Adobe Photoshop is undoubtedly one of the most feature-packed photo editors available for use today. It’s a complete solution for editing photos whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional. It comes with countless tools and effects that can be mixed and matched with each other to achieve a unique look every single time.
However, as most professionals would know, experimenting with different tools and effects, and tweaking the settings of each to get a balanced look, in the end, can take hours of hard work. That is why Photoshop Actions are so important to have handy. An Action is basically a combination of settings packed into a single-click tool that can instantly change the look of your photos.
If that sounds like something you want to give a try, here are some of the best Photoshop Actions you can take a good look at:
Whether in the studio or out and about, these Photoshop Actions will help elevate your portrait shots to another level:
- Skin – 5 Retouching Actions
Portraits usually require some level of retouching which is why the 5 Retouching Actions are so great. They are free to use and help with making multiple kinds of adjustments.
- 40 Free Pastel Effect Photoshop Actions
Sometimes, all you need to make a portrait look great is to add a subtle pastel effect on it. These 40 Pastel Effect Actions are all you need to make that happen. And they’re free!
- Free HDR Portrait Photoshop Actions
Getting an HDR effect just right for portraits isn’t an easy feat to achieve. That’s why these free HDR Portrait Actions are perfect for getting that unique look.
- Portrait Action
The free Portrait Action is great for giving portraits an almost vintage look. Unlike many other Actions, here you have control over the sharpness of your image to tweak it how you want.
- Teeth Whitening
Another free Photoshop Action, Teeth Whitening is quite unique. It helps you whiten the teeth of your subjects which is something subtle but can really complete a photograph’s look.
- Oceania Actions
A set of 5 Actions, Oceania Actions are great for making lifestyle portraits look better. It can be had as part of a monthly subscription to Envato Elements which will run you for $16.50 per month.
- The Matte Series
The Matte Series is a collection of Actions that make portraits look moody and retro with its matte and faded looks. It can be had for $27 and comes with 17 different Actions.
- New York Retouching Photoshop Actions
Another premium Action pack for Photoshop, New York Retouching is all about giving photos that editorial, fashion, and studio look that you see in magazines. For $39, you get more than 80 Actions for all your needs.
- Fashion Week
Fashion Week takes your portrait shots and turns them into those fit for editorial publications. Whether you’re looking for the runway look or a more street-style photo, Fashion Week has 18 different looks that you can get for $34.
- Summer Haze
Summer Haze is a free Action perfect for outdoorsy portrait shots where you want an extra ray of sunshine to really elevate the mood in your scene.
For adding warmth to your portraits while also balancing skin tones, try Bella. It’s free and can instantly make portraits look much more soft and glowy.
- Faded Cross Process
To add a cross-process look to your portraits without making them look too retro, download the free Faded Cross Process Action and see how it transforms your portrait shots.
- Pretty Lady Actions
Pretty Lady Actions is a set of 10 free Actions that are aimed to make feminine portrait shots look great. Experiment with the different looks and see which one works best for your model.
- 37 Free Actions
This free set of 37 Actions has some great ones created only to enhance portrait photos. Some of these include the Deeply Matte, Dramatic Freckles, and Improve Dark Portrait Actions.
- Cinematic Photoshop Action
A single click on the Cinematic Action will transform a boring portrait shot into something that would fit right in a movie. For intense and moody shots, give this one a try.
- Cosmic Action
The free Cosmic Photoshop Action works especially well with smartphone photos that lack a pop of color. It adds that missing pop to portrait shots and instantly changes how they look.
- Duotone Actions
Duotone is a set of free Photoshop Actions that are designed to make your photos look splashed in color. Using them, you can end up with really creative portraits that stand out.
For all you comic book lovers out there, we have EasyComic; a free Action that makes your photos look like a page out of a comic book. Needless to say, it makes for some really cool portraits.
- Vivid Blur
Vivid Blur is a free Action that simply adds a blur effect to photos and looks pretty nice on portrait shots. If you’re looking for a creative look, give this a shot.
- Matt Larson Flare Pack
Portrait shots, especially those taken outdoors, can be enhanced quite a bit by adding some sun flare effects to them. That’s why Matt Larson’s Flare Pack is such a good deal for $30.
With the free Unspoken Action, you can get a movie-like look in your portrait shots. It adds a greenish tint to photos and enhances contrast to achieve this effect.
- CoffeShop Express Eye Bright
If you’re into baby photography, the Express Eye Bright Action is just what you need to create bright and warm portrait photos with added clarity in the eyes. And it’s free!
- CoffeeShop Baby Miracle
Another free Action to make baby photos look amazing, Baby Miracle adds a ton of brightness and some glow to make babies look like little angels.
- Free Lifestyle Actions
This Free Lifestyle Actions pack has all you need for achieving stunning lifestyle portraits. These work great from outdoor portraits to travel photos alike.
- Bright Eyes
If your model happens to have blue eyes, give Bright Eyes a try. It’ll make blue eyes pop out of the screen and add a lot of clarity to them for free.
For landscape photographers, the following Actions will go a long way in making their lives easier:
- Natural Light Landscape
The Natural Light Landscape Photoshop Action automatically adjusts the contrast and light in your outdoor photos. It’s a free Action, which makes it a no-brainer for any landscape photographer.
- 50 Free Autumn Photoshop Actions
To give your photos that signature autumn look and feel, these 50 free Actions are just what you need to enhance the look of your images.
- Forest Actions
These multiple Forest Actions can be had for free and are sure to imbue a new look into your forest photos. From summery warm to moody cold, there are different looks you can try.
- Nightmare Actions
If you want to give your landscapes a dark and moody look, then the 10 Nightmare Photoshop Actions are perfect for your needs. And for just $5, it’s not a bad deal.
- Bold B&W Photoshop Action
This free Bold B&W Action is perfect for achieving a timeless, black and white look for landscape photos.
- Desert Dust
The Desert Dust Action is great for giving outdoors photos a dusty, almost vintage look. It works great with landscapes and can lead to some very unique looks.
- HDR Photoshop Actions
For $13, you can get your hands on 30 different HDR Actions for Photoshop. HDR is a great way to pull out details from landscape photos and these Actions help you achieve that look.
- Surreal HDR Actions
For a more surreal and dramatic look, try the 4 Surreal HDR Actions that you can get your hand on for just $4. The 4 Actions included range from low to very high intensity looks.
- Summer Delight
Summer Delight will let you add a soft, warm glow to your landscape photos to make them look instantly more pleasing. And it does that for free!
- Misty Blue
The Misty Blue Action is free to use and adds a blue tint to your photos to make them look very moody and dramatic.
- Silver Photoshop Action
Silver is a unique Action that is ideal for turning landscape images into subtle black and white photos. It’s free to use and instantly makes photos look great.
- Hazy Afternoon
Hazy Afternoon, as the name suggests, will turn your landscape photos into hazy ones. It works with both black and white as well as a color variant and is free to use.
- Sunset Photoshop Action
The free Action named Sunset is great for making it look like you took your photos during the Golden Hour. It adds warmth and some contrast to photos to achieve this effect.
Sunlight is a set of 5 Actions that are perfect to be used with landscape images taken on a warm and sunny day. The best part about this pack is that it’s free.
- Abbey Road Action
For a quick boost to landscape photos, try the free Abbey Road Action. It boosts the saturation and contrast and elevates the overall mood of your photos in an instant.
- The Landscape Adventure Collection
If you want a single Action pack that gives you more than 50 different Actions to try on landscape images, look no further than The Landscape Adventure Collection. It costs $41 but is well worth it.
- Action Collection 1.0
The free Action Collection 1.0 has 6 different looks to try on landscape images. Ranging from subtle effects to more pronounced ones, this collection h as it all.
- Actions 1
Actions 1 is another free pack of different looks for landscape images. While a couple of these are subtle, the others are very creative and completely change the look of landscapes.
- Landscape and Sky Action
As the name suggests, the free Landscape and Sky Action is designed to enhance landscape photos by adding a punch to both the landscape and the sky. It leads to a contrasty image that instantly looks great.
- Sky Replacer
If you’re a member of Envato Elements, you can get Sky Replacer. This is an excellent Action designed to help landscape photographers replace the sky in their photos with ease.
- Color Correct
Sometimes, all a landscape photo needs to look amazing is for the colors to be corrected. Color Correct takes care of this for you and it does it for free.
- Color Boost
If all you want is to boost the colors of your landscape photos without making them look unrealistic, Color Boost is the free Action to use.
- River Rock
For bringing out some more detail and to balance out reflective elements in your landscape photos, especially surfaces like water, use the free River Rock Action and see your image transform.
- Pure Luv
Pure Luv is a free Action that is all about transforming landscapes into very surreal-looking images. It adds a magenta hue to photos and changes their look completely.
- Go Green
Another free Action for making landscape photos look richer and more saturated, Go Green enhances the greens in your outdoorsy photos for a contrasty result.
For a Vintage Look
A lot of people prefer to have their photos look like they were taken with a vintage film camera. For those of you, the following Actions are the ones to check out:
- FilmStock Analog
The 30 Actions included in the FilmStock Analog pack are perfect for giving photos an authentic analog look in seconds. It costs $29, but the vast collection of Photoshop Brushes, Light Leaks, and Faded Looks that come with the Actions makes the price just right.
- 46 Light Leak Actions
These 46 Actions add a light leak effect to your photos and make them look a little imperfect, which goes a long way in making them look retro. It costs $13, which is great for a collection of premium Actions.
- Color 024
Color 024 is a free Action that boosts the brightness and saturation of photos while adding a slight magenta tint to them in order to give a retro look.
- Hard Lomo
As the name suggests, Hard Lomo adds a Lomographic effect to your photos, instantly making them look vintage. It’s a free Action, so give it a shot!
- 30 Free Vintage Photoshop Actions
Having access to 30 Vintage Actions for free is something pretty amazing in and of itself. Use these to give different looks to your photos and you won’t need anything else.
For just $5, you can get four excellent Filmtastic Film Actions. Including three color Actions and one black and white Action, this pack is all you need to give your photos a retro look.
- Polaroid Generator
If you want to make your photos look like Polaroids, then the Polaroid Generator Action will do that for you without having to pay a penny.
- Old Tones Actions
The 6 Old Tones Actions are free to use and are great to turn modern photos into retro-looking ones. These Actions reduce the saturation, increase the warmth, and add sharpness and grain to photos.
- Vintage Pro
Vintage Pro is yet another free Photoshop Action that will instantly turn your photos into vintage ones. If you’re looking for a pronounced change in how your images look, give this one a try.
- Vintage Photoshop Actions – Vol. 2
Volume 2 of the Vintage Photoshop Actions pack contains 18 different Actions to give you all the creative freedom you need, for just $7.
- Sepia Actions
Sometimes, all you need is a simple Sepia look for your photos. For those times, this free set of 7 Sepia Actions is great.
- Vintage Matte
The free Vintage Matte Action is perfect for photos which you want to have a subtle vintage look but nothing that completely changes their look and feel.
- Faded Film
Faded Film is another free Action that excels at giving a subtle vintage look to photos. It works well with all kinds of photos, from portraits to landscapes.
- Retro Filters
Retro Filters contains 10 free Photoshop Actions, each inspired from the classic 35mm film. Using this pack, you can be sure to get at least one look that goes perfectly with the photo being edited.
- Vintage Effect
The Vintage Effect pack of 10 excellent Actions can be yours for just $7. It gives you access to 14 textures as well that work perfectly with the vintage Actions themselves.
- HipstaRev – Actions Pack 1
If you’re a fan of Hipstamatic images, then the HipstaRev pack is just what you need. It comes with three different looks and is completely free to use.
- Vintage Action 5
For a colorful, washed out effect for your portrait photos, try the free Vintage Action 5. It’ll add an instant pop to your photos while also giving them the vintage vibe.
- Set14 Actions
Set14 Actions is a pack of, you guessed it, 14 different vintage Actions that are all great in their own way. All of these looks are free to use, so this pack is pretty much a no-brainer.
- Old Photo Action
For a good old vintage look with yellow whites and deep reds, try the free Old Photo Action. It’s a simple, one-click Action that is perfect for quick edits.
- The Mini Collection
You can get your hands on 10 different retro Actions as well as 5 light leak ones in The Mini Collection. These are also accompanied by different textures that you can apply to your photos for an even more realistic vintage look. And all of this is free!
For wedding photographers, the following Actions will go a long way in helping creating amazing photos in a short amount of time:
- Royal Wedding Pro Photoshop Actions
An Action bundle with many looks, the Royal Wedding Pro bundle is perfect for almost all types of wedding photos. It costs $14 and is designed to make a wedding photographer’s job easier.
- 20 Free Wedding Actions Ver 1
If you don’t feel like paying money to get your Actions, you can try the 20 Free Wedding Actions instead. With 20 options to choose from, you’re bound to find something you’ll really like.
- The Three Nails Collection
If you’re willing to spend some money on premium wedding photography Actions, then take a look at The Three Nails Collection. The savings bundle costs $119 and comes with a whopping 125 Actions that are sure to instantly elevate your images.
- Wedding Enhancers Kit
The Wedding Enhancers Kit contains 11 free Actions that work great with wedding portraits. From black and white looks to color, this kit has it all to make portrait look stunning.
- Free Aesthetic Vintage Wedding
For combining wedding photography with vintage looks, try the 15 Free Aesthetic Vintage Wedding Actions. These are sure to add a layer of timelessness and nostalgia to your wedding photos.
Some photos really come alive when given an HDR look. This is especially true for landscapes and architecture shots but can work well with portraits too. For getting the best HDR look, try the following:
- HDR Legendary Image Action
The HDR Legendray Image Action pack comes with 40 different looks that can work well with any kind of photo, from portrait to landscape. It costs just $5 so it’s a good one to have in your collection.
- Dramatic Effect with False HDR
Giving your photos an almost surreal effect is possible with the Dramatic Effect with False HDR Action. It’s a single-click Action that you can use for $5.
- Supreme HDR Image Action
Supreme HDR Image Action is a pack of 17 different HDR effects that costs $5 and can be used whether you want a natural look for your photos or a very dramatic one.
- Black & White HDR
You can get your hands on the Black & White HDR Action for free and create some great-looking landscapes or architecture shots in one click.
- Fake HDR
Another free Action to create pretty convincing HDRs is Fake HDR. It’s not as strong as some other Actions but that can be a very good thing depending on the image you want to use it on.
For Creative Images
If you’re looking for Photoshop Actions that’ll work on any kind of image to make it look creative and fun, or just want something that works more as a tool to achieve an effect, then these are worth a look:
- Animated Glitch
Animated Glitch can turn your still photos into a GIF that looks glitchy. It’s a really cool effect and works great with trendy portraits.
- Free Glitch Photoshop Action
If you want the glitch effect but without animation, then the Free Glitch Photoshop Action is perfect. It creates a VHS glitch effect and makes images look great.
- Rainy Day
For making it seem like rain was pouring down when you took a photo, Rainy Day is a good Action to use. It comes in a pack of other creative Actions is free to use.
- Sticker Photoshop Action
To make your photo look like it’s a sticker, use the Sticker Photoshop Action. It makes your image look like it’s printed on a white sticker paper and adds a shadow effect to make it more realistic.
- Stickers and Tapes
The two free Actions included in Stickers and Tapes are really fun to use. The Stickers Action converts your image into a sticker while the Clear Tape Action makes it look like a polaroid photo taped onto paper.
The Vectorize Action is great if you need to change the look of your photos to use them for poster designs etc. It’s free, and works very well to turn photos into digital artworks.
- Folded Paper
Want your photo to look like a folded paper? Why not, right? This Folded Paper Action helps you get that look for free. And it does a pretty convincing job of it.
- Out of Bounds
For making your image look like it’s bleeding out of the paper it’s printed on, use Out of Bounds. It’s free, and can lead to pretty fun results.
- Pencil Draw
Pencil Draw will make your photos look like pencil sketches, and it’ll do that for free. It’s a neat Action that works very well to help with some creative editing.
- Photoshop Color Actions 2
For a variety of color treatments, raning from black and white to a completely green hue, Photoshop Color Actions 2 is a great free choice.
- Double Exposure
Signing up for free at Envato Elements will open doors to many free Photoshop Actions. Among them is Double Exposure. This lets you create highly professional double exposure photos in minutes. You can add a color cast over your final image to give it a unique look as well.
- Simon White Minimalistic Photoshop Actions
The White Minimalistic Actions by Simon White are premium Actions that are great for achieving minimalist photographs. They cost $29 but are great for achieving a modern and clean look for photos.
- Collage Photoshop Action
For $7, you can get access to a number of Actions in the Collage Photoshop Action pack. Blending together images and textures together is easy and fun with this pack.
- Geometric Photoshop Action
Turning photos into cool geometric designs is very easy and intuitive with the Geometric Photoshop Action. Whether you’re a fan of pop art or graphic design, these will be the best $6 you’ll spend.
- Call of Honor
For fans of video games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, Call of Honor is the perfect Action to buy for $7. It will let you create your very own posted or cover art modeled after your favourite FPS games.
Painter is a $6 Action that instantly turns your photos into gorgeous paintings. It not only adds realistic textures but also plays around with the colors to make the effect very believable.
For blending images with letters and textures of all kinds, try Textum. It’s part of an Envato Elements membership and is amazing at what it does. Making posters and other graphic design products is made very easy with this Action.
Another pack for fans of text, Typography costs $17 and comes with 5 Actions that are all designed to merge text with your photos in a creative manner.
- Grunge 2
Grunge 2 is perfect for giving your photos the raw, rustic look that grunge photos are known for. It adds texture, contrast, and sharpness to photos and the results are stunning. You have to sign up to Envato Elements to get your hands on this one.
- Double Light
Double Light is a highly unique and highly aesthetically pleasing Action to use with portrait shots. It adds stunning double light effects to photos to make them look like surreal pieces of digital art. It costs $6 and is well worth the price if you’re a studio photographer.
- Greater Than Gatsby Bundle
And for the last Action pack in this list, we have the highly premium Complete Bundle from Greater Than Gatsby. This bundle seems expensive at $329 but when you consider that you get a whopping 985 Actions for everything from portraits to landscapes, the price isn’t too bad.
And with that last bonus pack, we conclude our list of the best Photoshop Actions you can use to make bland photos look amazing in a few clicks. Actions are one of the best things about using Photoshop as a professional photographer as they save you a lot of time while providing you with the results you are looking for. So, if you haven’t yet, go ahead and give some of these Actions a try and see for yourself what you’re missing.