Wedding photos are a vital part to the conclusion of a wedding – it helps preserve memories for years to come. However, as most newly married couples and brides know, hiring a photographer isn’t cheap. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who dabbles in photography or is a professional photographer, you might be in luck. But for most everyone else, skimping on photography is a painful choice.

Yet if you must forgo a professional, knowing someone who can “improve” photos using Photoshop is a huge benefit. Take for instance my my sister’s wedding; she asked a few friends to help out with the photography to save a little money. Luckily, one of her friends is an actual photographer. But some friends and family members, including myself, offered our point-and-shoot skills as well.

Many of my own photos had great composition, if I do say so myself, but my tiny flash just wasn’t cutting it come dusk. So I pulled my favorite ones into Photoshop and using downloaded actions (see below for where to get them) and filters I was able to improve the lighting and coloring of them within minutes taking a so-so photo and making it a “wow!” photo.

An example of using a filter to enhance a point-and-shoot problem: a limited flash at dusk gives off a bluish hue. Using a warming filter, I brightened up the photo which also made it look a bit “vintage.”

With the modifications, my point-and-shoot camera did a great job capturing impromptu moments that I can share with my sister. Of course, it did help that I had something to work with. 🙂

If you have some Photoshop skills and have played with the actions tool, you can load ready-made actions into your PS program. I personally like to use Pioneer Woman’s PS actions to start. It’s a good idea to save a backup of the photo before applying the action or actions to one encase you don’t like the end result. My three favorite PW actions I used to improve my sister’s photos were “Fresh and Colorful,” “Lovely and Ethereal,” and “Sunshine.” I also adjusted the levels to perfect the lighting in most images as well.

Could you use these filters to improve upon your photos?


  1. Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog Reply

    the photos look great – thanks for the link to the pioneer woman’s actions. We are having a friend take our pictures and she’s not a professional, so I may go in and touch up some of the photos after the fact. THis will help a lot!

  2. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter Reply

    A friend of mine is getting married and I am going to share it with them. These photos look great. What an awesome tip.

    • @Miss T- Definitely share this and if they need help, let me know. I’m going to start offering my photo retouching services. 🙂

    • @Kathleen – You can also install them in your Photoshop. Open Photoshop and make sure your actions window is open. At the top right corner of the window is a small drop down menu where you can install actions. Click on “install actions” and browse to where you downloaded the Pioneer Woman’s actions. Once you’ve done that, you should see the action or actions saved in your “actions” window in Photoshop. Hope that helped!

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