I've had a blog buddy ( Hi, Tabitha!!) write and ask me what my workflow is like when I'm editing pictures. Just the basics that I do almost every time I'm editing, with nearly every photos. It's a tough one! Every photo session is just a little different from the last, whether it's the location, the clothing the subjects are wearing, or the time of day! But, there is a fairly regular set of steps that I tend to follow for the basics in my workflow - and I'm going to take you through them. I will be using a few of my Photoshop Actions as I go, but you can insert whatever actions you've got, or use your own favorite steps to replace mine. Anyway, here we go!!
1. I almost always shoot in RAW, mostly to save my butt with the exposure and giving me more creative control. I open Photoshop first, then go to file>open to choose which image I'll open. Sometimes I'll even open several at a time. But for this example, I'm only working on one image. When I open it, this Camera RAW screen pops up.
2. Once I click on Open Image, the image pops up in Photoshop. At this point I like to adjust the color a bit further using "Color Balance". Just to make sure the skin tones are just where they should be.
3. Once I'm sure the color is picture perfect, I like to zoom in and do some close-up edits with the patch tool, or the spot healing tool. I remove blemishes to even out the skin tone. I do this on a new layer so that I can adjust the opacity to my liking. In this picture, below, I didn't show the new layer for some reason.
4. Since I'm zoomed in, I use my eye pop tool to really bring out those eyes. If needed, I also use my smooth skin action - though that wasn't needed in this particular photo.
5. Once all of the close up edits are done, I zoom back out to see the whole photo. I use my "Bobbi's Edge Burn" action to burn the edges, or if it's another photo, I might use an edge fade, or no edge work at all! It's my creative choice. At this stage I might also run a color pop action, or any other creative action I think it needs. For this photo, the colors popped enough for my liking, so I left it alone. At this point you can crop the photo, as well.
6. The final step - always the LAST step - is sharpening. If the photo needs it, I might run Bobbi's REALLY sharp, then my regular sharpening action. You have to make that call yourself depending on the photo. BUT, ALWAYS just sharpen LAST.
So, in a few short steps (even made shorter using actions) I can get this photo ready! Hope that helps!