Photoshop Actions: One Click Wonders

photoshop actions

I’ve just discovered the joy of Photoshop actions! My photos look better with one click:

photoshop action example

So what exactly are Photoshop actions? If you find yourself performing the same editing steps on photos (brightness, exposure, curves, etc.), you can save some time and record them. Then when you want to edit a photo, just highlight the action you created, press “play” and those steps will magically happen.

Or, if you’re still learning curves and all that other Photoshop stuff, you can download pre-made actions from a pro and look like you know what you’re doing. That’s what I did.

Don’t have Adobe Photoshop? See this post and this post for some apps with filters.

 

Links to Photoshop Actions – Free and Paid (Updated)

I saw actions on Two Peas in a Bucket and debated for a month about trying one. I finally took the plunge after Jen Gallacher recommended them, and I’m so glad I did.

These are the five Photoshop actions I bought ($4 each), created by Adrienne Looman:

  1. Clean Exposure <– my favorite
  2. Frosty
  3. Cherry Kiss
  4. Soft Tea
  5. Sunset

Here’s how they each look:

action all

UPDATED to include another set of examples:

action all - 2nd example

The Pioneer Woman has fabulous free actions. Here are a few of them:

action pioneer woman

 

Installing Photoshop Actions

The actions are easy to install. Texas Chicks has written instructions, video instructions and FAQs for The Pioneer Woman actions here. There are download instructions that come with the paid actions from Two Peas in a Bucket.

Here’s a screenshot of where actions are located in Photoshop – I highlighted the areas mentioned in the directions:

photoshop actions screenshot

This article has more information on creating and installing actions.

To apply an action to a photo, simply open the photo in Photoshop, highlight the action you want, and click the triangle “play” button.

 

Examples Using Photoshop Actions

All of these photos were taken with a point-and-shoot Sony Cybershot and are straight out of the camera. No other editing was done except cropping on a few of them.

(Note: I’m only including examples using the paid actions from Two Peas in a Bucket in case you are thinking about buying one. The actions from Pioneer Woman are free, so you can download and experiment without worrying about cost.)

action clean face

 

action frosty valentine

 

action frosty bunny

 

action cherry kiss

 

 

action soft tea face

 

action sunset tree

 

action sunset weather vane

 

action sunset fort

Of course some actions look better with faces, some better with landscapes, some bring out certain colors more, some look more vintage, etc. My favorite is clean exposure – it worked well on every photo I tried.

If you find a great Photoshop action, please include a link in the comments!

 

UPDATE – Elements users: 

The description of Adrienne Looman’s Photoshop actions states that “it will work in just about any Photoshop version (elements and up). CS users have the easiest installation process, while Elements users will have a couple more steps to install. I recommend using Elements 6.0 and up. I would not suggest purchasing this if you have a version lower than 6.0. If you are unsure, please contact me first before placing your order.” I got this info from her Etsy site here.

The Pioneer Woman has some actions made just for Photoshop Elements here, along with installation info and links.

  • Gerrie Johnnic

    OMGosh, this is amazing! tu tu tu

  • Lisa Moorefield

    Thanks!

  • http://shezigzags.blogspot.com Nicole Laha

    Thanks for this! I’ve been debating on the 2 Peas Photoshop actions for a while!

  • Heidi

    Great post! Super helpful. :)

  • Lisa Moorefield

    Thanks, everyone – I’m glad it was useful. :)

  • Janet

    I was wondering about the Two Peas actions and how to download. Thanks so much for the info. I will look into getting some.

  • Sandy

    Is this only for Photoshop, not Photoshop Elements?

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Hi Sandy, the description of Adrienne Looman’s Photoshop actions states that “it will work in just about any Photoshop version (elements and up). CS users have the easiest installation process, while Elements users will have a couple more steps to install. I recommend using Elements 6.0 and up. I would not suggest purchasing this if you have a version lower than 6.0. If you are unsure, please contact me first before placing your order.” I got this info from her Etsy site here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/bucketscrap23

      The Pioneer Woman has some actions made just for Photoshop Elements here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2010/03/pioneer-woman-actions-for-photoshop-elements/

      Hope that helps!

      • Sandy

        Thanks, Lisa, for your quick response. I have PSE 11, so I think I should be good. I have used some actions before, but just wanted to make sure on this since Elements wasn’t mentioned. Thanks again!

        • Lisa Moorefield

          You’re welcome! I’ll update the post to include a note about Elements. :)

  • tracy

    Please tell me what I need to do to get these one click fixes for my photos. I have no photoshop or editing on my computer. What do I need. Thanks Tracy

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Hi Tracy, these actions are only for Photoshop, but you might be able to use an app with photo filters, or online photo editing.

      For apps, try this post: http://lisamoorefield.com/scrappbooking-12-useful-scrapbooking-apps/ My favorite photo filter app is Pic-Tap-Go and I use it often.

      For online photo editing, there are several choices (just do an internet search to see the options). I tried this one: http://www.fotor.com/ and it was easy to use. I hope this helps!

      • tracy

        Which photoshop do I need to get for the one click wonders. Thank you for responing.

        • Lisa Moorefield

          The actions I purchased will work with just about any Photoshop version. For Photoshop Elements, version 6.0 and up is recommended. But keep in mind that Photoshop is a little pricey and has a learning curve, so unless you are already familiar with Photoshop or want a program that does more, you may want to consider an app or photo editing software that offers filters. Photo filters are also one-click wonders! :)

  • ChariRoss

    By the way, if anyone is stuck on how to install Photoshop Actions, check out this guide: How to Use Photoshop Actions

    Cheers and happy Photoshopping!