This week she is teaching how to batch edit the cake smash session photos to achieve a cohesive group of images that will work great together in a storyboard or album.
Cake smashes are one of my favorites types of sessions to edit. Because there are not lighting or location changes, the entire session can be taken at the same manual settings. This allows a photographer to edit the photos with the exact same settings lending a very consistent look from image to image. Cake smashes are particularly important to keep looking consistent because many parents like to purchase story boards and/or albums of the session. I only shoot in RAW format, so my editing starts with culling the photos and then tweaking them in the RAW editor.
- Open Bridge
- Locate the folder with the cake smash photos.
- Go through the photos looking for good focus and expressions. On the “keepers”, right click over the preview window and give a 5 star rating. (Or use Command-5 on a Mac; Control-5 on a PC)
- Once you finish rating the photos, right click where the files are and sort by rating.
- Create a new folder for the culled files.
- Select all the 5 star rated photos and drag them to the new folder.
- In Bridge, navigate to this new folder.
Editing in RAW:
- In Bridge, select all the culled files. Right click and choose “Open in RAW Editor”.
- Adjust settings for the first photo.
- Once the photo is fully edited in RAW, choose “Select All” then “Synchronize”. This will apply the changes from the first photo to all the photos.
- Look through the photos and make slight adjustments, if needed.
- Select all of the photos and then choose “Open”. This will open the files in Photoshop.
Editing in Photoshop:
Editing in Photoshop should be geared to maintain the consistency you have obtained through shooting manual using the same aperture, white balance, ISO, and shutter speed and using the exact same settings in the RAW editor. To keep the look consistent, touch up all photos first and then run a “super action” that can be applied to every photo in the set.
- Touch-up where needed on every photo. This is the time to use the healing brush, patch tool, remove color casts and distracting elements, etc. Do not make adjustments with levels, actions, Noiseware, etc. (You could also save this step for last. Order in this case doesn’t matter.)
- Once the basic touchups are completed, go to the top right of your actions palette and choose “New Set”. Give this set a name. This is just creating a new actions folder where you can store your super action. Now go back to the top right corner of your actions palette and choose “New Action”. Give this a name and make sure you are storing it in the new set you just made. Press “Record”.
- Now, every change you make will be recorded. You do not want to use a healing brush or remove elements during this step because it’s going to try to make those same exact changes when run on other photos. Super actions are good for recording actions that you typically use, layer’s adjustments, sharpening, etc. Make sure what you are doing could be applied universally to any photo. Once you have made all your adjustments, stop the recording on the bottom of the actions palette.
- You can run this action on each individual photo. An even quicker way to do this is to use a Script. Go to File> Scripts > Image Processor. Under Step 1 in the pop-up menu, find the folder with your touched up your files. For Step 2, choose where you want them saved. If you choose “Save in the Same Location”, a folder will be created to house the photos. On file type, you can choose to save as JPEG, PSD or TIFF. If you want the photos resized, you can check this area and have it resized to your specification. On Step 4, check “Run Action” and make sure you choose the folder and action you just made. There is also a space to add copyright information. Then run the script. So easy!
When you’ve finished, you can put all the photos that the parents select into a beautiful storyboard like this one.
If you’d like to watch my entire editing process for a cake smash session, please watch the longer video below.
Andrea Riley is a photographer and teacher from Ohio and a proud member of the I Heart Faces Creative Team. She and her sister Angie currently specialize in fusion high school senior photography with their company The Picture Show. When not in the role of photographer or teacher, Andrea enjoy spending time with her husband and three children and their dog. Follow her on her blog Happy Chaos or on Twitter at @the.picture.show.