What is a Photoshop Action?
Everyone loves a shortcut, and photographers are no different. Photoshop Actions were invented to help make image editing easier.
Rather than editing your photos for hours, free Photoshop Actions can correct them or apply effects in a single click – they automate routine tasks, and can add special effects at a stroke. They’re magic fixes that are useful to have on hand, as you can always go deeper and edit them further.
If you're a Lightroom user, the nearest equivalent is presets, so check out our list of the best free Lightroom presets too.
Here is our round-up of some of the best free Photoshop Actions to download in 2021. And if you don't have Photoshop already, find out how to try out and download Photoshop for free
1. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Sun Kissed
Let's kick off this Photoshop action extravaganza with the perfect set for creating beautiful summery images. These sunny effects will bring lots of warmth to your image and and are great for vintage styles.
2. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Shutterpulse HDR
HDR can be controversial in the photography world. Some people adore its clarity, while others think it verges on the side of tacky. Regardless of your view, this ShutterPulse effort is top class and can be used to create a subtle effect as well as a fantastically dramatic look.
3. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Color
Color can be considered one of the most important aspects of photography, which is why a set of actions that help hone and control your hues can be so helpful. With this action pack you can splash any shade onto your shot to completely transform your photos in an instant.
4. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Cross Process
Cross-process, or x-pro for anyone more familiar with Instagram, is a very in-vogue effect at the moment. Luckily, this is one of the best cross-process action packs you'll find on the internet right now - and the fact that it's free makes it even better.
5. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Glitch
For photo editors seeking a fun and futuristic effect, this glitch pack is a great novelty to experiment with. It's simple yet colorful, and can be masked over certain parts of your image if you want to hone your effect even further.
6. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Halftone
Continuing the wacky effects theme, this halftone action can provide you with a printed, dotty pattern overlay that's perfect for creating a comic book effect. However, this action is also adjustable, making it a useful alternative for adding noise to your images.
7. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Lomo
Almost everyone seems to love Lomography-inspired filters, so if you enjoy vintage effects on your photos then you'll definitely want to download this action. This subtle adjustment instantly gives your shots a defined style that'll make them instantly recognizable.
8. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Carbonium B&W
This classy set of actions produces beautiful monochrome with clear contrast and gorgeous tone. While you do need to create an account in order to access these actions, they're perfect for your black and white snaps and easy to tweak.
9. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Vintage Light Leak
This vintage light leak action evokes the mystique of an analogue camera without losing any of the quality of digital. It's a great option to experiment with - either as a final finish or to build on with adjustments.
10 Best Free Photoshop Actions: Greater Than Gatsby
This pack of actions come as a bundle of Greater Than Gatsby's best from across their sets. There are vintage, portrait and radiant actions included, and they're a great springboard to help you discover more styles.
11. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Landscape Photo
Landscapes can be some of the hardest photos to edit, as they require boosts in color and contrast with a degree of subtlety. These actions are a great starting point and can help inject some feeling into your sprawling vistas.
12. Best Free Photoshop Actions: 2-Strip Technicolor
Split tone effects can be really powerful and this pack can create just that effect. They're adept at adding warmth and can be reduced in opacity, should you wish to strip the effect back slightly.
13. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Desert Dust
Vintage shots are part and parcel of modern photography, and this desert dust action is one of the most nostalgic-looking around. It's good for summery images and can evoke the past with just a click.
14. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Break Of Day
Break of Day is a light leak action, strictly speaking, but it's so subtle that it doesn't really seem it. It just throws a gentle golden tone over the corner of your image, making it pretty versatile for your pictures.
15. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Abbey Road
This free pack is perfect for nature shots, keeping your contrast sharp and your saturation deep. It contains a PSD too for even more control.
16. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Charming
For a warm, vintage look with a tint of purple, download the 'Charming' action. Perfect for landscapes, portraits, cityscapes and more, this is a super versatile action with a beautifully retro vibe.
17. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Portrait
This portrait action is a desaturating, slightly sharpening fix for your portraits to really bring the tone to the fore. Use it as an overlaying layer itself for an HDR effect.
18. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Red Lips
Exactly what it says on the tin, this action will help you correct all kinds of model shots. Why not think outside the box and see what else you can turn red with this action?
19. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Purple Night
This action is a gorgeous cross-process style effect that can really deepen your images and transform the darker colors in your image. It's great for retro photos but can be reduced in opacity and used as a split tone-style effect.
20. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Create Snow
Guess what this one does? Since the weather never does what it's asked to do, this action can come in very handy when it comes to giving wintery images that added touch of pizazz. Just note that you'll need to subscribe to their YouTube channel in order to access this action (a handy one-click button is provided).
21. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Retro Style Filters
You can never have too many retro filters for your images, and this pack contains a complete range from the old school brown overlay to the color pop of a toy camera.
22. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Hard Lomo
Another retro-inspired pack, this set can create a vignette around your photos. A useful effect for any kind of image, retro or otherwise.
23. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Thinking Of You
This action is great for injecting a splash of purple in the darker tones of your image to give it a boost of color. We find that it has a bit of a Lomography feel, but you can also tone it down to create wonderfully subtle effects.
24. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Black White
Black and white actions can be tricky, as you can often come away with either too much contrast or not enough. Luckily, this action strikes the perfect balance, creating a beautiful mono conversion that retains the mid-tone grays perfectly.
25. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Unspoken
If you love capturing smoke bomb photos, then you'll certainly want to try out this action. This effect will give a subtle blue tint to your photo and a lovely softening effect to the scene. It also renders blacks as dark browns, giving some warmth to your shadows to contrast with the cold highlights.
26. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Hipster Rev
For big, bold colors that draw immediate attention to your photos, try Hipster Rev. These retro effects may be a little niche, but they're a great way to experiment with your own personal editing style.
27. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Comics
Ever wanted to turn your photos into comic-book like images? If so, this cool and clever Photoshop Action is for you.
28. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Dream Blur
A soft glow can often complete an image, and it's really easy to apply with this action. It combines a simple vignette with a touch of vibrancy for that titular dreamlike effect. We find that it works with most images.
29. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Black And White
For monochrome enthusiasts, this set of black and white actions contains an interesting array of black and white filters for your images. From high to low contrast, this set of actions gives you ultimate control over your mono shots.
30. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Lithprint
Complete with grainy texture, this lithograph action is great to recreate that classic printed effect - plus, it's really simple to apply. It doesn't take out too much detail from your image and we find that it works particularly well with scenic shots.
31. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Double Exposure
Capture perfect double exposure photos without having to mess around with your camera settings on your shoots. This action enables you to create double exposures using different techniques in different intensities in just one simple click - a total time saver!
32. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Light Leak
A free sample from a set of 36 light leaks, this action enables you to add a stunning light leak effect to your images. Mimic golden hour with this beautiful effect, or simply add a pop of color to your photo.
33. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Action 2
If it's a lovely, subtle warmth that you're after, then look no further. This action is simple, strong and comes with a vignette to help draw immediate attention to your photo.
34. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Infrared
Infrared photography is a great way to get experimental with your photography, but how do you edit those photos? Luckily, this Photoshop action helps to add contrast and hone the hues of your infrared photo.
35. Best Free Photoshop Actions: High Key
Portraits suit high key edits particularly well, but it can be tricky to strike the right balance and prevent over-exposure. This action is a fantastic way to control your high key editing and have fun with your exposure.
36. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Nightmare
If you've been shooting on a cold, gloomy day, one of the best things you can do is emphasize the moody effect by desaturating colors and increasing shadows. This action is perfect for this, so give it a download and experiment with some moody and dramatic editing.
37. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Silver
Black and white is great and all that, but the real beauty of monochrome lies in the grey, right? This desaturating action focuses on the grays and silvers of your image - as the name suggests - without washing out the contrast in the slightest.
38. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Polaroid
Yes, lots of the actions in this list promise to give you a retro finish, but only this one can frame your images in an Insta-like frame.
39. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Go Boom
Go Boom doesn't just boost color in your images; it liberally sprays them with every hue you can think of. With tints of blue, pink, yellow and green, this is the most technicolor light leak effect you'll find on the internet.
40. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Dramatic Sepia
Sepia is a forgotten art, and this particular pack is great for splashing a rustic brown over your picture without it feeling too dreary and old-fashioned. We find that this is a top choice for architectural photos.
42. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Skin Retouching
Every portrait needs a little healing and brushing and this pack contains everything you need to make that as painless as possible in Photoshop. These are based on the tools the professionals use, but the effects are completed in mere seconds.
42. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Teeth Whitening
Don't worry, it's not just teeth that this action works well on. Brighten up anything - buildings, dresses, even piano keys - and turn murky brown-tinted grays to stunning white in seconds.
43. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Summer Haze
If you're looking for a summertime feeling but can't quite bear the brashness of a light leak, look no further. This action is warm and soft without the overbearing color effect.
44. Best Free Photoshop Actions: My First Action Set
The name may suggest that this pack reeks of amateurism, but there are some extreme effects here that you can no doubt finesse further in Photoshop. Try some of these in your HDR images and reduce opacity for striking clarity...
45. Best Free Photoshop Actions: HDR Tools
...and if you'd like your HDR to be ready made, then maybe stick with this. There are various levels of effect too, depending on how severe you'd like the effect.
46. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Skin Glow
It's a juggling act to make skin glow without it losing any of its detail. This action toes the line perfectly and can be a great effect for portraits.
47. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Pack
These colorful effects feel very Polaroid without being overly generic. They're good for portraits but can give your landscapes a wonderfully sunny feel.
48. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Bella
This action has a rose gold quality about it and is a good pick for anyone looking to inject a touch of warmth into their photos. It's soft without losing quality and enhances reds and pinks.
49. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Wedding Enhancers Kit
If you're a wedding photographer, you're going to want to get your hands on this. White dresses are brightened, idyllic scenery given more vibrancy and a touch of warm is applied in this effect.
50. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Burnt Edges
A different kind of vignette, this action can touch black around the edges of your images without creating a circular focus, while reducing your shot to black and white.
51. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Quality Photo Effects
These 14 actions contain Red Haze, Action Movie and Retro Camera; there's something for any photo here, and as the name suggests, they're great quality.
52. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Color Grading
Everything you've ever wanted to color grade is simple to fix with this pack. With a range of classy options too, these make great split tone effects.
53. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Creative Portrait
Sort your portraits with this effect pack, which includes adjustments and edits to get the best out of your models.
54. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Mini Fusion
With exposure fixes and simple tints, this action is a simple but useful effect for the more subtle edits that you make in your photos. If you just want to fix tone and inject color, this is the action for you.
55. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Matte
If you want to add instant style to your images, this is the action for you. With slick, lifted shadows and gently muted highlights, the Matte action gives your photos a whole new look without making drastic changes to the colors within them.
56. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Ice
With so many stunning warm filters, there are fewer top quality cold effects for your images. This is one that can give a beautiful coolness to your images and leave the subjects smoldering - even if they are big cats.
57. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Photoshop Action 2
For a classy, blue-tinted finish, this action is great for portraits and dark images a-like. It tones your shots nicely, with a warm orange injected too for good measure.
58. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Vintage
These simple color filters are fairly basic but fun effects for you to try out. They're great for social media and can switch your tone up nicely.
59. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Color 024
One of a wide Color collection from Primaluce, this is our pick: an interesting Action that's useful for both landscapes and portraits.
60. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Bright Eyes
They say that the eyes are a window to the soul. Brightening eyes up is a must for any portrait, and this action is great for increasing the vibrancy and exposure without altering the color.
61. Best Free Photoshop Actions: High Def Sharpening
Keep your photos sharp and clean with this effect; it's equally great for portraits, still life and landscapes, and can deliver a better focus to your images.
62. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Retro
You can never have too many retro actions; this one is capable of an almost burned feel and gives an almost 70s vintage with its brown tint.
63. Best Free Photoshop Actions: Action 11
If you like your retro effect with a touch of bright saturation, this is the one for you. Pinks are supercharged here, while a soft fade illuminates the rest of your image.
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