Editing images is very time consuming, and it’s the part of the photographic process I like the least. Although it can be very technical, I love Photoshop because you can use your creative vision to make photographs exactly how you would like to see them.
This tedium, I’ve found, can be eliminated in Photoshop by running actions on your images. Whether you’re new to Adobe Photoshop, or you’re a veteran, automating your edits, especially for that signature look you’ve created from scratch, makes using actions in Photoshop well worth the effort.
There are thousands of actions for Photoshop on the internet; some that are free and some that cost a little. I thought it would be helpful to share some that I’ve been using lately. I usually find great Photoshop Actions on DeviantArt.com, the largest online social network for artists and art enthusiasts. These free Photoshop presets will load directly into your Photoshop Actions panel to help make editing less bothersome.
But if you are more interested in creating your own actions, here’s a great tutorial from PhotoshopEssentials.com that walks you through the process.
And if you’re unfamiliar with how to load Actions, here’s a link to load Photoshop Presets directly from Adobe.com.
Black & White Photoshop ActionsI am a big fan of monochrome images, and I found these 5 Photoshop Actions on TheUltraLinx.com.
More Black & White Self PortraitHere’s another set of 2 Black & White Photoshop Actions from DeviantArt user sd-stock. Click here to download the free presets.
More Black & White Photoshop ActionsAnd the final Black & White Photoshop Action is from DeviantArt user worthyG. Click here to get download this free preset.
Unique Photoshop Actions
Megan van der Elst is a young Dutch photographer that has some great presets that are free on DeviantArt. I chose 3 unique sets of actions I really like using on my photos. Her user name is lieveheersbeestje, and you can access her website by clicking here.
Photoshop Old Tones ActionsThe Photoshop Old Tones Actions from Megan make for some great classic looking photograph styles. Click here to get all 6 actions.
Winter Breeze Photoshop ActionsAnother set of 2 actions from Megan are winter presets. Click here to get all 2 actions.
Photoshop Actions Dark & HauntedHere’s another set of 6 presets that I really enjoyed. Click here to get all 6 actions.
Filmesque Photoshop ActionsUser lustdrunk on DeviantArt has a set of 9 Photoshop Actions that give off a very film-like exposure, and I really liked seeing how the color saturation and exposure changed with all 9 presets. Click here to get all 9 actions.
HDR Photoshop Actions
I like HDR to an extent, but I do like sharp images that show the imperfections of a person’s face. I found 2 different presets that I think are worth downloading.
Faux HDR Photoshop Action
User photographypla-net on DeviantArt has 1 Photoshop Action that really brings out the HDR effect, and I used it on a crappy self-portrait of myself shot on an iPhone. Click here to download the preset here.
Dramatic Action Photoshop ActionThis is probably my favorite HDR preset that I’ve found on DeviantArt, and it comes from user JoshoPosho. Click here to download the preset.