” I didn’t notice when I was shooting them, but when I opened them on the computer, I noticed”
This is something I still struggle with, but it’s something you REALLY need to work at. I know for me I always feel this unwarranted pressure to hurry up and get the shots, and that I shouldn’t take any extra time, like it’s unprofessional. I know this isn’t true in my head, and that if I took an extra five minutes the client won’t care ( generally) to get the right show, but I panic anyway. I’m working on slowing down and making my environment work for me.
Also actions are great, but you need to know that they are the start of the editing process, not the end all. It’s not a magic button to push and then be done, you have to tweek them. If your using lightroom presets ( actions) that’s near impossible, and i wouldn’t recommend it. Photoshop actions though are highly editable ( is that a word?) and a great starting point. I’m not sure in elements, but I think it works on the same layer system as Photoshop, also look up masking techniques in youtube. There are a ton of resources on youtube, utilize it!