If you’re a Mac user who uses Adobe Lightroom, or Apple Aperture and Photoshop, then you might find my Photoshop Action Pack to be a great add-on, as it allows you to add some automated Photoshop functionality to your Lightroom or Aperture workflow. In addition to facilitating more complex post-production workflows, the Action Pack allows you to create a simple procedure that allows you to easily access Photoshop functionality that is not provided in either of those other two programs. From Photoshop filters, to HDR merges, this technique makes it easy to effectively add Photoshop features to either Lightroom or Aperture.

This whole technique is dependent on the Finder’s ability to create Folder Actions, special AppleScripts that can be attached to a Folder. When you place a document in that folder, it is automatically passed to the attached script. This means that if you create a script that performs a bunch of Photoshop operations, you can easily attach that script to a folder as a Folder Action, then any image that you export into that folder will automatically be processed by the attached script. So, using Aperture or Lightroom’s Export feature, you can write files directly into your Folder Action-equipped folder, which will cause the images to be automatically processed by your script.

Writing AppleScripts for Photoshop is not how most photographers like to spend their time, but fortunately Automator makes it simple to create Folder Actions. The Photoshop Action Pack includes detailed documentation on creating Folder Actions and attaching them to a folder.

For more details on this technique, take a look at this. It’s written in terms of Aperture, but Lightroom users should be able to follow along with no problem.

Apple has done a lousy job of promoting the merits of AppleScript and Automator for photo post-production, but with a little fiddling with the Action Pack, you’ll probably find that you can easily streamline any number of day-to-day operations.