Before I get more into this post, there are a few things to *note* about actions. Most of the actions for purchase are very strong (heavy color processing). Most of the time, you will not want to leave an action at the strength that it is preset at. Sometimes the layers are adjustable, and sometimes they aren't. But you always have the option to duplicate your layer, and run your action on the duplicate... thus giving you the option to turn it down, using the opacity slider. :)
Now obviously, the goal is to take a good SOOC (straight out of camera) shot.
For this shot, I was lucky that the lighting was ideal and I didn't have to do anything to to this picture except clean it up a bit (i.e run noiseware, sharpen...)
In the edit below, I used an action from Florabella Collection! (and for the sake of staying consistent, all of the action examples I use in this post will be Florabella! not to mention, they are THE BEST!)
But as I mentioned previously, most actions are very very strong and when you run it initially, it's going to be crazy looking. That's because most of the time the action will stop at 100%.
And the mistake that a lot of people make is that they leave it there at 100% and the photo will turn out looking like this:
YIKES! I am sensitive to the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think that most would agree that this is WAY too much color processing. Yes? A a lot of the problem is that people don't realize that they can turn opacity down on the action. In the case of Florabella, her actions run on a separate layer so all you have to do is drag the opacity slider.
Here are a few more examples of what actions can do for you after your 'clean edit'!
*please note that most of these actions are set to +/- 20%.
Actions can be your best friend, but they can also make your image look worse if they are overused. So make sure you spend lots of time tinkering around with them. Learn what each action is capable of and you'll get into a groove!