When I was starting out in photography, I experimented a lot with actions. Back then it was all a process of finding my style and figuring out what I love. While it was fun to experiment, I always knew the goal was to develop my style and then stick to it. I wanted my photos to be clean, clear and to have a timeless look to them. I wanted them to look consistent and I wanted people to recognize them as mine.

As a result of my early experimentation, I landed on using two Kevin Kubota actions for all my photos - one for black and white and one for color. Since the actions were very strong, I decided to customize them to suit my needs. So for years, I've been using BW GM warm 1 + snappy customized to 18% for my black and white images and KevX-process combo customized to 18% for my color images.

I still love the look of my images to this day. Even though a lot of trends have come and gone in photo-processing, I have tried to resist the temptation to make my photos look like everyone else's - partly because I want to have a differentiated style, but also because I wonder if 10 years from now, some of the trendy stuff will make those photos look out-dated. I know when I started in wedding photography 7 years ago, a really strong cross-processed image with a sloppy border was super-cool. Now, if I see photographers which sloppy borders, selective color images or heavily cross-processed images on their sites, I just think they are out-dated and old-school. I don't want my stuff to create the same reaction 10 years from now. In my opinion, if there is one genre of photography that should strive to be classic and timeless, it's wedding photography.

With all that said, sometimes it's just fun to experiment and try something new. Awhile back I added a goal to my 101 in 1001 goals list:

Purchase & play with Totally Rad Actions

I've heard about and seen these actions used for awhile now and thought it would be fun to play with them a bit. And in the past couple of weeks, I finally found time to do it! You may have noticed that some of my recent shoots have had a bit of a different look to them on the blog. So far, I've used TRActions on these posts:

Heather, Cole & London
Anthony (just the black & whites)
Birthday Month
Chris & Breanne's Engagement Shoot

I played around with various actions that came in the TRA2 - The Revenge Pack but I landed on two favorites and again, customized them a bit:

For color images: Grandma's Tap Shoes at 40%
For b&w images: BAMF at 80%

I processed some photos from these recent shoots as I normally would and then also with the above Totally Rad Actions so you could see a side-by-side comparison.

Here's my normal color processing:
And here is a little Grandma's Tap shoes at 40%:
I love the slight warm antique look that Grandma's Tap Shoes provides. I think it worked really well especially with the bookstore themed shoot.

The difference in the black and whites is even more subtle. Here's my normal processing:
And then here is TRA's BAMF at 80%:
I honestly can't decide which I like better. I like the slightly warmer b&w of my normal processing, but I also love the range of tones in the TRA version.

Here's a couple more examples - each with my normal Kevin Kubota processing first and then the TRA version next:
It's been so much fun to experiment a little and I think I've come to the conclusion that - especially for the color options - I like one or the other action depending on the style of the shoot. Just like I let the images tell me if they're supposed to be black and white or color, it seems that certain images call for one color look or another.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you in the comments! Which of the above do you prefer for both color and black and white?
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