an otherwise crummy photo by running a few actions.  People then see the result and say "oh, that's so cool!" so the new photographer thinks they have something.

Beyond this, many "expert" photographers now use their own actions to dress up images.  Desaturate or saturate the colors, add some flare (like a light shining in the lens), add some texture and add a logo with some swirly design and a cool-looking font that says "Josh Newby Photography".  Oohs an aaahhs guaranteed.

I've tried this stuff myself because it seems to be the latest thing.  I just can't get my head around it.  I've got tons of actions.  I try them out and invariably get the "it makes the image look different but it looks like crap" result.That being said, people are really impressed with these types of images these days - just like everyone thought avocado was the coolest color for bathroom fixtures in the 1970's - only to try to find out how to dispose of their avocado toilet in the 1990's.  Remember those colorized photos from the 1950's?  They're nostalgic now but you don't see anyone asking for that look anymore.

Okay, so maybe photography goes through trends and this is one of them.  Photography should still be about photography - that is, writing with light.  People photography should be about a deliberate vision. Here's an example I saw the other day - it was one of these "action"ed images - pale pastle colors, flare and a cool logo swiped across the image.  The photo was of a woman who was broad lit and how was prominantly presented her underarm to the camera.  To be blunt, the Photoshop actions were simply lipstick on a pig.  Don't do this, people.  Take good photos then dress them up with your style.  Know what your actions do - don't just run them blindly.

Don't make photos today that are tomorrow's avocado toilets.

  • Nikon's New Magic Portrait Lens

    Announcing a new direction for this blog – I’m going to include talking about photography and gear! About two weeks ago, I picked up…

  • Bronze Medalist - International Print Competition!

    Austin Photographer Named Bronze Medalist at International Photographic Competition Tim Babiak of Exquisite Photography is honored by…

  • I'm THAT Guy

    Wow! So I've become "that" guy - the photographer with the blog with no entries. Well, I'm back! And it's time for some new…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded