The non-professional photographers among us are often left with boring and flat shots from our cameras, the photos lack the flair and energy that is achieved with expert techniques and equipment. Photoshop Actions on the other hand, can help recreate some amazing photo effects, just by pressing a button! This post rounds up 20 of the best Photoshop Actions that allow you to easily spice up your photos with popular effects, including HDR, Soft Focus, Lomo, Velvia and more!

The Original

The original photograph

To test out each Photoshop Action, and to allow the action to be compared against other actions on the same shot I’ve downloaded this sample image, courtesy of SXC. Compare this shot with each of the following actions, which one is your favourite?

Fuji Velvia Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Recreate the popular photo effect originally created by using Fuji’s Velvia range of film, with this fab action from Pibweb.

Sepia Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Create a simple vintage Sepia toning effect with this action from 4thDynasty

Dark and Cold Photo Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

This cool Photoshop Action from David Nanchin creates an eery dark and cold effect.

Soft Focus Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

HD Stock’s Soft Elegance action produces a slightly blurred image with high contrast and a green tone.

HDR Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

HDR photo effects are all the rage. Easily create your own high dynamic range photograph without any specialist techniques with this action from Forfie

High Contrast Vintage Photo Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Create an awesome old-time effect with this action from SD Stock. Key features include high contrast, adjusted colour balance and heavy vignette.

Cold Blue Colour Cast Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Produce a cold colour cast with high contrast with this second action from SD Stock.

Retro Colour Cast

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Give your photos the typical retro look with this colour adjusting action from Amatorka.

Split Tone Photo Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Digitally create the popular split tone effect with this action from Paranoid Stock.

Retro Photo Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Give your shots the typical retro colour tones with this brilliant action from Marissaxxx.

Vivid Blur Photo Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Create vivid colour and a dreamy blur with this action from AlenaJay. Although it’s possibly more suited to portraits than landscape shots.

Grainy High Contrast Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

This cool grainy effect was created by Alejandro Herrera to mimic the awesome filming effects used in the movie 300.

Cross Colouring Photo Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Create a cross colouring effect with this action from KalifBanane. Available with three various settings to provide dark, medium or light effects.

Vintage/Retro Photo Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

This great action from Pseudonyfreak creates an old vintage/retro theme with yellows and browns.

Infra Red Photo Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Create the popular Infra Red photo effect without the need for specialist IR filters or film with this awesome action from Hanyasatu.

Pseudo HDR

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

This second HDR action produces another high dynamic range effect, without the need for multiple exposures. This action from FinesseFX provides deep colours and sharp detail.

Cross Processing Effect

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

Traditional cross processing effects were originally created by developing a film with the wrong chemicals, leaving a range of unusual tones and colours. This action from Mutato Nomine easily recreates the effect.

Harsh Colour Balance

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

This action from Shagagraf creates an unusual colour tone adustment to give a semi-retro photo effect.

Soft Black and White Conversion

Photoshop Action photo effect preview

This handy action from FinesseFX converts your shots to black and white, with a soft and pure glow.

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77 Comments

  1. Super Nice, I am super new in actions on photoshop, sorry guys, I am total noob on photoshop :D my passion is coding valid CSS/Xhtml, this is gonna make my photos way more better.

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  2. nice one mate, some great actions you have picked out.

    I agree with Design Informer, it was cool to see the various actions used in examples

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  3. I am completely new to actions. Can you please tell me how I can use actions “just by pressing a button?”

    Thanks!

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    • Download the action file, then in Photoshop open up the Actions window (Windows > Actions).
      Click the little arrow in the top right corner to open the little options panel.
      Load the action from wherever it’s saved on your computer.
      You sometimes need to drill down into the folder to select the file, then simply press the play button at the bottom of the Actions window.

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  4. Hey Chris,

    Great post, will nab a couple of these.

    My fav is the Grainy High Contrast Effect. Having said that, a different one will be my fav next week.

    You got a fav out of these Chris?

    Cheers!

    (0)

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