A simple black and white conversion is a pretty simple task, but there’s a range of additional tweaks that can generate beautiful tones and enhance the overall mood of the shot. Following on from my Free Color Grading Photoshop Actions a few months ago, today I’m happy to share my new collection of Black & White Photo Effect Actions for Adobe Photoshop. The set contains 20 presets which apply a range of stylish effects to your photos. It includes actions that mimic analog photography aesthetics from different print techniques and toning methods, along with some creative monochrome effects with various colour casts.

20 Free Black & White Photo Effect Actions for Adobe Photoshop

  • Film Noir
    Inspired by classic cinema, this black & white photo effect produces hard contrast with a mysterious mood.
  • Ansel
    A go-to photo effect based on the timeless style of black and white photography master Ansel Adams.
  • Faded
    Brightens the shot washes out the tones to give an softly exposed appearance.
  • Low ISO
    Mimics the qualities of low ISO film stock with good contrast and subtle grain.
  • High ISO
    Mimics the qualities of high ISO film stock with low contrast and plentiful grain.
  • Selenium
    Digitally replicates the appearance of selenium toning in analog photography.
  • Split Tone
    Reproduces the creative darkroom process of split toning with sepia and selenium.
  • Sepia
    Generates a classic sepia toned appearance to achieve the old antique feeling.
  • Monochrome
    Applies a warmer black and white photo effect with a hint of red.
  • Low Key
    Darkens the image with a dramatic black and white effect with strong shadows.
  • High Key
    Lightens the image with an intense black and white effect with strong highlights.
  • Matte
    Imitates the properties of matte prints with washed out blacks and low contrast.
  • Lustre
    Imitates the properties of lustre prints with moderate blacks and good contrast.
  • Glossy
    Imitates the properties of glossy prints with deep blacks and high contrast.
  • Charcoal
    A seductive monochrome effect with all the shades of grey.
  • Ember
    A fiery monochrome effect with warm reds in the shadows and bright yellow highlights.
  • Rose Gold
    A delicate monochrome effect with nostalgic pinks and yellow colours.
  • Moonlight
    A cool monochrome effect with silvery blues tones and reduced contrast.
  • Glacier
    An icy monochrome effect with earthy brown colours in the shadows and bright cyan highlights.
  • Bleached
    A creative monochrome effect that applies a subtle black & white effect to wash out the colours.

Download my Free Black & White Photoshop Actions

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  1. Hi Chris. Do love the black & white. We’re trying to convince our clients to consider more B&W in their website designs. Such a impactful way to stand out. Thanks for the great post.

  2. This is awesome! Thank you for making this available. Are they compatible with CS5? I ran the Film Noir action to test it out but I got an error: Could not complete the command because actions that reference files can only be played on the same platform on which they were recorded.

    I’m wondering if this is a compatibility issue or something with the action?

    • Hey Joe, I’m not aware of any incompatibilities but I don’t have any older versions of Photoshop available for testing. I wonder if anyone else can tell me if they’re experiencing the same problem?

      • Hey Chris, thank you for this compilation. I run the same problem with Photoshop CC 2015.

        Can it be that some languagesettings from Photoshop get problems with the “english” action?

        Im from Germany and have read some other problems with “actions” can be disabled when a File was deleted in the install Folder of Photoshop to set the Languagesettings default to english.
        I have to try later after work.

  3. Only one preset present – Although variations are possible using the Hue/Saturation stage … Am I missing something?

    • It definitely sounds like something is missing! You should see one .atn file in the download, but when that’s installed there will be 20 effects in the Black & Which folder in the Actions panel.

  4. wow! timing for this is perfect. I just picked up a client that needed a bunch of black and white manipulations and I was in the market for these. Thanks man.

  5. Wola Chris

    Great collection,
    I’m busy DIYing 3 wood frames &
    I’ll be playin around with these actions for the edits on my A3 prints.
    I like em.

    So nice.

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