Don't forget that the 30% off sale from Alien Skin Software ends on the 30th! Their latest release is the Exposure X Bundle, which integrates all of their photography apps into one awesome package including Brushes for masking!
Plugins can be insanely powerful additions to your creative arsenal, but you can use them as little or as much as you want! For me, I barely scratch the surface of what most can do, and that's just because i'm set in my retouching ways haha and for me it's all about speeding things up. This is why I love using Exposure for my color grading and final touches. While I _can_ do everything in photoshop, it's just soooo much faster for me to have built a few presets in Alien Skin to achieve the looks I know I want!
For instance, here's a new image of the awesome Oneisha shot in San Diego.
At this point i've already done my "retouching" and it's only a matter of stylizing the image. so this is where we load up Alien Skin Exposure to do the heavy lifting!
Now there's a tone of presets already made in here, but for this we're using a recent "warm toned" stylization that i've been using. With just a couple of quick adjustments to line up with where my subject is in the image, and i've got my stylized look of choice!
It's subtle, but with the before/after split screen you can see i've got the look I want. Yes I can achieve the same thing in photoshop, but with this i can save a few presets and have it ready to roll and choose in an instant.