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)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A FREE action share ~ MZ Golden Backlight...

I know it's been SO long since I shared an action! Sorry, but I haven't made any to share! Lol! This one I actually started working on at the end of last Summer...September 2010! Yikes! I kind of forgot about it, then when I thought about it I was too lazy to finish the layers then record the action and do the examples.

But tonight I finally did it! This is of course FREE which I know makes many happy! It is only one action and not a whole set. This action is meant to be an all in one action for back lit photos. It has layers that are turned off so that you may personalize this action to suit your needs per photo. You can embrace the haze and keep it light & airy. Or you can turn on other layers and upping the layer opacity of others to remove some of the haze and get more contrast and depth. You can turn layers on, off, up or down and even go into the adjustment layers and fiddle with the settings to make it truly your own!

I love this little action and find it very easy to use and I love the ability to go more clean and subtle or really bump on the layers and get a creative look! You can also, as you will see below, use this action on front lit images as well, but you will need to do a bit more tweaking to get it right! And don't be afraid to mask. On one of my examples I didn't like the tones on Nugget's face, so I masked her out of one layer and then with the alt key, dragged that layer mask to the others where I did not want the tone on her face and was able to quickly remove the colors I didn't want on her. And for those who are just learning or want to get better at really learning your actions! Try this...

Download this action and open a back lit shot. Run the action and open the folder. Start at the very top layer. Click that eye on & off a few times while looking at your image. Do this for every.single.layer in this action. Then turn on & off the ones that are already off and watch to see what they are doing to your photo. Also as you do this, take the opacity slider and go from left to right to see how playing the opacity of that specific layer affects your photo. As I edit I will often turn the whole folder opacity on & off to see my before and after shot quickly! And if you love exactly how the action looks but feel it's just a bit too strong, just lower the opacity of the whole folder. I did that on the shot of Nugget holding the coffee cup in her black/gray outfit. The action was perfect but just a tad strong, so I lowered the folder opacity to 85% and that was it. And do this every.single.time you run this action, or any action, until you've gotten to know what that action does. This is how I am able to have such a large actions panel filled with wonderful actions from amazing makers and be able to get the most out of them. I know when to run which one and maker for that matter and when to combine to get a look special to only me! Don't be afraid to play around and experiment! If you don't like it, just hit delete! But you are not doing your checkbook or your actions panel, or your images for that matter, any justice if you have all these actions and don't know them well enough to really use them!

This action does NOT work in PSE!! Users with CS3 or lower may get an error at the end of the action, due to a Vibrancy layer that came out with CS4. I am hoping that you will still be able to use the action but I cannot make any promises. But since it's FREE, it doesn't hurt to download it and try it out right! This action will also work best on SOOC images that have only RAW editing done to them! Make sure your white balance and exposure are adjusted and where they need to be from your RAW processor before you run this action. If you shoot jpeg, this action will be pretty strong on your already edited {in camera} images and will require more tweaking and lowering of layers and possibly folder opacity!

I have 10 examples to show you of how I use this action! Again, there are several possibilities with this action that I could've gotten different looks per photo depending on what layers I use and don't and layer opacity. I won't be going into specific layer detail for each of my examples.

This was the photo that actually inspired the start of this action. First day of school. Can't believe the year is already over and we in the middle of summer break...

I went a little more extreme with this one and I could have gone light & airy if I'd wanted that look...

Here since there are not any large shadow or dark areas of the photo, I kept it light and airy...

This is one where I masked a bit of the tones off of her face and dragged that mask to the other colors that I wanted to remove off of just her face...

I also removed the haze and some of the tones off her only her in this shot too again using the alt key to drag the layer mask of the first mask I painted on so I wouldn't have to paint her out of each layer I didn't want on her...

This was a bad shot that ended up a favorite. I have it edited as a grainy low contrast bw. But I wanted to see what it would look like with this action on it and I loved it. I turned on the "Darken the Shadows" layer and lowered the opacity to 50%. I initially meant to lower the opacity of that layer to 15% as the action recorded but I totally forgot and was too tired to record the whole action over again. And the great thing about it being a FREE action, I don't have too! Ha! So when you turn that layer on, it will be strong and in most cases will need to be turned way down unless you have a tone of haze on your image...

And here are two examples of well lit, front lit images that this action worked great on. On this image I had to tweak a lot and turned off several layers, lowered layer opacity and turned on some of the other layers that come turned off. But it didn't take too long and I really like the color tone of the edit...

This is the one that I loved the second I ran it exactly as is. It was a bit strong so I lowered the whole folder opacity to 85% and didn't anything else! I also love depending on the tones and light in your photo, the different types of looks you can get with this action...

Perfect for the look I wanted here. I adjusted a few minor things and turned on the "Darken the shadows" layer and brought the opacity down to 30% I believe...

This one I turned off the edge burn, lowered the dollop of whip cream and I believe that was it...

And this one makes me really happy! I think this action would work GREAT on beach sunset pictures {with or without people} but I don't have any. So this sunset shot is as close as I can get for now! I apologize ahead of time for the power lines. On the image I'd already edited, I removed them. But didn't have it in me to do it again! But I'm in LOVE with the colors tones and overall image after the action. I made a few small adjustments but not many...

So if after seeing all my examples and babble..you want to download it for FREE, head on over


I hope you like it and don't have any problems with it. You can email me at momaziggy AT yahoo DOT com with any questions or if you'd like to share before & after images with me. I always LOVE to see people's before & after images. I'm not in business so I don't have a Facebook Fan page or anything, so emailing them is the only way I believe I can see them. I don't think you can attach them to the comments but if you load them somewhere, you can link me in the comments!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Ashley Sisk July 17, 2011 at 8:24 PM  

LOVE this action - I plan on using it this week and I'll be sure to give you a shoutout. Genius!

Debi July 18, 2011 at 4:06 AM  

This is a beautiful action...thanks so much for your generosity!

Squaek July 18, 2011 at 4:57 AM  

Thanks for sharing Crystal. I already use several of your actions all the time - can't wait to try this one out!

Cathy July 18, 2011 at 5:05 AM  

this is so FABULOUS of you!! What an awesome, generous gift, thank you!!

momaziggy July 18, 2011 at 10:07 AM  

My pleasure girls! Sorry it's been so long since I've shared any free actions. I have so many good pay ones in my actions panel that I have very little need for any other actions! Lol!

Hope you like it!

Manda July 20, 2011 at 6:20 AM  

Thank you so so so so much for sharing! Thank you so much. :)

momaziggy July 20, 2011 at 9:15 AM  

You're welcome Manda! Hope you enjoy it! :)

Becca July 23, 2011 at 3:46 PM  

Thanks so much for sharing, Crystal! I have some images that I think this will be perfect for. Can't wait to play!

JennyO July 24, 2011 at 2:21 AM  

This action is fantastic, I can't wait to try it I have a few that this would be a perfect edit for.
I'll make sure to link back in thanks!

Rosie@leavesnbloom July 24, 2011 at 3:28 AM  

Thankyou - I've already tried it out on one photo and it looks great.

DeAnna Arevalo July 29, 2011 at 5:29 PM  

Coming out of my comfort zone and shooting in the sun thanks to Misty! She told us about your action. Iliana is gone for a week and she instructed me I wasn't allowed to edit anything. I might just have to play with this though.

momaziggy July 29, 2011 at 5:31 PM  

Good for you DeAnna! It's nice to be able to get out of the shade from time to time! :) I'm Iliana will forgive you...go play! Teehee! Hope you like it!

Shining Windows August 12, 2011 at 10:34 AM  

what a beautiful action!

momaziggy August 12, 2011 at 1:28 PM  

I'm so glad you like it! :)

Joan August 14, 2011 at 7:30 AM  

Thanks for this beautiful action; can't wait to try it.

momaziggy August 14, 2011 at 6:04 PM  

I hope you enjoy it Joan!

Jen Price September 8, 2011 at 5:50 AM  

Very cool! I'm excited to try this!

Anonymous January 6, 2014 at 12:25 PM  

Hi and thanks for this! Does this work on a mac? It seemed to download on my Mac as an .exe file. Thanks again!

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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

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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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