To get started, images are selected either individually or by group, then dragged and dropped into one or more of the 25 custom Photoshop action folders. ActionRunner includes 16 major actions and nine micro actions, including Cross Color, Blue Select, BW, Mocha Glow, and Pop Middy 1.5. Any image file can be dropped into multiple action folders for varying finishes, which means the client can have the same photo processed multiple ways.
With all selects placed into folders, simply click on the ActionRunner logo and the software completes every edit in batch process, i.e., in a continuous run, start to finish. Davis-Hicks notes, "I take about two hours to select my 1,000 images, which are about 5MB each. I designate my desired actions, then click on ActionRunner. The software opens each image, applies the action, saves the image, then closes each file, one right after the next. I come back about three hours later and everything has been automatically processed. I need only check for quality and make minor manual adjustments. Then I renumber the files, FTP to Pictage, and I'm done."
ActionRunner is fast and easy. In fact, when he's at a wedding, Davis-Hicks uses it to edit his favorite 100 images. By the time dessert is being served, he can line up an auto slideshow using ACDSee Pro and let guests view fully edited images.
[Editor's Note: The company is offering a free trial version available for download at www.davistools.com.]
Time for Giving Back
Another important part of their lives, aside from serving their clients, is building awareness for Thirst Relief International (www.thirstrelief.org). Founded in 2005 by Jim and Lara, along with two other couples—Greg and Jen Gibbs, and Gary and Karina Sammons—Thirst Relief is a nonprofit organization that saves lives by providing clean drinking water to families in need around the world.
To accomplish this, the team works in conjunction with a worldwide distribution network of humanitarian relief organizations, missionaries, churches, and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations that most often operate at the location of need.
On their most recent trip, the founders—along with wedding photographers Mike Colón and David Jay—visited Porto de Moz in the Brazilian Amazon to deliver bio-sand water filters and document the incredible need and appeal for a cure for this global crisis. Jim and Lara devote at least 40 hours a month to furthering the cause of Thirst Relief.
[Editor's note: See "Healthy Business Practice: Helping Others" in April 2006 Studio Photography, for more on the founding of Thirst Relief.]
With their full schedule, what keeps them so motivated? "We love the people in this business, our clients, and the freedom our business brings us. We have the advantage of using some of the best gear around, including Nikon cameras and Kingston Ultimate CompactFlash cards.
"I treat my clients like VIPs. Service starts the moment I hand them our handcrafted pricing packet. We love shooting weddings and helping people. We know what to do, what not to do—it feels natural. As photographers, we really enjoy bringing peace and order to situations that can be hectic. It's the best day with great fun, lots of joy, and laughter. We love the romance and passion and thrive on knowing this is our chance to catch it all."
What else are Davis and Lara planning to schedule into their busy lives? Look for new three-day seminars, plus consultation services in business practices and portfolio analysis.
And throw in at least a few trips to Indonesia and Tanzania for Thirst Relief.
For more images, visit www.davisphotographer.com.
For more on ActionRunner, visit www.davistools.com.