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What are Photoshop Actions? How to Use Them and Free Resources

What are Photoshop Actions?

  • Photoshop Actions are editing steps recorded into downloadable presets
  • When users download actions, they can then apply the actions to their own images to create a stylized photo or an image collection
  • This allows Photoshop users to alter photos very quickly in a specific style, without constantly repeating steps during editing
  • Actions can be used for: social media, photo collections, stylized images, advertisements, and more
  • Many bloggers and photographers use actions as part of their brand or image
  • Actions can be downloaded for free, purchased online, or created from scratch

You can use Photoshop Actions for numerous projects, like commercial photography or stylized advertisements. For instance, you might want to edit wedding photos to look warm and uniform; if so, you can easily apply an action to your image collection while editing. If your blog needs a specific aesthetic, actions can assist you in creating the perfect look.

But you don't have to be a professional photographer or big-time blogger to benefit from actions. Actions can be used for everyday needs, such as photos for a house-listing or images for your social media.

Free retro Photoshop Actions

Photoshop Actions can simplify your life, so today we're excited to share a brand-new set of free, retro Photoshop Actions with you. These photo filters will help you add faded and vintage style effects to your photos in Adobe Photoshop with just a few clicks.

See the previews below to get an idea of how the actions look. You can download the Photoshop Actions by clicking the download link at the bottom of this section.

Special thanks to FilterGrade for these free photo filters.



Download the free Photoshop Actions here.

How do I use Photoshop Actions?

  • Download and install your actions
  • Save your project
  • Open your actions in Photoshop
  • Select your action and “play”

To use Photoshop Actions, you'll want to start by finding perfect choices for your project. You can buy or create actions, but there are plenty of places to find free ones (and we talk about those places below).

Chosen your preferred actions already? Great! If you need to download your actions, download them to a specific folder on your computer, so they're all in the same place.

Before you start applying actions, go ahead and save your project, just to be safe.

When you're ready to begin using your actions, you'll need to look for an .atn file, which will load your actions directly into Photoshop. Open the .atn file, then open your Photoshop Actions panel. You should see various action options within this panel. Most actions have creative names (think Instagram) that you can select and view.

Simply select your preferred action and click the “play” button. Your photo should now be edited!

Free retrp Photoshop Actions for newbies

Where can I find free Photoshop Actions?

As you can see from our list above, there are plenty of free Photoshop Actions available (if you know where to look). Photographers and designers typically shoot countless photos for both work and recreation, so having cost-effective options can be extremely beneficial.

Once you have several free actions to work with, you'll ideally begin saving time and money during the editing process. (And who doesn't like saving time and money?) So, go ahead and find your perfect actions, and happy editing!

I'm the editor-in-chief of I'm a designer and developer by day, and a writer and musician when the feeling strikes. I enjoy vintage advertisements and puzzles with an absurd amount of pieces. Follow me on Twitter.

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