Hi & welcome to my PS blog! This blog is for full PS although some steps will also work in PSE. Most actions, unless stated are not PSE compatiable. I do try to make an action for PSE from time to time. I hope you have fun here and learn some things along the way. If you have any questions, just drop me a comment! :O)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Action review... Pure Actions & some thoughts on actions...

Hi there everyone! I'm back with another action review! First I quickly wanted to chat a bit about my thoughts on actions and what works for me!

I get a lot of questions regarding what actions I use the most and which are my favorite. So I'll answer that question first...all of them! Lol! Not too helpful right! Well for me, I don't have one set that I love more than another. I have several different action makers loaded in my actions panel. And as many of you know, I use actions for 95% of my editing! I do things by hand as well. But most of what I need, I can do with the actions I have loaded. I think actions are wonderful and very helpful, not to mention a huge time saver. But I feel to be able to use actions and use them well (not as a crutch) you of course first have to have a good SOOC shot! There is no action that will fix your photos better than taking a good SOOC shot and enhancing it! So learn in camera first! Learn your camera, how to exposure properly and how to watch for good light. It will make editing easier, faster with better final images. Then learn PS. Learn to edit on your own. Learn to clean edit. Once you have both foundations in control, then you can start to learn to use actions. You may have noticed I said.... "start to LEARN to use actions"! That's not a mistake. Actions aren't a magic fix nor should they be used as a crutch. But when you are ready to start using them...LEARN them FIRST!!!! Not all actions are created equally. Not all actions will be your style!!! Not all actions look good on all photos and all different lighting. And 99% of the time, the action will need some adjustments and masking! If you take the time to learn your action and what each layer does and the overall look you can get with different actions, then you can begin to use them as your workflow!

Onto my favorite makers! I now have my style pretty defined and know who I want to buy from. There are so many action makers out there, you can go broke buying them all. Then what happens is your wallet is too empty and your actions panel is too full. What happens when your action panel is too full...you become overwhelmed and don't use them! It takes time to learn who you really like and who fits your style. But once you do, you'll be using them and using them well! I like variety and like to edit each image as an individual as per the mood & lighting in each photo. So my actions panel gives me the variety to edit each image as I see fit! Makers that I like are, Lilyblue, Pure Actions, Florabella, MCP, Michelle Kane, Red Leaf and some TRA! As you can see, there is a wide variety of looks from maker to maker. But each maker has a look that fits the variety of style that I like for my photos. It's different for everyone!

So the next question I get is.... "How is this set/maker different from this set/maker" or "I already have this set from this maker, can it do what this new set/maker can do"! That's a tough one to answer! Creative edits are whole different story. So I'll just quickly talk about clean edits! I have three main makers I go to for clean edits... Pure Actions, Florabella (new workflow set) & Michelle Kane! Each will give me a nice clean edit I will love! But...there IS a difference in the look of the clean edit from each maker! I can take the same photo and run clean edits on each from each maker, and they will be slightly different. That is the difference of style per maker. So one is not better than the other...just different. Depending on the light & mood of the photo and what final look I want, will determine who I use for that clean edit! Below I'll show you what I mean. Do know that the Pure action examples were already done and the Michelle Kane (MK) & Florabella (FB) examples I just did. If I had more time the MK & FB examples would be better! I'm not trying to show that one is better than the other...in ANY way! Only that for me, all three produce a good clean edit but each have a slightly different feel to them...

And now onto my Pure Actions review...

What can I say! Pure Actions are truly EXACTLY what they say...PURE! I will give a leg up to Pure Actions for my clean edits. When I want truly clean, truly pure, truly beautiful clean edits...I go to my Pure Actions! They are different than any actions in my panel! Hard to explain exactly how they are different...but they are! There is something to the quality and look I get with them that is really so Pure and clean! I was never too big on clean edits because I could never get a clean edit I LOVED! I could get a clean edit..but it always bored me and I always felt something was missing. So I'd do a clean base edit, then go creative over! But since I've gotten Pure Actions, I now do more clean edits than I ever have and feel that my clean edits now have that something that was missing. That something that took it from a clean edit snapshot to a clean edit professional print quality! Wow...that was a terrible sentence! Lol! These actions will take your images and bring them to the next professional level! They are great for sessions, events and family snaps! I can get my clean edits done in half the time with a much more professional looking clean edit now. THAT makes me happy! Most of the clean edits in my Idaho 2011 Album were done with Pure actions! Which you'll notice is where a lot of my examples came from!

I'll break down the sets I use and which actions within that sets are my most used...

Pure 1 ~ Come out of the shadows baby, Warm that baby up, Hazy Baby, Hazy Baby 2, Fix all that red baby, Look at all that color baby (SWOON)

Pure 2 ~ Cloud 9 baby (SWOON), Snap that baby, Boost the shadows, Boost the blue (SWOON) & Boost the Yellows (SWOON)

Just a Pinch ~ A pinch of warming (SWOON), A pinch of haze, A pinch of Soft Light (SWOON), A pinch of makeup (SWOON), A pinch of Aloe Vera (SWOON), A pinch of tone and A pinch of Film Noir

Pure Haze ~ Yellow haze (SWOON times 2), Pink haze, A touch of haze, Brown haze, Get rid of that yellow (SWOON), Custom clean light, Pure Haze, Warm soft & pop (SWOON) and Pop the haze

SWOON means they are the ones I CANNOT live without and use the most! I do use others from each set, but these are my most used Pure actions!

And for my standard clean fast workflow when using Pure actions, I usually use Look at all that color baby, Boost the shadows/yellows/blues (which ever are present & needed per photo) and if I want a bit more in my edit I'll add (if needed) A pinch of warming or Cloud 9. Again this is kind of my base Pure editing and when I just want to take a good SOOC shot and have a normal basic clean edit! Super fast with GREAT clean PURE results!

I can honestly say, for CLEAN edits, Pure Actions have been my best spent money! I can also say that while I love them for their clean results, I freaking love the Pure Haze set. What amazes me the most about this set, is that you can get CLEAN CREATIVE edits! Who knew right! Ha! Really, they are creative with a bit of tonal shift and haze...but still SO CLEAN! They are light & thin and not over the top!

Now onto what I love the MOST about Pure Actions....

* their ability to give you the most clean edits WITHOUT adding too much contrast and making your images muddy, your shadows too dark or requiring too much adjustments or masking

* their ability to RETAIN DETAIL in your images!

* their ability to pop colors as they should be without making them go wonky & neon or spending tons of time masking on skin

*their ability to not be overly bright (which goes with retaining detail and not spending tons of time adjusting & masking)

* their ability to save me SO much time on clean edits

now onto what I don't like.... this is a review...so I have to be 100% open & honest! I assure, there is only ONE thing...

* having to flatten in between actions. I would love to see Pure Actions work as MK & FB and be able to run actions on top of each other. I have to take many snapshots when using Pure Actions and have to flatten after almost every action. That would be the ONLY thing I would like to see change. On the other hand, if in doing this, it changed their actions a bit...I'd rather have to flatten forever. Because THAT is how much I LOVE Pure Actions!

Wow...that was a lot. Now onto my examples. I'm not going to list what I ran for each image. This post is LONG enough! Lol! But you have a list of my most used up top and it will give you an idea of what I used. I will say however, that I still use TRA Boutwell Magic Glasses on a lot of my images (mostly on non people shots) and I do use MK See Things Clearer for my sharpening, MK Glisten & Eyecitment for my eyes. So I cannot say much for Pure sharpening actions or their eye actions. I know they are probably great. But I've been using the MK sharpening action and it's what I've stuck with because it's perfect for me!

So...I give Pure Actions TWO thumbs up! If you are wanting really good PURE clean edits, you will LOVE Pure Actions! And not to mention, Crystal & Rachel are two of the most kind hearted and talented women I know! I assure you, they will not be a waste of money and their actions are priced well. You'll get your money worth!
One last note...I've been having some issues with my Zenfolio not showing some of my images. Some say they are locked/private. I apologize for this issue and I'm am uncertain what is causing it as all of my blog albums are public and always have been. Some show and some don't. I started a new album for this blog and hope that it fixes the issues. My fingers are crossed that everyone will be able to see all of the images I posted!
I hope this review was helpful and please feel free to ask any questions you have in my comments section. I will answer to the best of my, mom with a camera, ability! Lol! Just make sure to come back and check for my response! HAPPY THURSDAY!


Crystal and Rachel September 22, 2011 at 1:43 PM  

actually :) the update to the sets puts them in groups... which allows them to be ran on top of each other :) as long as they are grouped... you can run actions on top of each other :) email me support@purephotoshopactions... .and we can get you the updated sets :) I love you Crystal! Thank you for such an amazing review!! You are talented beyond belief!!!

Meaghan September 22, 2011 at 1:54 PM  

Thanks so much for the review! I purchased some but haven't really used them. I'm so used to the MK and FB actions that you can layer on top of each other that I have a hard time using the Pure ones. I usually have tons of layers going and hate to have to flatten. I'll have to give them another try though, you're examples are wonderful!

momaziggy September 22, 2011 at 1:56 PM  

That is AWESOME to know! I emailed you! THANK YOU GIRLS!

Meaghan...look at the comment that Crystal & Rachel posted above yours! They updated the actions so that you no longer have to flatten! YAY!

Melissa September 22, 2011 at 2:06 PM  


Coleen Rausch September 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM  

Great review Crystal!! You are always such an action enabler, but luckily I already have nearly all of Pure Actions so this review won't be costing me anything ;) By the way, do you know how I can get the update so the actions can be stacked?? That would be WONDERFUL! Thanks so much for your willingness to put time into helping others with their action quandries - I know you've been a really big help to me :)

szondelka September 23, 2011 at 4:37 AM  

OMG:) Crystal you are a genius ... a wonderful and using these shares. These pictures are wonderful:)

momaziggy September 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM  

You're welcome Melissa!

Colleen...if you look in my comments section they gave the email address to email them about the updates. She sent me Pure 1 & 2, Just a Pinch and Pure Haze! Those are the ones they've updated so far. I haven't even had time to download them yet from my email! Lol! So just shoot them an email! :)

szondelka...thank you so much! I hope it was helpful! :)

danielle November 4, 2011 at 11:41 AM  

wow, just found your blog, via 2 peas, I put my Halloween house pictures in and I guess I didn't realize it was a year old post- ha! o'well, it brought me to your blog and this awesome photo editing pics. I love myour pictures!! What camera and which lens do you use the most often ( besides the macro)? I want to get more into photography and am wanting to buy a more professional camera and lens, and finally learn photo editing for reals. Your actions are LOVELY!!!!

momaziggy November 4, 2011 at 12:31 PM  

Hi Danielle! Thanks for coming to check out my blog & I'm so happy you like it! I don't post too often, only when I have something to share, but hope it helps you! And thank you so much for your kinds words! :) I remember your pics & I loved them. I'm glad you brought the thread alive again! :)

I shoot with a Canon 5D Classic and my 35L is my most used lens, then my 135L! If I could only have 2 lenses, those two would be it. I also have a Tokina 16-28 that I love for ultra wide angle shots, my 100mm Macro (non L) of course and I have the Lensbaby Composer for fun! :) I shoot all of my shots with a large aperture as I'm a bokeh junkie! And as you can see, I shoot with primes only with the exception of my Tokina which is mainly for landscape shots or fun funky fishy type shots! I started with primes, moved to zooms and went back to primes. Fits my style, love the bokeh and holey sharp batman! Lol!

Thanks again and I hope you have a great weekend! :)

Aiden Carns January 12, 2012 at 5:34 AM  

Slight changes to pictures are always the best ways to use Photoshop, unless your intention is to manipulate the colors in the photos. I like how it seems you only "cleared out the fog" in the pictures... they come out still looking natural.

momaziggy January 12, 2012 at 7:45 AM  

Thank you Aiden! That's what Pure Actions are best at! :)

Wayan dedy lesmana December 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM  

Fantastic Review Crystal! I have visited their store and found that the have bunch of action sets. Would you please share to us which sets are you owned (and love so much), and which one you recommend to a newbie like me?


momaziggy December 12, 2012 at 9:52 PM  

Hi Wayan. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

The Pure Actions I love the most and can't live without are Pure 1 & 2 for sure! I use many in those two sets & couldn't live without them!

Just a Pinch but only use one action... Just a Pinch of Makeup! Worth it's weight in gold! Love it for makeup (eyes, cheeks, lips) and GREAT for enhancing tattoos!

Pure Haze but again really only use one action... Get rid of that yellow. Another action that's worth it's weight in gold! Use this action A LOT!

If you shoot indoor studio shots Pure Studio is great. I don't shoot those type of shots but a photog I edit for does and this set is great for that!

Hope that helped! :)

Wayan dedy lesmana December 13, 2012 at 6:40 PM  


Thanks a lot for sharing it to us crystal, it gives me a better figure now :). Anyway does that Pure Studio also fit for any indoor shot (not studio one)?

Now I'm really eager to buy some sets of them, hope they have End Year Sale soon *I wish ^^


momaziggy December 13, 2012 at 7:39 PM  

You are very welcome! I know the owners, Crystal & Rachel & they are two of the nicest, giving & talented women I know. So I support their product but I als support who they ae & what they stand for. And they have more sales tgan anyone I know. So I'm sure they'll be posting a sale soon! :)

momaziggy December 13, 2012 at 7:41 PM  

Sorry for the typos. I'm on my cell phone. I forgot to comment about the Studio set. Some of the actions can be used on any indoor shots (studio pop is great) but some are soley for studio & backdrop or blanket shots.

Wayan dedy lesmana December 13, 2012 at 8:09 PM  

That's great!

Can't wait to see the Sale, I will purchase it for sure. Thanks for your kind responses, appreciate it :)

momaziggy December 14, 2012 at 9:23 AM  

My pleasure! I hope you love them as much as I do! :)

Chris March 20, 2013 at 11:39 AM  

Your work is wonderful!!
Thank you so much for the great review.
I've been looking at Pure actions for a while but not sure what to start out with. I'm looking for something that gives a clean edit, gets rid of that fog and really pops an image without changing it too much.
I currently use FB actions and some PTM actions. I also, love the Pioneer woman free actions but really need a clean edit action.
Would you mind recommending what to start out with?
I'd appreciate it.
Thanks again for a very helpful post.
Chris Henning

momaziggy March 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM  

Hi Chris. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I haven't been on my desktop recently so I'm responding from phone. For true clean edits I'd say Pure 1 & 2. :)

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About my PS Blog

Hi, my name is Crystal and I am addicted to Photoshop. I have PSCS4 and it's my other half. I love photography, but sometimes I think it's a means to edit!

So I thought it would be fun to have a place to post the free action sets I record, tips and tricks that I learn in PS and tuts for various different types of photo editing.

I hope you enjoy and find my PS blog helpful and if you have any questions, leave me a comment with your questions and your email address and I will get back to you!

Happy editing!

About Me

My photo
I am a stay at home to 2 great girls. My older daughter Haylee just started middle school and my younger daughter Avyree is in 1st grade! I have been married 11 years to my hubs Eric. I got my first DSLR June 31, 2008 and have been hooked ever since! My style is primarily Lifestyle! I like to take a natural and real life approach to my images! I want them to remind me of WHO my girls were when they were little, not just what they looked like. I love to edit and my editing style is always evolving and changing! I like variety and photography is a means to edit! I shoot Canon (full frame) and almost only primes. I pull out my wide angle zoom from time to time! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you like our story...
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