I do post-processing on almost every single photo I take in Photoshop CS5. I am not the most versed in Photoshop, so I depend on actions for almost all the edits I make. I am a huge fan of Paint the Moon actions and use them almost exclusively for my photos. They are awesome for portraits!
This is my before shot of Oliver playing in the snow this afternoon. It's a decent photo on its own, but I wanted to kick up a few details.
And this is my after shot....
I used three different Paint the Moon actions to achieve this after photo. I knew I wanted to bring out Oliver's face, the texture in the hat, the texture of his coat and I wanted it to be more obvious that the snow was still falling when I took the picture.
First I used the Intensity action from PTM's Fresh Wonderland TWO. That deepened the texture in the hat, but made the coat and buttons even darker than before. Next I ran the All Together Now -Vintage action from PTM's Picture Perfect Portrait. Finally, I cropped a wee bit off the right side of the image to help center Oliver in the image and ran the Soft Burnt Edges action from PTM's Picture Perfect Portrait set three times. Ta da!
The second image has more texture, detail and interest than the original and it only took a few mouse clicks. The big challenge with actions is choosing the right ones for your image. Two images taken seconds apart can require two totally different combinations of actions. Some images may even only require use of one action to make them great. It all comes with practice and becoming familiar with your actions.