54 free Photoshop actions

If you want the best free Photoshop actions, you've come to the right place. But what are Photoshop actions? Well, Adobe's flagship image editing software has an inbuilt programming language that will enable you to condense minutes (or hours) of design work into a single click. 

The programme will record your edits and save them as an 'action', to which you can associate a shortcut key. You can then launch the Photoshop action, and see the same edits applied to a different image, pretty much instantly. For edits and changes you make regularly, these are pretty great timesavers. 

You can record your own Photoshop actions, but you can also import ready-made free Photoshop actions – which is where this article comes in. These enable you to add a whole range of cool effects to your images. We've rounded up the best free Photoshop actions available, to enable you to pimp your designs in double-quick time.

If you feel inspired to expand your Photoshop skillset you can head over to our roundups of the best Photoshop plugins and Photoshop brushes, great for photographers, graphic designers, game artists and more.

You can jump to the section you want right now from the drop-down menu above, but you should definitely bookmark the entire list of free Photoshop actions to check out the rest later – who knows where inspiration will strike. 

Free Photoshop actions: Photo filters

01. Desert Dust

Free Photoshop actions: Desert Dust

Feeling warm?

(Image credit: Brusheezy)

Want to create a dry, overly hot atmosphere in your images? Try this free Photoshop action from Brusheezy. It knocks out colour and gives everything a hazy look. Mimic the effect in a single click, to save you hours of editing work.

02. Facebook Fix

Everything you need for Facebook-ready photos

Everything you need for Facebook-ready photos

(Image credit: mcpactions.com)

This powerful set of Photoshop actions gives you everything you need to optimise images for sharing on Facebook. There are actions to resize, sharpen, watermark and brand your images for Facebook. Each resizing action will instantly apply your logo – all you need to do is move it to where you want it, and adjust the size and opacity.

03. Winter Blues

Free photoshop actions: Winter Blues

Turn chilly scenes into something more magical

(Image credit: Spoon Graphics)

At the other end of the temperature scale, these Winter Blues photo effects are designed to add some wintry magic to your landscapes. Use these free Photoshop actions to enhance overcast and cloudy skies and with subtle cool hues. The pack includes 10 actions, each with a different style.

04. Underwater Luxe

Free photoshop actions: underwater luxe

Bring underwater images to life

(Image credit: The Coffee Shop Blog)

If you're a fan of underwater imagery, this is the Photoshop action for you. It removes the underwater haze, sharpers and boosts contrast, sharpens, and warms up skin by removing blue tones. Ideal for transforming underwater portraits in particular. This action is completely customisable, and you can download it for free at The Coffee Shop Blog.

05. Cross-Process Fade

Give portraits a bleached-out look

Give portraits a bleached-out look

(Image credit: www.turningturnip.co.uk)

Cross-processing is a traditional photographic technique involving deliberate processing of one type of film in a chemical solution intended for another, resulting in oddly skewed colours and increased contrast and saturation. This free Photoshop action comes from Turning Turnip, and is part of a selection of Portrait actions.

06. Deep Matte

Free photoshop actions: matte finish

The intense matte finish packs a punch

This free Photoshop action does exactly what its name would suggest. It will give your image a super-strong matte finish. If you want a more subtle matte finish, Exposure Empire also offers a basic version, but we love the intensity of this one.

07. Color Pop

Free Photoshop actions: Color Pop

An easy way to make your work pop

Give washed-out photos an instant burst of colour with this free Photoshop action from Shutter Pulse. One of its set of 14 Boosters Photoshop Actions, it comes as part of a free bundle of 20 Lightroom presets and 20 Photoshop actions. This action is perfect from bringing a much-needed pop of colour and contrast to any photo.

08. Reduce Motion Blur

Free Photoshop actions: Reduce Motion Blur

Sharpen up your snaps

(Image credit: www.turningturnip.co.uk)

Sometimes a little camera shake, or an unexpectedly movement from your subject, can ruin an otherwise great photo. This free Photoshop action is here to save the day, by removing motion blur from your images.

09. Pastel Effect

Free Photoshop actions: Pastel Effect

Give your owl some light enhancement and colour toning

Another way to breathe fresh life into your photos is with this set of 40 pastel effect Photoshop actions; they'll provide instant light enhancement and beautiful colour toning at the touch of a button, and transform ordinary shots into something much more Instagram-worthy.

10. Mini Fusion

Inject new life into your photos with this free action

Inject new life into your photos with this free action

(Image credit: mcpactions.com)

This Mini Fusion Photoshop action promises to inject new life into images. It includes colour conversions and optional tints and exposure fix layers. There are a number of impressive before-and-afters on the MCP Actions site that showcase the results.

11. Mystical Light

Free Photoshop actions: Mystical Light

'scuse me while I kiss the sky

Give your photos an other-worldly air with this Photoshop action from Megan Joy, available through DeviantArt. It'll infuse landscapes with a magical light, infusing any shot with an ethereal purple haze and making the dullest of landscape shots look like a mysterious fairy dell.

12. Instant Hipster

Free Photoshop actions: Instant Hipster

Get those trendy effects you love with one click

For those times you want to give your photos a one-click Instagram effect, Instant Hipster's the perfect solution. It comes with 10 ready-made filters – Amaro, Mayfair, Hudson, Valencia, X-Pro II, Willow, Sutro, Hefe, Nashville and 1977 (you'll likely recognise those names from Instagram). Capture just the retro effect you need in seconds.

13. Nightmare

Free Photoshop actions: Nightmare

...and they were never seen again

If your photos just aren't sinister enough for your liking, this free Photoshop action should make things a little more unsettling. It's designed to let you easily give your photos a dark, haunting vibe. Perfect for creating the impression that you're permanently about to stumble into mortal danger.

14. Cold Nightmare

Free Photoshop actions: Cold Nightmare

Damn it, stand still when I'm trying to skewer you

This dramatically titled action will transform a photo of a perfectly innocent scenario into a window into a dark world. In this example image, the archer probably shooting at a target takes on the look of someone who is definitely trying to kill a human. It’s amazing what some shadows can do.

15. Summer Haze

Free Photoshop actions: Summer Haze

Get that summer feeling again

If you'd prefer to cheer up your images, take a sunny shot and make it intensely summery with this great golden haze effect. Outdoor portraits taken in natural light are most suitable for this filter.

16. Hazy Afternoon

Free Photoshop actions: Hazy Afternoon

Hazy Afternoon adds a soft gradient colour layer

Perfect for outdoor pictures, the Hazy Afternoon action certainly lives up to its name by creating a soft gradient colour layer. You can use this free action on black and white or colour images, plus you can easily adjust the gradient until you get the exact look you're after.

17. HDR Action

Free Photoshop actions: HDR action

Ramp up your HDR contrast with these actions

Remove the lack of contrast that comes with HDR photography with this set of four actions; HDR fix Light, Normal, Heavy, and Clicker. This action is designed to remove the digital grey (lack of true black) found in HDR photos, to give them back their punch.

18. Strong HDR Effect

Free Photoshop actions: Strong HDR Effect

Get vibrant colour effects with this free HDR filter

Try getting vibrant colour effects with this free HDR filter from Shutter Pulse. If it works well for you but you'd like more options, it's part of a set of 30 HDR actions that you can buy for $13.

19. Blue Evening

Free Photoshop actions: Blue Evening

Add a mysterious atmosphere to your shots with Blue Evening

Blue Evening is the free component of a paid-for set called Touch of Drama, which gives you various ways to add a mysterious atmosphere to your shots. This individual action casts a bluish haze over your image – the strength of the blue cast depends on your starting colours, so click through to see a good selection of examples.

20. Night to Twilight

Free Photoshop actions: Night to Twilight

Turn your nighttime images into twilight photos

This set of 11 actions convert your nighttime images into twilight scenes by introducing a colour cast and lightening the sky. The effect is rendered using layers, so you can adjust the degree of twilight by reducing the layer’s opacity, making it nice and flexible.

21. Bella

Free Photoshop actions: Bella action

Create a romantic, nostalgic feel with a pink cast

This action adds a beautiful warmth to your photographs, bringing out rich tones in hair and skin, and softening colours with a pink cast. Give your images a romantic, nostalgic feel in an instant.

Next page: Vintage and monochrome photo filters