Edit Beautiful Photos with Greater than Gatsby

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Can I be honest? While I love cooking and creating fun new things in the kitchen, I might like the process of taking the pictures even more. Learning my way around my camera and the various editing software options has been an adventure. But, some of the most common comments/ emails/ questions that I get are about my photography and how I do various things with my photos.

Those always mean SO much to me because I’ve worked very hard over the past year to take and edit photos that I can be truly proud of.

I won’t pretend for one second to be anything more than an amateur photographer. There’s still SO much that I’m learning and SO much that I still want to do better when it comes to my photography. But, I will say that I have spent hours and hours over the past year practicing and reading and learning as much as I possible can about the subject. I’m obsessed with it and I love it!

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Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is putting together a little series on my blog with photography tips for bloggers and beginners. Is that something that you would be interested in? What all would you want to learn??

To test this out, I’m going to show you a sneak peak into my editing process. FIRST of all, did you know that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars in order to download and use Photoshop and other Adobe products? Adobe actually offers a product called Creative Cloud that allows you to pay a monthly subscription (mine is only $10/ month) and gain full access to Photoshop and Lightroom from your computer. I wrote a post ALL about it HERE.

Greater Than Gatsby
About a year ago I discovered the Great than Gatsby Actions (they have them for Lightroom as well) and wanted them SO badly. They’re a bit pricey for the whole set and to be honest, I just really wasn’t sure if it was worth my money or just one of those things I would buy and never use. So, I put off buying them for months. One day I saw an awesome 24 hour promotion that they were running and decided to take the leap and buy the whole bundle. BEST DECISION EVER!!

My editing process using the Greater Than Gatsby Actions:

First I start with a raw image that’s SOOC (meaning it’s Straight Out Of Camera with no edits or alterations). This picture is straight from my camera:

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Using the Clean Workflow Action set, I run the Clean Edit Color Base action on the photo. I run this action on basically every single photo that I take with my DSLR. You can adjust the photo manually to get this same outcome but it will take a lot more time and fiddling around. I LOVE how quick and easy this is and it always makes such a positive difference in the photo.

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This is with ONE quick click in Photoshop:

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Many times, I stop there. The Clean Edit action cleaned the photo up, adjusted the light, smoothed things out, and really made the colors pop.

Sometimes, as in this case, I like to try out a few of the other actions to see if I like them on my photo. This particular photo was taken in March when it was very dull outside with little color around. I wanted an action to bring the photo to life a bit more.

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This action (In Stark Contrast from the Radiance Collection) is only a subtle difference but really makes the photo catch your eye a bit more.

Then I added one more action (Flare for the Dramatic from the Radiance Collection, which is one of my favorites for outside photos):

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The difference in the 2 photos isn’t huge but enough to differentiate a normal photo from one that really catches your eye. It really brings out the color in the leaves, the golden sparkle in her hair, and overall just makes it prettier!

This change is from just 3 clicks:

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If you want to know more about these actions NOW, you can skip ahead to the end of the post. Greater Than Gatsby is running a special promotion through the end of September. Enter the code SEPT20 at checkout to get 20% off of your entire order.

Greater Than Gatsby
I’m going to give a few more examples because I love these actions so much and I can’t refrain!

Here’s another SOOC picture I took recently (you can see more of this shoot HERE):

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As always, I first run a Clean Edit action. But, I decided to go black and white on this one so I ran the Clean Edit B/W Base action.

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Again, I think this looks great as is but I wanted to give it a slightly more airy and romantic feel. After trying out a few different actions, I decided on the Moonstruck enhancement action which is also part of the Radiance Collection:

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OK, last example of a quick clean edit, promise!! Another SOOC shot:

greater-than-gatsby-tutorial-sooc2 After the Clean Edit Color Base Action:

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Here is an action on the photo from the Woodstock Collection. I didn’t use this collection much when I first got it but lately it’s been my favorite one!

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That last action was not necessary for a great picture but I still love it. Stephen said he thought the final result of this photo was a little too washed out. Luckily, it’s very easy to adjust the opacity/ strength of the actions in Photoshop/ Lightroom.

Sometimes I’m in the mood for very dramatic and bold pictures, other times I want airy and light photos or even really hazy photos. These actions give me the ability to try out different feels and looks for a photo without having to spend FOREVER messing with different levels and contracts and light etc.

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Another fun action that I like to use from the Greater Than Gatsby Collection is their cloud and sun burst overlays. Below are 2 examples, both from my cold and dreary trip to England earlier this year, where I used the cloud overlays to give my photo a brighter, cheerier look.

This photo is SOOC:

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When you hit play on the cloud overlay action in Photoshop, a dialog box pops up with very clear instructions on how to apply the layer and adjust the photo to make the layer fit. This was super helpful to me seeing as I had no idea what I was doing the first time I used these overlay actions. There are about 10 different sky scenes that you can choose from. I chose this one and placed it where I wanted it:

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All you have to do from here is go in with the brush tool and brush the layer off of the areas that you don’t want it (ie the trees and mountains where there should be no sky).

I mainly added the cloud overlay as practice but was amazed at how drastically it changed the whole feel of the picture:

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Another example using the London bridge. With a clean edit and a little fun cloud overlay action:

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So, needless to say, I think the Greater Than Gatsby Actions are pretty amazing! :) If you’re interested in seeing some more before/ after photos and some step-by-step video tutorials, they have some great videos up on their site HERE.

 They’re running a promotion through the end of the month that includes 20% off all Greater Than Gatsby Products with the promo code SEPT20. They just came out with a new set of actions called the Three Nails Collection and I realllly want them!!

If you can swing it, I highly recommend buying the whole collection all at once. However, if you’re interested in buying the actions but can’t afford to buy the whole bundle, I highly recommend buying the Clean Workflow set first and then the Radiance Collection.

If you have any questions about the Greater Than Gatsby actions, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below. I really do love these actions a lot and recommend them to everyone that asks me how they can improve their images in editing. More than anything, I love how easy they are and that they require very little knowledge of Photoshop or Lightroom.

Did you enjoy this tutorial?? I have quite a few more planned but I would LOVE love to hear what kinds of photography tips you would like to see. Tutorials I’m thinking of include ‘how to take and edit great photos with your phone’, ‘photography gear 101’, ‘lighting 101’, ‘mastering manual mode’, and more.  Leave your suggestions in the comments and I will love you forever!


*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and go on to purchase that product, I will receive a small compensation. However, your cost will remain the same (but be even better because of the discount!). I bought these actions with my own money and have used them DAILY for well over a year. Needless to say, I would not promote them if I didn’t absolutely love them.

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58 comments on “Edit Beautiful Photos with Greater than Gatsby”

  1. These pictures look great after editing. I use fotor and love all the different enhancers and effects I can do with it.

  2. I like these tips, but I prefer to make my own actions in Photoshop (I guess since I’m a Graphic Designer I gasp at the thought of paying for actions). I love your photos!

    • Yea! I just started playing around with making my own actions and have had fun with it. I’ve sat down to Photoshop with 4 different friends who asked my help editing. Each of them was SO overwhelmed just to open photoshop/ lightroom up so I think these are definitely great for people who simply don’t know those programs well or want a quick way to make photos look great without needing to learn. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I have been eyeballing these actions for quite a while, so its great to read a real review!

  4. Photoshop actions are amazing, and so fun to use! Your photos are beautiful!

  5. What kind of camera do you use? All of your photos are gorgeous and I know you have done a lot of research and playing to get them to this level. I’ve recently started researching myself and this is definitely a post I will save for future use, just wanted to know what your base start was with camera and decision making? Thanks!

    • I have a Canon 60D. I think I’m going to do a post on equipment very soon actually. For me, I knew I wanted to really get into photography more than just taking pictures of my dogs. However, when I bought my camera, I was also very new and couldn’t justify getting anything too fancy (who knew if I’d stick with it). So, I went for a middle of the road DSLR. BEST piece of advice I have: DON’T get a kit lens. Buy a camera that comes with just the body and but a lens separate. The kit lenses are really not good. I have only used mine about 3 times and it’s just been collecting dust since then. I currently use my 50mm 1.4 lens for almost everything.

  6. What type of camera do you use? The before pictures are amazing! I need to master photo editing now <3

  7. Impressive! The after photos look so professional. I’ll have to check this out!

  8. So do any of these come with the Illustrator??

    • If we don’t go on that trip in February – then I am going to buy a camera. I want a good-one for the kids (when I have them). What would you suggest? Would you suggest the you have or something a little simpler for someone like me that only uses it for fam pics and blog pics?

      • I’m working on a whole post about this now that I’ll probably put up in a week or so. I have a good friend who has a Canon t3i which is basically the cheapest dslr canon makes. She invested in a good lens though and she takes really beautiful photos (and video) on her camera. Either way, I’ll be posting a super long post about it all very soon :)

  9. These are some amazing actions! I lost my photo shop when my computer broke, I need to get it again!

  10. Wow what a change! The shots are gorgeous to begin with but I love how easy it looks!

  11. I love the after photos! I wish I could edit so well, but I’m not very good at it at all and I can never figure out software.

    • I hear you! The first few months I used Photoshop, I was pretty frustrated. It definitely takes some getting used to. However, now I couldn’t live without it. Plus, these actions make it all SO easy!

  12. oh wow what a difference!!

  13. These are beautiful examples of editing! It is amazing what you can do with some software!

  14. Thank you so much. I seriously had no idea how to do this and I pinned for future reference.

  15. My husband bought me a nice dslr for Christmas and I’ve always been against edited photos. (for some reason I felt like it was false advertisement somehow?) Now I’m inspired to tip toe out of my square box…I’m so glad I found your blog so I can get tips on how.

    • I felt the exact same way for a while. But once I played around with it, I fell in love. Most of my photos I try and edit as little as possible and just play around with fixing the lighting and shadows. Other times I have a lot of fun with the artistic enhancements and some of the fun things I can do with photos (like adding clouds and color in the background).

  16. They must use similar techniques on the Doc Martin show because Cornwall always look sunny and glorious there!

  17. Wow cool program! Will look into it.

  18. Great tips! I’m totally going to nee this info!

  19. I haven’t taken the plunge into using lightroom yet, but I might have to now! I love what these actions did for the photos.

  20. This is soo cool

  21. I really enjoyed reading your post. I use photoshop and am always wanting to learn more about editing my photos. Your pics are gorgeous. I could learn a lot from you. :)

    • Thank you! That means a lot. I plan on doing a whole series of photography posts in the coming months. I’ve loved learning about it all and am enjoying passing that knowledge along!

  22. These are some great actions! I’ve been needing some new actions, I’ll definitely be trying them out!

  23. These look like great actions! I use LR for 99.9% of my editing though. :)

  24. very cool! i suck at photography and would like to get better, but honestly probably don’t have time which is why i shall never become an “official” food blogger ;)

  25. Wow! It is so crazy how much a “bad” picture can be improved with digital photography!! I did not know that Photoshop had a subscription! I should totally get that. I have the free CS2 version, but I can only do so much with it! Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures

  26. This is so cool! I think it is so important to have “pretty” pictures on our blogs. Definitely helps with the appeal. I will have to check them out. What is the average price? Heading to their site now. And BTW- your blog has become one of my new faves! :)

    • Susan, you’re too sweet! That means a lot.

      The prices on these vary. Honestly, it’s pretty pricey to buy the whole bundle (~$400) BUT I think it’s totally worth it if you take a lot of photos and like a more artistic look. I use mine seriously every single day. If you just want something smaller though, I recommend getting the Clean edit workflow and that’s only $50 (before the discount).

      • Okay so I have been surfing around your blog a bit this morning, drooling… but have a thought for you. I consider myself a lifestyle blogger but usually post 1-2 recipes a week. I think you should do a post on tips for taking your foodie pics. Your blog seriously has the prettiest food pictures! Makes it even more amazing!

        • This is a great idea!! I definitely plan to do this as part of the photography posts that I’ll be putting up soon. I’m still very much learning as I go but I’d love to pass on my tips and techniques for taking food photos. I’ll let you know when this one will be posted

  27. THANK YOU SO MUCH! This post is one I will save and review often when I am editing photos!

  28. I’m so sorry to hear this, Melissa! I copied your message and sent it to Greater Than Gatsby to see if they have any information or explanation for this.

    I have been using their actions and presets for years and have bought them and installed them on many computers of family and friends including all of my own computers. I’ve never had any problems at all. I’m also part of a facebook group with thousands of people that also use the actions daily and have never heard anything about this. Hopefully there’s a good explanation. Again, sorry

  29. Hi, I know this is an older post, but I was wondering if you could share which Greater Than Gatsby Set includes the cloud overlay? I have Three Nails but am new at it and having a heck of a time figuring out which action does what, since there really aren’t any lists (that I could find) that include pictorial examples. But, I’m shooting a family session soon, and the location the family picked will likely have boring, blown-out skies, so I’d love to be able to add some character-rich skies!

    • Hi Emily! So, I honestly didn’t realize this but it looks like they recently stopped selling the cloud overlays from what I can tell. However, Etsy has a TON of great options that are super cheap and easy to use: https://www.etsy.com/market/cloud_overlays Hope this helps!! I need to update this post soon I guess!

      • Hey, thanks for the reply! I actually emailed Greater Than Gatsby yesterday too, and they emailed me a link that I could use to purchase and download the cloud overlays, but I am thrilled to have the etsy option as well! I’ve already been playing with this and you are right, it makes a HUGE difference! Thank you!

      • I was going to ask the same question about the cloud overlays in GTG!

  30. Wondering if you are still using these actions as much now, years later? Also wondering if you use LR presets and why you use one or the other or both? Thanks

    • Hi Laurie! I do still use these…almost every single day. I’ve bought some of their newer ones that have recently come out as well. These days, I use Lightroom the majority of the time so I mostly use the lightroom presets. I simply find LR quicker and easier since I mostly just do simple edits to my photos. When I want to do some more artistic edits, I will use Photoshop.