As a professional photographer for 13 years and over a 100 weddings photographed, I’ve used my fair share of editing software and photoshop actions.

These are a just a few of my favorite editing tools and the results they render.

I first import all of my images into Lightroom.  With each update, Lightroom has come so far than when I first started using it years ago and has allowed me to do most of my editing within this one program.

With just a few simple clicks, I can cull images I don’t want and flag those I do want.  Once I have established all of my “keepers”, the actual editing of each image is also relatively easy.  Once an image has been edited to my satisfaction, any other image with similar lighting conditions, etc. can be selected and the same edits applied to those as well with just one click.  Awesome time-saver!  But on the other hand, thanks to so many editing features, I am also able to go into each image and provide as many detailed edits as I would like.

Here is a portrait of a recent bride, Rachel. This image is straight out of the camera (SOOC).  Not too bad for SOOC, but is a bit bland and has room for improvement.

And here is that image after doing some basic edits in LR (I adjusted the white balance and brought back some of the detail in the bouquet that was lost in the overexposure).

Once I have performed all of the edits I prefer in LR, I export them to a renamed ‘edited’ folder and then look through the images and choose the ones I want to take extra special care of…or showcase on my blog.

It’s these images I pull up in Adobe Photoshop CS5.1.  This is another amazing, professional editing software that continues to improve with each update.  It’s in PS that I use “actions” to work some magic.  Actions are basically pre-recorded editing steps that achieve a particular look to your image that only requires one click of the ‘play’ button instead of manually having to apply each process to the image.

Here are a few of my favorites.

I use Totally Rad! PS Actions with almost every edit.  Yin/Yang is my favorite action to lighten and/or darken areas of an image.   Here I used the Yin action to lighten Rachel’s face just a little more to my liking.

Especially for close up facial portraits, I use another Totally Rad! Action called ProTouch.  This is honestly like a bit of Botox with just one click of the mouse!

Another superb set of actions is Kevin Kubota’s Artistic Tools.  I use Daily Multi Vitamin on almost every single image that I take.  It provides just the right amount of color pop.

And lastly, after resizing the image for proofs and/or to highlight on my blog, I use a sharpening tool. This is a tough decision to decide my favorite because I have a couple of actions that I use frequently. For this image I used the Totally Rad 2 The Revenge-A Better Web Sharpen.  Kevin Kubota’s Magic Sharp is another favorite I use a lot, too.

From fab to fabulous!

You can see more of my professional work by visiting my wedding and portrait site, Samantha Alday Photography.  I also have a series of Photography 101 courses that take you from the basics of photography to the more advanced stages of learning.  Do you have an instruction manual with your camera that might as well be written in another language?  Check out the Photography 101 Series and you’ll not only learn what all that camera lingo means, but you’ll also be taking better pictures in no time!

4 comments on “My Favorite Photo Editing Tools”

  1. Thanks for walking us through your process! I do everything in Lightroom at the moment. I’ve been resisting getting/learning Photoshop, but someday I may give in.

  2. Thanks Rebecca! Lightroom is definitely a great editing software and for the most part you can do everything there! Love it!

  3. i definitely need to learn some of these tricks! great subject matter to show your work on 🙂

    • Hey Erin! I totally agree with you! 😉

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