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The best free Photoshop plugins for photographers: 52 to choose from!

free Photoshop plugins
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Adobe Photoshop is widely considered as the go-to piece of software for photographers and the industry standard for creative editing. However, while its extensive suite of functions is undeniably impressive, there are some things you can't do with the native software alone. Luckily, we've compiled this list of the 52 best free Photoshop plugins to help make your editing workflow as simple and easy as possible.

From reducing noise in your photos, to browsing free stock images without ever having to leave Photoshop, there should be plenty of free plugins in this list to suitably tickle your fancy. 

If you're a Lightroom user instead, why not check out our list of the best free Lightroom presets.

More: Free Photoshop templates for photographers

1. Best free Photoshop plugins: Texture Anarchy

Texture Anarchy from Digital Anarchy is a set of Adobe Photoshop filters for creating textures and borders. The Texture Anarchy filters create both 2D and 3D  textures. The textures are procedural textures based on fractal noise, which can be helpful for natural images like fire, smoke, clouds, and marble. 

The palettes for lighting, layers, fractal noise and color gradients make up building blocks for the textures. It has color wells and gradients to generate different color combinations, and they have a selection of blend modes that set how the patterns and colors interact with each other.

Download here

2. Best free Photoshop plugins: Super PNG

SuperPNG is a handy open-source Photoshop plug-in specifically for using with PNG files. It has more comprehensive support for the format than Photoshop's included plug-in and provides control over alpha-channel handling. It includes the additional options for saving PNGs:

• Alpha channel control
• Variable Compression
• Smart Quantization
• ICC profile embedding
• Metadata saving

Download here

3. Best free Photoshop plugins: HDR Tools

(Image credit: HDR Tools)

HDR Tools is designed to remove the "digital grey" (the lack of contrast, or true black) that comes with HDR photography. Creator Forfie found that when using the HDR technique the contrast would become very flat. He created HDR Tools to boost the blacks and erase the "digital grey" effect in your HDR imagery.

Download here

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4. Best free Photoshop plugins: Layrs Control 2

Layrs is designed to help you keep your workspace nice and tidy, and speed up your workflow in a few key areas, with a click of a button. Its functions include deleting all unused effects on all selected layers, deleting all empty layers, flatten all effects on selected layers, rasterize every layer, make every selected layer an individual smart object, and find files and folders with similar names. Used right, this plugin should save a lot of time and effort, especially in complex documents with a large number of layers and effects.

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5. Best free Photoshop plugins: Pexels

The Pexels plugin gives you access to Pexels' extensive library of stock photos from within Photoshop, which should help your workflow considerably.

You can browse through the suggested categories, popular photos or the most recent pictures to get inspiration and to find the perfect shot for your project, from among over 30,000 pictures on the Pexels database.

The photos you like on the Pexels website will be synced with the Photoshop plugin and vice versa. You can like photos to remember them for later.

Download here

6. Best free Photoshop plugins: Ink

Ink is a Photoshop plugin that helps you by providing a few extra pieces of important information about your mockups by documenting your layers, from typography to effects and shape sizes. The latest edition now features artboard support.

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7. Best free Photoshop plugins: Tych Panel

Tych Panel is an extension for Adobe Photoshop that automates the creation of diptychs and triptychs. It supports an arbitrary number of layouts using a row/column compositing paradigm. Together with a handy panel interface, Tych Panel is a very good diptych, tripych & ntych automation tool.

Download here

8. Best free Photoshop plugins: Auto FX GRFX Studio Pro 

Previously packaged as individual plugins, Auto FX has updated its offering to a single pro photo-editing package called Studio Pro, aimed to cut down photo-editing times with a suite of tools and presets to quickly apply to photos, along with a host of other functions. You can get a free 15-day trial of GRFX Studio Pro.

Download here

9. Best free Photoshop plugins: Griddify

Griddify is a very small and quite unusual pluging for Photoshop. This fast plugin helps you compose custom grid systems, vertical rhythm, and help you with guides in several other ways in Photoshop.

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10. Best free Photoshop plugins: Denoiser

Ximagic Denoiser is a Photoshop plugin for image noise reduction. It provides seven different methods for noise reduction, including Median, Gauss, Wavelets (DWT), Wavelets (CWT), DCT, NLM and Anisotropic diffusion. Each method tackles a different quality of noise to help improve the image quality in your photo. 

Download here

11. Best free Photoshop plugins: FX Box

The FX Box acts as a library and is the basic requirement to load and work with the Orange Box's latest Photoshop FX Tools. Once you've installed the plugin, all of the tools can be loaded into the library and removed again easily without the need to restart Photoshop. 

You can load as many tools and effects from The Orange Box as you want and simply switch between them using this plugin.

Download here

12. Best free Photoshop plugins: Free Mockups

Easy Mockups is a plugin that's designed to help automate iOS design presentation. It allows you to choose from predesigned mockups, background and artwork layers and then it will automate a design for you. 

This plugin comes with 10 unique high-resolution mockups to choose from, so you have plenty of designs to play around with for your project.

Download here

13. Best free Photoshop plugins: 3D Shadow creator

This handy tool easily creates various types of 3D shadows from objects such as letters, numbers, shapes and more. All settings are present in a single window – transparency level, perspective, shadow color and position, X/Y/Z angles, and some others. The plugin is simple to use and provides fairly sophisticated results for a free tool.

Download here

14. Best free Photoshop plugins: Curves

The Curves 3 plugin enables you to apply a curve with easily controllable shape characteristics. With only three parameters (contrast, brightness, bias), you can easily retouch your photos in just a few seconds. 

To help make your editing process even easier, eight thumbnails will show you different suggested presets that you can choose with a click.

Download here

15. Best free Photoshop plugins: BW Conversion

You can find a lot of black-and-white conversion plugins, but this one has a powerful set of controls and features. It gives you total control over the tonal response of  Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Magenta, and the intermediate hues. 

You can boost each color's tonal response all the way up to white or limit it down to black, without affecting the other colors at all. The plugin comes with presets that simulates the tonal response of popular black-and-white films, and you can add a grain effect through it too. You can even save the settings in parameter files for future use.

Download here

16. Best free Photoshop plugins: ASCII Art

As its name may suggest, this Photoshop plugin will generate Ascii art from the preview image. It does this by converting the image file into an ASCII text file and mapping heavier toned Ascii characters to darker areas and lighter toned Ascii characters to brighter areas. For instance, the character ‘#’ maps to a darker color while the character ‘.’ maps to a brighter color.

While this is admittedly niche, this is a fun little plugin to enable you to try some creative experimentations with your photos.

Download here

17. Best free Photoshop plugins: Plug-in Switch

With hundreds of plugin filters now available, it can become impossible to navigate through your plugin collection. You'll soon find that it becomes essential to have an easy way to organize all the installed files.

This utility was developed in order to help users disable Photoshop filters on a temporary basis and re-enable them again when needed, without having to completely uninstall the plug-ins each time. 

Download here

18. Best free Photoshop plugins: Local contrast enhancement

This plugin's main purpose is to draw out detail in an image. This is done by increasing the contrast between a pixel's value and the mean value of the adjacent pixels in a local area of the photo. This plugin enables you to control the amount of contrast, the size of the local area and the amount of blending with the original photo. 

Download here

19. Best free Photoshop plugins: Fractal Flames

Fractal Flames is an Adobe Photoshop plugin based on fractal work created by Scott Draves in 1992. Aside from boasting fast, multithreaded processing combined with 16-bits / channel high-color support, Fractal Flames offers a number of additional sophisticated features. 

It provides full control over all six fractal coefficients resulting in a virtually unlimited number of different possible fractal combinations. It features 24 of the most popular Fractal Flames functions developed by Scott Draves with full toggle, enable, disable and random selection.

Download here

20. Best free Photoshop plugins: Selective Saturation

Sometimes you can find that parts of a photo may require a saturation adjustment, but others don't. If we increase the saturation of the entire picture, then the most saturated parts will get oversaturated. Similarly, if we decrease the saturation globally, then the less saturated parts will become undersaturated.

In situations like this, we need a Saturation Mask based on the individual pixel saturation so that we can adjust it solely where it's needed. Unfortunately, Photoshop doesn't provide a fast and straightforward way to create a saturation mask like it does for brightness masks.

Luckily, Selective Saturation enables the user to define a Saturation Zone by setting its centre and range with two sliders. This means that every saturation adjustment will only affect the parts of the photo where the saturation value that lies in the specified saturation zone.

Download here

21. Best free Photoshop plugins: Flaticon

(Image credit: Flaticon)

Ever needed to quickly find an icon for a project and have been totally stymied by frustrating image search engines and an overabundance of useless results? Luckily, that won't be a problem with Flaticon - the plugin that lets you quickly find all the icons you need for your project without having to leave Photoshop. 

Download here

22. Best free Photoshop plugins: High Pass Sharpening

This plugin sharpens photos with the high pass method. The user can also adjust the high pass filter radius, and control the blending with the original image. 

A high pass output preview is also available to help the user adjust the filter radius up to the point the edges to be sharpened show up. High pass sharpening is generally considered to produce less haloing and other sharpening artifacts than USM.

Download here

23. Best free Photoshop plugins: Halftone Pattern

Halftone is a plugin for Adobe Photoshop that simulates halftone imagery through the use of dots. Halftone is a filter that can be applied to images or can be used to generate masks with.

This version of Halftone is improved and simplified from previous ones. It has had most previous features stripped out and only the most important ones have been kept. It has been re-coded from scratch with a completely different algorithm that now handles antialiasing without the use of supersampling so it is noticeably faster.

Halftone converts an image to black and white, using the pixel intensity to define the dot size. Halftone works on black and white images as well as full-color ones.

Download here

24. Best free Photoshop plugins: Magic Enhancer Lite

Magic Enhancer helps you improve your photos by adjusting lightness, contrast and color balance. The color temperature control helps to fix color balance defects easily. The plug-in has a user-friendly interface that lets you keep an eye on the result via the histogram. 

If you love using Magic Enhancer, you can go on to invest in a paid-for version of the software that houses additional features.

Download here

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25. Best free Photoshop plugins: Lens Correction

This plugin corrects the barrel and pincushion distortions that many zoom camera lenses produce. To use this piece of software, simply move the sliders to the left to correct barrel distortion, and to the right to correct pincushion distortion.

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26. Best free Photoshop plugins: Absolute Color

Absolute Color is based on a hue wheel subdivided into six sectors of 60 degrees each. Using the plugin, you can choose a sector to restrict all the tints within an image to that sector.

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27. Best free Photoshop plugins: Gradient Blur

This plugin applies a gradient blur that can help you focus an image onto its main subject. You can control the blur's starting position and strength through using the sliders provided. A preview mask can be displayed, and you can choose between a horizontal, vertical and radial blur.

Download here

28. Best free Photoshop plugins: Freeware Boundary Noise Reduction

The freeware version of the Boundary Noise Reduction plugin enables you to remove noise from DSLR images and film scans. In some ways, it can be considered an improvement on the noise reduction tool you can natively find in Photoshop.

The filter comes bundled with a Smooth Area Detector. You can use this accessory filter with the suggested actions included in a downloadable zip file. There is also a paid-for commercial version of this software available with more features included.

Download here

29. Best free Photoshop plugins: Local Equalization

This plugin processes a local equalization of the luminosity of every pixel, with a matrix of 17x17 pixels. 

From an artistic point of view, local equalization can be interesting if you wish to stress the aspect of a given texture, and can provide a highly creative result. However, this process can be also used to analyze an image where certain details are barely perceptible.

Download here

30. Best free Photoshop plugins: Soft Focus

This simple plugin applies a soft focus effect, which is often useful in portraits or fashion photography. It has controls to adjust the softness, the overall strength of the effect and the blending mode of the overlaid blurred image.

Download here

31. Best free Photoshop plugins: HSL Plus

HSL Plus 2 is similar to the traditional hue/saturation/luminosity balance tool, but it comes jam-packed with some additional functions, including:

• Better color integrity, especially for the luminosity
• Better control of the luminosity, notably the possibility of modifying contrast
• The ability to adjust chroma components separately
• The possibility to set an automatic contrast (with the Auto button) 

Download here

32. Best free Photoshop plugins: Fotomatic

Fotomatic is a collection of 8 plug-in filters for use with Adobe Photoshop or compatible host applications (32-bit hosts only).

Hi-Spot creates high contrast black and white photos. 

G-Force gives you some traditional monochromatic grain effects, similar to using "fast" B&W camera film. 

Techni-X will bleach out most of the mid-tone grays, leaving crisp dark blacks and bright clean whites. It'll produce clear B&W images with limited tones that are suitable for cheap reproduction via the office photocopier or when published in newsprint. 

NightScope adds a basic "night-vision" effect to your images. It first removes all color from the picture and gives a very slight blur to indicate the camera is trying hard to focus in a low-light situation.

Pseudo-IR produces a similar look as to when you use traditional B&W infra-red film. 

SkyGrad is for tinting the sky area of your photographs. Ideal if you need to change the "mood" of your scene, brighten up a dull day or make a darker overcast sky for dramatic effect. 

BW-Plus quickly turns your color images into greyscale, but with the added option of using a colored optical lens filter as you would in traditional B&W photography. 

FastFix will help you quickly access the most common image enhancement controls though one easy-to-use dialog. A simple but surprisingly useful filter that will help you fix many of your common photographic problems.

Download here

33. Best free Photoshop plugins: Composer

Composer has four distinct commands to help you stay in control of your document.

• Update Layer Style: Used to sync the layer style, opacity, and blending mode of selected layers across selected layer comps.

• Update Position: Used to sync the position of selected layers across selected layer comps.

• Update Visibility: Used to sync the visibility of selected layers across selected layer comps.

• Update All: Used to sync the layer style, position, and visibility of selected layers across selected layer comps.

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34. Best free Photoshop plugins: Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope 2.1 is a plugin that creates mind-boggling symmetrical patterns out of the photo you're editing.

Version 2 of the plugin includes three creative effects:

• Mirror: traditional effect. Consecutive sectors are symmetrical.
• Copy: takes a sector and repeat it. Transition between consecutive sectors is antialiased.
• Blend: turns the complete image several times and constructs a blend.

Download here

35. Best free Photoshop plugins: Halftone Creator

The plug-in allow you to create a halftone effect using any image with a single click. This halftone pattern generator applies a halftone pattern to anything you're working on. It installs in minutes and provides easy halftones from there out.

Download here

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36. Best free Photoshop plugins: Fur 2

The Fur 2 plugin creates a dispersion effect on an image, producing a simple repeatable figure (line or circle, configurable dimensions/thickness) across the entire photo.

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37. Best free Photoshop plugins: Retrodots

This is a nifty, simple little plugin that generates dot grids that can be based on selections.

Download here

38. Best free Photoshop plugins: Fonts.com extension

If you've got a Fonts.com subscription, this plugin will help you quickly select and add fonts to your design projects. It gives you the ability to browse, add, and sync fonts directly from your favorite Adobe applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign.

Download here

39. Best free Photoshop plugins: Eraser Classic

Eraser Classic allows you to erase a given color with ease. It's simple to use - all you need to do is activate the eyedropper, select the color directly in the preview window, and adjust the tolerance to your preferences. This will then enable you to remove all instances of that color in your image.

Download here

40. Best free Photoshop plugins: PSD Recover

This plugin lets you grab image layers from any PSD/PSB file without having to open the whole PSD in Photoshop, significantly speeding up the process of accessing a single layer. It also lets you open PSDs created by the newest versions of Photoshop from within older Photoshop versions that cannot read them directly. 

Perhaps its most important use is it can often recover image layers from corrupted PSD files that Photoshop won't open (if Photoshop opens with a damaged file, this plugin recovers a more intact image).

Download here

41. Best free Photoshop plugins: Long Shadow Generator

As its name suggests, this plugin lets you create dramatic shadow effects in Photoshop. Using the plugin, you can control shadow length, opacity and angle, as well as choose between a dark or light 'shadow' effect, with an option between a flat effect or a gradient shadow. This can be a particularly impressive effect to apply to text to make it stand out.

Download here

42. Best free Photoshop plugins: Color Megamix

Color MegaMix 1.1 modifies the colors of any image. It is based on two rows of colors: 8 source colors and 8 target colors. Using this data, the plugin completely reconstructs an image's color space.

Download here

43. Best free Photoshop plugins: Harry's Filters

This freeware plugin contains 69 image effects within nine effect group. These include filters for color adjustment, artistic effects, colorful gradients, patterns, warping images, adding noise effects, encrypting and decrypting images, zoom effects, mirroring and paint effects as well as natural effects like lightning, tornado and polar lights. 

It has a Play button for animations with random parameters and a Jump button for random effects. You get a choice of various blend modes and more than 130 presets included, with an included brightness slider.

Download here

44. Best free Photoshop plugins: Fine Threshold

Unlike the traditional threshold command of Photoshop, the Fine Threshold plugin allows you to quickly get sharp anti-aliased shapes.

This plugin works particularly well with scanned logos. This can be useful if you wish to reproduce a logo for a website.

Download here

45. Best free Photoshop plugins: Craquelure

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The Craquelure 3D Photoshop plugin is a filter that creates a wide range of craquelure effects. The filter is useful in designing abstract patterns, decorative surfaces and construction materials.

Two independent craquelure layers can be controlled to achieve a variety of texture effects, from etched metal and silk plaster to melted glass and water ripples.

A random settings generator helps you to quickly and easily produce unlimited variations of craquelured surfaces.

Download here

46. Best free Photoshop plugins: Weaver

The Weaver plugin creates an effect that imitates hand-woven fabric. There are two main controls, Size Range: which gives you control over the size range of the weave, and Size, which dictates how much detail you'll lose from the original image.

Download here

47. Best free Photoshop plugins: Sinedots

The Sinedots plugin uses simple sinus calculations to generate interesting patterns. The V2 of the plugin includes enhanced functions, including color support, blend modes, more control parameters, 16-bit support and enhanced software compatibility.

Download here

48. Best free Photoshop plugins: Blots

This plugin generates blots to form nice, seamless textures. Version 2 has three modes:

• Normal: The simplest mode. Blots combine the background color and the foreground color.
• Camouflage: this mode allows to stack blots of different colors to obtain a "camouflage" texture.
• Gradient: this mode uses the Gradient Map effect to create gradient blots.

Download here

49. Best free Photoshop plugins: Water Ripples

Water Ripples is a free Photoshop-compatible plug-in filter. It creates realistic water ripple effects, and has numerous options as well as a 3D function. The random settings generator produces unlimited variations of rippled surfaces.

Download here

50. Best free Photoshop plugins: Flat Median

Flat Median is a median-like effect that has some advantages over the regular median filter. You can control level of flatness with the plugin. At low level of flatness the result will look like a regular blur, while at high level the result will have more contrast. It's isotropic, much like gaussian blur. Additionally, you can apply the effect in both horizontal and vertical directions.

Download here

51. Best free Photoshop plugins: Jama 3D

Jama 3D is a free Photoshop plug-in filter. It's a simple way to create corrugated and cellular-like patterns from 2D images. You can easily make various bricks and herring bone textures. 

Sequenced filtering produces bizarre, often quite artistic deformations of the original picture, such as crumpled paper effect, etc. 

Using different 2D shapes on a transparent layer produces complex 3D border effects. The edge antialiasing option improves the dithering. This filter is compact and easy to use.

Download here

52. Best free Photoshop plugins: Gradient Smithy

Gradient Smithy allows, you to generate a gradient map effect. The plugin can control any color and their luminosity within a gradient. Gradient Smithy allows you to easily create quite complex gradients.

Download here

More free downloads:

65 free Lightroom presets for photographers
55 free brushes for photographers
63 free Photoshop actions
63 free Photoshop templates for photographers