Whether you want to add vintage vibes to your photos or simply save time with automated processes, I’ve rounded up the 50 best free Photoshop actions for you.
Photoshop is a powerhouse tool for graphic designers and photographers alike, but many of its helpful processes can be time-consuming to replicate. Luckily, there are free Photoshop actions available that can help streamline your workflow and enhance your creativity.
The Best Free Photoshop Actions
1. Teeth Whitening
The bane of every portrait photographer’s existence – whitening teeth! This easy-to-use action removes the yellow tinge from a beautiful smile, so you don’t have to remove the yellow hue manually. The action will automatically transform into a brush you paint on the teeth.
2. Frequency Separation – Blurring Skin
Frequency separation is an editing technique that professional portrait photographers tend to use. This method separates the skin texture from skin color, making it easier (and more realistic) to edit out imperfections.
This particular action does the frequency separation technique automatically but applies more of a blurring effect on the skin’s texture. The skin will still look like skin, but the texture will be very soft, with shadows lightened.
3. Frequency Separation – Smoothening Skin
Similar to blurring skin (as the same company makes this action!), smoothening skin retains more texture than blurring it. I think this action is fantastic for oily skin as it smooths out the reflective highlights.
I recommend downloading both frequency separation actions and seeing which works best for your photograph!
4. Frequency Separation – Removing Pimples
Pimples and other such skin discrepancies can be troublesome to figure out how to remove for many photographers, especially new ones. The redness must be corrected to a more natural skin tone, and the bumpiness must be smoothed out.
This action does both simultaneously and manifests into a nice little brush tool to apply the effect wherever you need it.
5. Warm Matte
Matte has become such a popular (and beautiful) editing style, but adjusting tone curves every time to achieve the look can be a hassle. The Warm Matte action adjusts the tone curve for you, resulting in a beautiful moody image.
The warmth can actually be turned on or off in this action, so you can also utilize this freebie solely for its matte impact. This action truly is like magic, applying a perfect matte no matter the exposure.
6. Sunkissed Action
Aptly named ‘sunkissed,’ this action adds a beautiful golden hour effect to any photograph. As it may not always be possible to get that beautiful golden hour shot due to timing or weather, this free action aims to replicate that golden color gradient.
7. Color Pop
A big bonus to Photoshop actions is that they can help with creative vision if you feel like an image is missing something but can’t quite put your finger on what. A subtle action such as Color Pop can do just the trick, aiming to intensify the existing colors in your photo.
8. Dark and Haunted
For a spooky flare, the action collection Dark and Haunted offers various options to make photos look more gothic in tone. Playing on the blue tones and darkened shadows, the set acts as a variety pack of different horror-esque editing styles.
9. Sweet Cupid Tinted B&W
For a feminine touch on sepia imagery, the Sweet Cupid Tinted B+W action will surely hit the spot. Essentially a pink-toned black-and-white image, this action softens many of the shadows and adds a nice matte look to the photo.
10. Watercolor Art
Recently there has been a rise in unique editing styles, with photographers finding new ways to reinvigorate their old photos. This watercolor effect action from FixThePhoto does just that, adding a beautifully painted touch to your photo! This artistic expression can breathe new life into an old shot.
11. Orange and Teal
Specific color combinations just go hand in hand like a perfect marriage, and teal and orange are one of them. By toning the blues into a teal hue and the warm tones in spectacular oranges, this striking color grading can attract a lot of attention.
Classic sepia is a nostalgic touch on photography, and this action adds a recognizable yellow tone. To better match old photographs, this action also adjusts the highlights and shadows to fit an aged image better.
13. Pastel Effects
Pastel colors change the feel of an image tremendously, as well as its interpretation to a viewer. This action batch offers a large variety of pastel and muted tones, to color-grade your photo in a particular manner. The extensive array in this bundle is beneficial as color grading actions don’t always fit every image perfectly – here, you have 40 options to choose from!
14. Retro Vintage
The beauty of retro art is the bold pops of color, causing a very recognizable color cast. This Photoshop action helps tint your images in this nostalgic style, showing a brand-new view of your photo.
15. 2-Strip Technicolor
2-strip technicolor was once a trendy way to create color photography. Invented in 1921, this recognizable type of technicolor thrived on bright, almost neon-esque colors and cold-tone shadows. This action from Brusheezy instantly color grades your photos to appear as if they came straight out of a two-color subtractive camera.
16. Fairy Action
A little touch of pink can add so much whimsy to a photograph! This action softens your entire image, adding a touch of matte while toning everything with a beautiful soft pink. This action works great for desserts and other cute pictures.
17. Cross Processing – City
Cross-processing refers to a technique in which a photographer intentionally processes film with the wrong chemicals to create a unique color response. Although Photoshop actions apply to digital images, the effect can be mimicked with clever color adjustment.
This particular cross-processing action from FixThePhoto adds a lot of depth and tonality to urban photographs, making them much more interesting to look at.
18. Desert Dust
Like the Fairy action, the Desert Dust from Brusheezy adds a warm yellow tone to your photographs. This is an especially awesome action to use on images that are heavy in pinks and purples as the color tones come out gorgeous.
19. Facebook Fix
This unique action on the list doesn’t actually change anything about your photograph; it preserves the image’s quality for a proper upload to Facebook. Facebook compresses and pixelates images to fit within their size format.
This action aims to remedy that by automatically adjusting your image to the proper size and format for Facebook so that the result is not modified by the platform.
20. Reduce Motion Blur
Another unusual action on my list, this one corrects motion shake that could arise from using a slower shutter speed. With slow shutter speeds, even the slightest breeze could cause motion blur – this action sharpens and clarifies everything so that the motion blur is no longer there.
21. Instant Hipster
Rightfully named, this action boldly modifies colors for a hipster / Polaroid-style appearance! Although this action can be too intense for some photographs, adding it in a new layer and adjusting the intensity with the opacity slider does the trick nicely.
HDR, short for High Dynamic Range, aims to bring out detail and depth across all your exposures. Basically, you are exposing correctly for your shadows, highlights, and midtones all at once (something that isn’t possible straight off the camera in a single shot).
Although there are many different ways to do HDR, such as stacking multiple exposures, this action can add an HDR effect to any single shot. The benefit of this action over the other HDR options out there is that it specifically corrects discrepancies in your gray / midtones.
23. Bella Action
Another sweet and feminine color grade on the list, this one mattifies photos with yellow and orange colors. The result is a soft and warm image.
24. Vintage Camera Light Leaks
Light leaks are flare discrepancies in an image This could be caused by light hitting the camera at a bad angle, light being too bright at a scene, a sensor problem, or an old film that has been left out too long. Some photographers love them, and others hate them, but if you’re of the former type, this action is undoubtedly for you.
After taking a photograph without a light leak or other flare problem, you can add that look (in a non-destructive manner) with this action batch.
25. Light Leaks (Option Two)
This light leak action is more akin to old cameras than the one I mentioned right before, but having both means you can create quite a variety of leaks!
26. Hard Lomo
The Lomo was a type of camera developed in Russia, resulting in images known as Lomography. This was a 35mm camera with a very distinct look, primarily because the camera was very minimally able to be adjusted as it featured a fixed lens, one shutter speed, and manual focusing.
The film had to be manually advanced after each shot was taken, resulting in a lot of flaws in the photographs. Many artists felt like these flaws added character and flare to the photos, and as such, this action was born.
27. Polanoid Generator
Although one could technically go buy a Polaroid camera and take some instant photos, this action allows you to replicate the effect with your digital pictures. It even comes with Polaroid frames!
28. Old Photograph
Similar to the reason the other retro, vintage, and old photograph actions have been featured in this list, this action also aims to replicate this feeling. However, this particular old photograph action is rather unique in the colors it is able to pull out of your photograph, so it certainly deserves a spot here.
29. Old And Dirty (Sepia)
Another sepia action on the list, this one is much more in the orange tones than the yellow option presented earlier. Plus, this action does wonders with contrast and creates a nice bold feel.
30. Powder Explosion
Although many Photoshop actions tend to circle around color grading or speeding up a workflow, this free action actually creates a unique effect! Although it can take a second to get used to it, the powder explosion action lets you tell the program where you want the powder to generate from, and the action then does the rest.
This is especially useful for new editors who may not yet know how to do these kinds of effects or those on a time crunch who simply don’t want to deal with the manual labor involved.
31. Greater Than Gatsby Set
A series of various editing actions, the Greater Than Gatsby set is like a variety pack and trial for this website’s paid actions. A great starting point for any photo editor, the actions within the bundle range in use from newborn photography all the way to portraits and weddings! This action set encompasses many popular styles, so there is certainly no reason not to try it.
Whether you’re into video games or not, it is hard to deny the aesthetic effect the game Cyberpunk had on art as a whole. Bold colors and futuristic influence has run wild in the visual world, and this action helps bring your photographs to relevance within this style.
33. Cinema Effect
Mimicking a movie’s color grading style really helps push a photo’s storytelling element. There is a reason this style is so effective in film, so why not add it to stills? This action boldens your highlights, shadows, and contours to add that cinema feel to any image.
34. Double Exposure
Double exposures are when two images are overlaid on top of each other. Once upon a time, this happened because you forgot to swap the film before taking a second shot! Today, we need to do a bit of photo editing magic to make it happen. This action helps you blend two images effectively.
35. Double Color Exposure
The double color exposure you see here is a unique twist on the classic double exposure, adding two complementary colors to the mix. An excellent action for graphic designers or those looking to create some pop art with their photos!
As the name implies, this action adds a creamy color scheme and feeling to a photograph. Images look a bit more matte and soft while adding the beautiful neutral tint. A great option for animal photography!
37. Corrupted VHS
If you remember the good old days of VHS, then you probably also remember what happens if the VHS is not well cared for. This action mimics that look, adding neon edges and an overall glitchy feel. Great for Halloween photos!
Similar to the Cream and other color-heavy grading actions, this one adds even more of a yellow tinge to the photographs. An excellent choice to show off some sweet treats.
39. Hyper Glass
This incredible action makes it appear as if your subject is behind wet glass – something very unique. There are a lot of creative uses for an action like this, and the effect is so realistic!
40. Double Exposure
Although we do have two other double-exposure actions on the list, this one does it a bit differently! The double exposures produced by the FixThePhoto website have a lot of contrast and tonality to them.
Although Photoshop does have its own set of sharpening tools, they don’t always work out very well. This action helps sharpen images in a more intelligent manner without much of your own manual effort – speeding up your workflow tremendously.
42. Pencil Sketch
Ever wanted to see your photograph as a graphite drawing? Now you can! This clever action can turn any photograph into a pencil sketch, and it does so without any effort from you.
43. Tiny Planet
A fun effect that does something very unusual, the Tiny Planet action rotates your image into itself to create, well, a tiny planet. Lots of creative ways to utilize this, or at the least, it’s entertaining!
44. Green Shadow
Landscape photographers, rejoice! This beautiful color grading brings green and liveliness back to landscape photography. Plus, the blue-toned mountain ranges are a beautiful addition.
45. Instagram – Light
Instagram has definitely impacted the editing game, primarily regarding clients and what they expect. This action replicates the style of one of the more popular Instagram filters, helping influence the aesthetic in digital photography with ease.
Infrared photography is when you capture infrared in a photograph (basically, an image of near-infrared light in the 700-1200 nm range). This results in leaves that look white or pink, unique sky colors, and other such effects.
Although it is possible to capture infrared photography in-camera, that requires a permanent modification of your camera sensor, and not many photographers want to do that. Luckily, this action exists to replicate the effect!
The autumn season truly comes with its own sights, smells, and weather, all of which can be evoked with the right colors in a photograph. This action reddens everything up, helping push that feeling of Fall.
48. Brighten Eyes
Eyes are the windows to the soul and also the first thing a viewer notices about a photograph. This action brightens eyes in a very organic and realistic manner, ensuring that is the first place someone looks.
49. Black and White
Although there are hundreds of Black and White actions out there, this particular one from FixThePhoto is worthy of a try! This action handles shadows like a pro, creating a lot of beautiful contrast and depth without getting too dark.
Dispersion in this context is when it appears as if particles of an image are being dispersed across the frame. This unique look can add a lot of visual interest and unique character to a photo, kind of like doing a special effect on a video! This action targets the most primarily seen colors of your subject and disperses them across the image.