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Paint the Moon offers Photoshop and Elements actions to help bring new life to your images and take hours off editing time. Professional editing tools to help you do everything including professional retouching, essential workflow edits, and beautiful and unique artistic processing ... all at the click of a button. Our actions work like magic to make processing amazingly quick and simple. Paint the Moon actions are also highly customizable for just the right look and help turn your photos into ART! Also offering fine art and vintage photo textures and other photographers tools for a unique look.

Browse our extensive collection of video tutorials to help guide you through the editing process. Try before you buy with beautiful free actions, textures and more to enhance your photos.

Shooting in Direct Sun Tips and TricksAbove photos edited with the Photoshop (and Elements) actions from the Luminosity Collection, Picture Perfect Mega Set and the Grace Collection.

Shooting in Direct Sun Tips and Tricks

Continued from part one

6. Get some sunglasses.
For your camera, that is. Some photographers take advantage of Polarizing filters or Neutral Density filters for shooting in bright conditions. They allow less light in and therefore allow you to use smaller apertures and slower shutter speeds. Polarizing filters can also help cut down on reflections and intensify blue skies. They are a little bit like putting sunglasses on your lens.

7. Widen up your shot.
Shooting portraits can be challenging in direct sunlight, so it can help to shoot wider, taking in the entire scene and to have your subject involved in an activity or looking in a different direction. When you have subjects looking at you in the sun you may find a lot of people get “squinty,” so it can help to have them close their eyes and then open them again at the count of three – and then SNAP!

Photographing in Bright Sun
Edited with Grace Collection Photoshop actions (see editing tips for bright sunlight photos below).

8. Plan to shoot when the sun is lower if possible.
If you have the luxury of planning the time you’ll be shooting, it’s best to avoid mid-day sun. Most photographers know that the coveted light for beautiful photos comes at “golden hour” – that time right after sunrise and before sunset. This light is low in the sky and is therefore softer and the direction is more flattering any way you shoot it, as well as having a much more pleasant color (thus, the “golden hour” term). This is a time when setting a custom white balance is very important as the intense golden hue can be dramatic.

You can read more about finding great light (and helping eyes sparkle) in this blog post. I especially recommend planning for good light (either by timing your shoots appropriately or by knowing your location so you are assured you’ll have some open shade to work with) if you are doing client sessions.

9. Wait just a bit.
Even waiting just a little bit can have a huge impact on the quality of light if you can let the sun go down a little in the sky … a little later in the afternoon versus high noon can make a big difference. Also, if you see some clouds hanging in the sky, waiting for a few to float over and provide some cover can provide you with a giant softbox in the sky with lovely, diffused light.

10. White Balance.
Don’t forget to custom white balance for correct color. This is especially important if you are shooting in that beautiful golden hour light as it can create a strong yellow cast on skin.

11. Other quick tricks.
If you can’t find a way to shade or manipulate that bright sun, just hide from it a bit it and throw on some sunglasses or a hat to shade the face or at least the eyes – or how about an umbrella? Some people also use fill flash, but I find I much prefer using natural light.

Backlit Photos | Photoshop Actions

12. Editing help for photos taken in direct sunlight.
You can slightly underexpose in order to give yourself a little room in post processing … this may allow you to bring back more of an overexposed background. But be careful that you don’t go too far under proper exposure or your skin tones and details will suffer.

Use actions like Save Highlights, Light Reflector and Brighten Shadows to help reduce too bright highlights and too dark shadows. See the Luminosity Collection, Picture Perfect or Grace Collection for these types of exposure helper actions.

A matte finish can really help soften images with harsh shadows and too much contrast. Some of my favorites for this are Film Haze from Luminosity Collection, as well as Airy Matte and Heathered Matte from Grace Collection.

Photographing in Bright Sun

Shooting Photos in Full Sun | Paint the Moon Photoshop Actions

Getting Kids to Smile in Photos With Real Authentic Expressions Photoshop Actions Elements PSE


Grace Photoshop Actions - Awaken and Bloom Set Video Tutorials by Paint the Moon
Grace Collection: Awaken & Bloom Sets
144 Actions With the Blooming Light Bonus

All In One, Workflow Bases, Artistic and
Matte Toning Plus Beautiful Light Effects
Luminosity Grace Photoshop Actions - Awaken and Bloom Set Video Tutorials by Paint the Moon
Luminosity Collection: Essence & Artisan Sets
Clean Process Workflow Bases,
Artistic and Film Looks Plus
Gorgeous All In One Black and Whites
Retouching Makeover Portrait Photoshop Actions by Paint the MoonPicture Perfect Mega Portrait Set
Retouching, Corrective and Makeover Actions
Portrait and Newborn Set Includes
Retouching and Workflow Actions


By Annie Manning

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I brought out the rich colors and added some depth in this edit. Processed with Grace Collection actions Opulent (base action), Rich Color Boost, Apricot Light Blossom and I used the Background Color Palettes to create some dimension, detail and softness in the background which was pretty lifeless in the middle of our rainy, winter day here. Finished up the edit with Velveteen for some velvety softness from the Luminosity Collection (Luminosity is also available for Elements users). Grace Collection coming soon for Elements users too!

Fantastic Little Fox | Paint the Moon Photoshop Actions

By Annie Manning

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