In the graphic design and photography fields, Photoshop Actions are one of the most convenient and essential resources at your disposal. With just a single click, you can transform your images into just what you wanted.
A Photoshop Action is a series of steps that are recorded that allow you to simply click a button to have all those steps performed automatically and quickly. Actions can be used for a lot of different purposes, including photo editing. There are actions that will give your photos a specific look or type of effect.
We’ve spent a lot of time searching the depths of photography and design on the web to provide you with a list of 50 free Photoshop Actions that will not only save you time but also allow you to get beautiful effects for your photos. In this collection, you’ll find:
- Vintage Effects
- Black and White Effects
- HDR Effects
- Color Enhancing Effects
- And much more
Some of these are individual actions and others are sets that include multiple actions. These actions have been created by various designers and photographers and have been made available for free download.
Keep in mind that while Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets can be extremely useful and helpful, the results will vary from one photo to the next. Not every photo will look great with every action. Experiment with them and you’ll get a good feel for which actions work best with certain types of photos.
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Free Photoshop Actions
Want to give your digital photos a look that resembles film photography? It’s easy with the help of this free action.
Here is another resource for film photography lovers. This one gives your photos and aged look as well.
Subtle matte effects can be very effective with portraits and other types of photos. Thanks to this downloadable resource, getting a nice matte look is easier than ever.
Here is another matte action that you’re sure to appreciate. This one was created especially for landscapes and nature photos (although, of course, it will work with other types of photos as well).
This action provides you some additional variety if you’re looking to give your photos a nice film look.
Fade the colors of your photos while applying a film look. This one has a slight vintage feel to it.
This action pack includes a few varieties that will add the film look to your photos.
Want to add a twist to the film look? Cross processing was originally done in the darkroom with chemicals but can now be replicated in Photoshop. This one will give you a somewhat subtle effect, but it looks great with a lot of photos.
This one also applies a cross processed effect, but desaturates the colors of your photo at the same time.
Fade the colors and apply a fairly strong cross processing effect with the help of this free Photoshop action.
Cross processing effects are also a great way to give photos a vintage or retro feel. This one was created specifically for that purpose.
This is a strong vintage look that gives your photos an orangey glow. It won’t be perfect for every photo, but with the right photo it looks great.
Quickly and easily give the colors of your photo a vintage treatment with the help of this action.
These actions give your photos a vintage feel, but with somewhat subtle effects.
This vintage action looks great with a wide variety of photos, including some landscapes like the one shown below.
Are regular vintage effects too strong for your taste? This one is much lighter and more subtle.
Give your photos a beautiful faded color look with just a click of the mouse.
This free action combines the matte look with a vintage effect. It gives your photos an aged film type of look.
This vintage action, called Glory Days, is one of our favorites. It works well with a lot of photos and is a little more subtle rather than overpowering.
Add a soft light leak with a violent tint to the side of your photos. It works well with outdoor photos of all kinds.
This is another light leak action, but with more of a vintage look. Instead of simply adding the light leak, it also applies a vintage effect to the entire photo.
Here is another option to give you a similar look to the previous action, but with some variety.
Are the colors in your photo dull or boring? If so, it’s not a problem. With just a click of the mouse, you can bring colors to life and improve your photo instantly.
This is another color pop action, this one being created with landscape and nature photos in mind.
Add some color, contrast, and even sharpness to your photos. The effect may be too strong from some photos, but if the colors were too dull to begin with, this effect can help.
Do you love the HDR look? With the help of this action, you can replicate that look with any photo. The result is a bold photo with a high dynamic range. (See more HDR Photoshop actions here.)
Here is another option when you want an HDR look. It gives you a similar effect but you can try both and see which one works best with your photo.
Easily convert any color into a bold black & white with high contrast and deep, rich blacks.
Contrast will play a large roll in determining the look of your black and white photos. This effect makes use of very high contrast to make your images pop.
The matte effect created here is used to give a black & white conversion and aged or vintage feel. Start with a color photo and convert it to this classic black & white with just a click of the mouse.
If you want black & white photos that will be noticed, this bold approach is certainly worth trying. It adds intensity to create something special rather than a boring b&w conversion.
Here is another action that gives you black & whites a slight vintage feel.
Just the right balance will give your photos a nice silver look when they’re converted to black & white.
This free action applies a cool, intense look and feel to your photos. It can be very effective in the right situation and is certainly worth trying on your own images.
This intense and dark effect will help to create photos that stand out.
Intensify will desaturate the colors and sharpen the details of your photos.
Give your outdoor photos a sunset look very easily. This also works well with photos that were taken at or around sunset but lack the pop you’re after.
Here is a really fun action that you need to try. It gives you photos a blue tint. It won’t work well with every single photo, but it can look great with the right image.
This dark action adds a lot of intensity and some mood to your photos. It’s another one that you need to try for yourself.
Give your photos a look was inspired by vintage toy cameras. Altered colors and soft edges, it’s an ideal vintage option to add to your arsenal.
Cool down the colors of your photos with the help of this free action.
This one adds some contrast and coolness that can make your photos little more bold.
Add a soft burgundy color effect to your photos very easily. It works best with outdoor photos taken in natural light, including portraits.
Easily give your photos a strong vintage feel with just a click of the mouse.
This pack gives you several different options for adjusting the colors of your photos.
Eyes are key to effective portraits and this download helps to make the eyes in your photos pop.
Add a soft colored haze effect to your photos very easily. It works best with outdoor shots captured in natural light.
Edit your forest photos in a few different ways with these strong effects.
These effects have been created specifically with food photos in mind. If you’re a food blogger, you’ll love this download.
Edit and improve your newborn photos with the help of this action.
Frequently Asked Questions
Photoshop actions are essentially scripts that carry out specific steps in Photoshop automatically. You can use actions to give your photos a certain type of effect or look, thanks to the many actions that are available for download.
Some actions, like the ones showcased here, are available for free download. Others can be purchased. Many of the websites that provide free actions also sell some premium options if you’re interested in trying them.
You’ll download an .atn file. Make sure that Photoshop is open, and then double click on the .atn file that you’ve downloaded. Photoshop will automatically install it for you.
Open the photo that you want to use it with, and go to Window > Actions to open up the palette. Then, click the folder to open the action pack, highlight the one you want to apply, and click the play button to run it.
For more free Photoshop resources, please see: