Simple tools for modern-look web photos

by | Digital Photography Tips | 4 comments

Don’t you love time-saving tools? (I do!) Photoshop (and Elements) actions are helpful little mini-programs designed to do some of the hard work for you. From editing to the finishing touches, actions allow users to be a little more hands-off with post-processing.

My friend Erin of Texas Chicks Blogs & Pics is working with Jodi of MCP Actions to develop Elements-friendly actions. They just released a new set called Finish It and asked if I would test it out for you. This set helps you prepare photos for the web.

The PSE version of Finish It includes 86 actions for framing and branding your digital photos for presentation on your Web site or blog. You can create colored frames and borders in more ways than you can imagine, including rounding the corners, with a simple click. The action re-sizes and sharpens your image in addition to helping you craft a unique look for web-ready photos.

I played around with a set of photos taken last fall at the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana. Here are some of my examples:

Using Brand It – Left Small

Using Build It – Color Block Bottom and a journaling strip from Ali Edwards

Using Build It – Rounded Color Block Bottom and a date stamp from Joyce Paul

Using Frame It – Bottom Heavy and the CK Ali’s Hand font

These actions made me think differently about how I present my own photos on Simple Scrapper or my personal blog. Whether you’re a pro photographer or simply the family picture taker, these framing tools add a professional polish to your images. They offer a great base for many of the fun journaling and dating elements offered by digital designers.

My download (for PSE 6 for Mac, separate download for PS) included PDF instructions for both Mac and PC as well as various versions of Elements. I had a bit of trouble installing at first, as the instructions for Mac assumed I was using PSE 8 (there was no PSE 7 for Mac). However, I was easily able to find the PSE 6-specific instructions on the web. The included document is generally correct, except for where to place the files.

Copy ATN and PNG files here:
Macintosh HD>Library>Application Support>Adobe>Photoshop Elements>6.0>Photo Creations>photo effects

Copy XML Files here:
Macintosh HD>Library>Application Support>Adobe>Photoshop Elements>6.0>Locale>en_Us>Photo Creations Metadata>Photo Effects

There are a few additional points about this action set worth considering:

  • Drop shadows are not included
  • The tool to add your logo simply duplicates File > Place
  • the price of $49.99 requires a serious interest

For dedicated Project 365-ers who use PSE, Finish It could enhance your daily efforts and save you time to boot. I would certainly recommend these actions to anyone who blogs regularly using personal photos as well as to pros looking to brand their work. Sure, you “could” do this these frames by hand, but time is super precious.

For an in-depth overview and tutorial, MCP Actions offers this video:

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  1. Karidan

    So these are only for elements?? There is no version for PS7 or CS2?

    • Jennifer

      Nope, there is a PS/CS version as well. Same price, just a different check box when you order. Key difference is that PSE version has separate actions for horizontal and vertical photos. I only tested the PSE version, so that’s what I speak to specifically here.

  2. Jamie

    Is that date stamp you used available anywhere? I’m in love!! 🙂

    • Jennifer

      I don’t think it is, but I’ve seen similar date stamps in a variety of shops. Sweet Shoppe Designs, Designer Digitals, Design House Digital etc.


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