ppp button 500
It is DAY 1 of PPP – Your primer towards creating polished photographs without going over the edge and over editing.  (Get it?  PPP = Photo Polish Primer) First things first though, we’ve got to talk about this trend and tendency to over-edit.  I understand it.  I do it.  So know this is not coming from a place of judgment, but from a place of experience.  The problem is that actions are fun and cool effects are REALLY fun and when you get a new effect (that you actually know how to USE), you want to go edit crazy all over all of your photos.  Case in point?  The photojus actions for instagram.  Once I found those bokeh effects, they were over every single one of my little Christmas instagram photos.  I’m not kidding – check it out HERE and tell me I’m not crazy!

Moving on – if you are an over-editor, you know who you are.  It is when you are so wondrously happy with your photo, but then you feel a little uncomfortable in the gut.  You know the feeling – it is the same one you have when you look in the mirror and you have perhaps one too many necklaces and belts and earrings and rings on, but you LOOOOOVE them all and can’t bear to take any off.  …but you know you look a little silly.  That feeling.  You should listen to it.  Don’t be afraid of a fun bit of editing every now and then, but don’t go trashy with your editing.

Instead of using the word “edit”, I’m going to challenge you to use the word “polish”.  You should be striving to take good photographs IN the camera, but you shouldn’t feel like good photos ONLY come in the camera and that if you polish your photos up a little bit that you are cheating.  Do you see the difference?  We are not “fixing” a bad photograph, but rather polishing a good photograph.
Here are a couple of examples:
Original Photo:                                                                                              Polished Photo:
polished photo PPP kids drinking water
DSC_0927chopped chocolate

Do you see the very slight differences?  A little lightness here, a little color balance there, a tiny vignette around the edges and done.
…and yes if you want a little bit more dramatic photo editing, you can keep polishing until it is just right like this:
Original Photo:                                                                                                Polished Photo:
What I need to know from YOU – which photo editing program are you using? 

I have created actions for photoshop, but would love to know what you are using, so that I can cater future giveaways.  Let me know on the Nest facebook page, in the comment section, or down in the “for Photographers” section of the Forum (YES!  You ARE A PHOTOGRAPHER!)

Moving on…you are chomping at the bit for those FREE actions aren’t you?  Well, don’t you worry, they will be served up in JUST a second!  Before you download the actions, you need to know 2 things:

1.  These actions are for versions of Photoshop CS2 and newer
2. These actions are one-step clicks for my most common editing polishes.  I will be going through them one-by-one, teaching you the simple techniques and showing you how I use these simple button clicks for client editing.  These actions I am giving you are the EXACT SAME ACTIONS I use when I edit weddings, family photos and even editorial photos for magazines.  They save me approximately 80% of my time by turning a several click technique into one-click slight adjustments.  I am so excited for you to try them out and watch your edit (ahem…polish) time shrink!


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Since many of you have asked for some camera gear recommendations, here goes!

1.                           2.                                3.
Want the best camera ever?  Sorry -- I can't help you.  I CAN however tell you what got ME started!
I started out on a D40 (camera 3), currently shoot with a D7000 (camera 2) and recommend the D3000 (camera 1).
Whatever you do, save your money you had set aside for that Nikon Coolpix or Canon Powershot and buy a used DSLR.  Trust me.

...oh and PS -- these tips work JUST as well for a manual camera as they do for digital cameras...


Thanks Amy! I use Corel Paint Shop and yes, I'll admit sometimes I over edit... dang it. That's very kind of you to offer your tips and your download, I've always admired your beautiful photos!
Amy Renea said…
Thanks Heather!! Will check out Corel!
lucysinspired said…
I'm going to sit with a girl that is going to help me with photoshop and lightroom today! I can't wait to play. Right now I just use the program on my mac. It's not bad, but i"m looking forward to editing all my pictures at once and using actions! Thanks for sharing. I'm going to be polishing my pictures soon!
Jessica Kielman said…
Amazing Amy...thank you for the information!!!
Amy Renea said…
Welcome of course Jess!

...and OH YAY Lucy! I can't wait to hear all about it!
oh my goodness I can't wait to try these actions...i just downloaded them, thanks!!!
Nessa Bixler said…
I use PSE. I usually don't edit a ton. Open in camera RAW, adjust the light and then in PSE crop, sharpen and shrink the file. Mostly I don't do a lot. I should use a watermark - but never sat down to do it.

I love you photos... so clean and simple.
deeconstructed said…
You know me Amy - I'm still using PowerPoint! You'll be happy to know that I am (finally) using my Nikon to take the photos before putting them in a MS product to post. I just can't bring myself to pay for Photoshop when that $$ could go towards more paint. ~ Dee
Amy Renea said…
Thank you all for the feeback! Holy moly -- from Corel to Powerpoint and Elements and Lightroom -- good gracious, y'all use a lot of different stuff!!!

Thanks for all your sweet words to - I heart you guys :)
Shannon Fox said…
I try to follow and absorb... but I get lost. I did however get a new camera, a Nikon D3200. I lurve it bunches!! I'm trying to learn :) Thanks so the info!
Amy Renea said…
How exciting Shannon!!! New cameras are so fun ;) Don't worry abuot the will come and if we could understand everything instantly, what fun would that be?! Can't wait to see all your new pics!!!