Photoshop actions can be a huge timesaver for the photo editing process. They can also help you to achieve looks and effects that you may not know how to accomplish from scratch. Implementing Photoshop actions into your workflow can help you work more efficiently and improve the end result. And, as a bonus, they can be a fun way to experiment.
While there are a lot of Photoshop actions available to download for free, finding the right ones can take countless hours. To save you time, we’ve put together this collection of excellent, free Photoshop actions. This way, you can get many of the best Photoshop actions without needing to dedicate hours to browsing blogs and forums.
This list includes a wide variety of actions for photo editing, from soft vintage to edgy HDR. Regardless of your preferences, you’re sure to find many that you like.
Free Photoshop Actions
Below you’ll find 100+ different actions and presets, categorized to make it easier to find what you need. The actions are grouped into the following categories. Use the links to jump to a particular group, or download them all!
- Bundles of Actions
- Sharp & Colorful Actions
- Cinematic Actions
- Warm-Toned Actions
- Cold & Dramatic Actions
- Soft/Pastel Actions
- Black & White Actions
- Sunlight Actions
- Matte Actions
- Vintage/Film-Inspired Actions
Bundles of Photoshop Actions
If you want to experiment with a variety of actions, these bundles are a great place to start. Instead of downloading actions one by one, you get a set of actions and presets in one go.
Some of the other categories include bundles as well, but those are geared towards a specific type of action. The following bundles have more variation, giving you a broader range of styles to play with.
MCP Actions offers a variety of Photoshop Actions including a set from Fusion, their most user-friendly workflow actions with beautiful color and black and white conversions.
Shutter Pulse offers 20 of their actions for free, along with 20 Lightroom presets. You can buy a lot more actions in their store, but these 20 actions are pretty cool by themselves.
This bundle from Contrastly gives you 5 Photoshop actions plus 25 Lightroom presets. If you love this pack, there are plenty more available to buy in their store.
These 14 actions from Spoon Graphics give you a mix of retro-style effects and color corrections that can transform the atmosphere of your photos. About half are vintage effects, while the other half work great with fashion photos. From “Winter Grey” to “Forest Light,” you’ll have an interesting variety of hues to work with.
Here’s another great pack from Spoon Graphics. With these 15 actions, you can really play with the color and vibrancy of your images. Some of the actions, like “Sunday Picnic,” give your photos a bright, relaxed atmosphere. Others, like “Horror Movie,” do the exact opposite. This variety gives you an easy way to experiment with tone and discover the right mood for your photos.
This final bundle from Spoon Graphics has 4 simple actions for turning your photos into realistic artworks. There’s a painted effect, a sketched effect, a watercolor effect, and an inked effect. All mimic real art styles. Of course, these effects don’t work great with every photo. But, with the right photo, you can end up with an incredible image.
If you want even more coloring options, this bundle gives you 20 actions to test out. This pack has a little less variety than the Spoon Graphics bundle, but if you’re aiming for warm, antique-like photos, you might appreciate this addition.
You get 37 actions with this bundle, all with adjustable layers. The majority are related to matte, but despite that, you still get a nice variety. Copper Sunlight, Dramatic Freckles, and High-Contrast Teal Fog are a few examples of actions worth getting in this pack.
Want to spice up your portraits? This bundle of 20 actions gives you a good batch of effects specifically for portraits. From skin smoothing to black and white actions, you’ll have a solid basis to build on.
If most of your portraits feature women, then this bundle is for you. The actions revolve around making the portrait/subject “prettier” through editing and color corrections.
Sharp & Colorful Photoshop Actions
These actions can help make your dull images look sharper and more colorful. Some add intense color or sharpness, while others are subtler. Either way, if you want your photos to stand out, try experimenting these unique effects.
Cinematic Photoshop Actions
The following actions are also in bundles, but with a cinematic theme. Each bundle focuses on getting the look of movies and TV shows, from westerns to sci-fi films. You’ll still get a variety of effects, but they’ll all have a cinematic feel.
Warm-Toned Photoshop Actions
Want to give your photos a warm, relaxed atmosphere? Or are you looking for warmer tones to improve your portraits? Whatever your goal, you might find the following effects indispensable.
Cold & Dramatic Photoshop Actions
Not all excellent photos are warm and cozy. Sometimes, to capture the true mood of a place or situation, you need cold tones and drama. While you may not use these for everyday portraits, they can be perfect for nightmarish scenes and freezing winter days.
Soft/Pastel Photoshop Actions
Flowers, children, and adorable animals are all great subjects for softening and pastel effects. Basically, whenever you want your viewers to say “Awww,” head for these actions.
Black & White Photoshop Actions
Black and white photography can be a powerful way to tell a story. However, it can also be a tricky art. Without the distraction of color, every shade and detail becomes important. To get your black and white images exactly how you want them, try editing your photos with a variety of black and white effects.
Sunlight Photoshop Actions
Sunrises, sunsets, and the midday sun all come with different vibes and lighting challenges. But, no matter what time of day it is, you can use these actions to bring your sunlit images to the next level.
Matte Photoshop Actions
Mattes are simple yet incredibly useful effects. They look fantastic with a wide range of photos, but particularly portraits. Though many mattes are subtle, they can vary significantly. Test out several of these actions to get the exact look you want.
Vintage/Film-Inspired Photoshop Actions
Though nearly everyone uses a digital camera now, the look of film photography is as popular as ever. As a result, there are countless film-inspired effects out there.
To give you an idea of what’s possible, we’ve chosen and sorted the free vintage actions into several groups. Some aim to capture the look of a specific camera, while others are more vague. Find your perfect retro style or get them all for a thorough experience of nostalgia.
Film photos require specific chemical solutions to be processed, and when you use the “wrong” chemicals, you end up with cross-processed photos. Cross-processing, or Xpro, can be an interesting and exciting technique with film, but even with digital photos, you can get part of that unique look using cross-process-themed actions.
Both Lomo cameras and cheap “toy” cameras have a distinct look that you can imitate in Photoshop. If you’re old enough to remember using either, you might get a pang of nostalgia when using these actions.
Most vintage-style effets aren’t based on a specific camera or time period. They’re inspired by film photography, but not limited by it. This flexibility has led to a wide variety of retro actions, from obvious film effects to subtle fading effects. To give you a good range of options, we’ve included all kinds of vintage effects here.
If you really love the vintage look, you can quickly get dozens of retro effects by downloading these bundles. Then, you’ll have an arsenal of vintage actions with just a few clicks.