Tips & Techniques – Photoshop Actions

Photoshop Actions are an essential tool for the modern day scrapper. No more fuzzy photos. No more awful red eyes, bad colouring or shots full of anything but the main subject.

Photoshop Actions defined are: – a series of things you do to your photo to make it look better or change it’s appearance.

So, if you normally do simple things like adjust the colour of your photo, then add some contrast, then maybe burn around the edges – you are performing single “actions”. A Photoshop action is simply putting all of those smaller, single actions together in one hit so that all you have to do is click the “play” button and it will perform all of those tasks for you. Much better in terms of time management!

There are many actions out there to choose from, but as a scrapbooker it would be best to limit yourself to a few to start learning with and then go on from there when you feel confident.

You will find that you have a set of “default” actions with your Photoshop program. These can be found in your Tool palette.

They will be simple actions like “Commands”, “Easy Edges”, “FRames” and “Video Actions” to name a few.

For my scrapping, I have downloaded the following:

* “Hayes Island Variant”

* “Old/Vintage Photo”

* “Vintage Grunge”

* “Colour Differences”

* “Polaroid”

* “High Pass”

There are plenty more out there but I find that they are variations on the same thing, plus these are the ones I go back to all the time.

Here’s an example of what an action can do to your photo:

This is the “Before” shot – it has been cropped in PS and highlighted a bit.

img_1250edit  img_1250edit-grunge

The photo on the right is the same photo after the “Vintage Grunge” action has been applied.

I can achieve the same effect without using actions. By applying a heap of filters, plus masks, plus adjusting the curves etc. It would take me about 30 minutes of “playing”. By using the Action tool, I changed the photo in about 3 seconds. Seriously. Then just saved as normal.

Disadvantages of actions can be that they don’t suit every photo or don’t allow you to make minute adjustments to them. But that’s the only thing I can think of that is even slightly problematic. Otherwise it’s all good 🙂

Here’s another kooky action:

It’s called the “Stamding PHoto” action – designed to make your photo look like it’s standing up with a frame around it and a shadow behind it:

Here’s the original:


And here’s the photo with the action applied:


Cute, huh?

So get out there on the net and start looking around for some actions you would like to use. There are some great freebies available on some scrapping sites as well as Deviantart and Ladyoak.

Have fun and happy scrapping!

Sares x


3 Responses

  1. Hi Sares
    Just wondering where you do your classes. Also thanks for your ps action tips.


  2. I have devised a free ‘color pop’ contrast boost and color action – it can be downloaded at

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