Free Photoshop Actions for Advanced Photo Editing

There are many situations where we may want to retouch the dark or light areas of our photos. In doing this we may only want to affect these specific areas leaving the rest of the photo alone. Take these photos for example

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Desired outcome

In this photo on the right, I want to darken the shadow areas to give the photo more ‘pop’ by adding that depth. I also want to remove the orange colour cast in only the mountain area without touching the sky and I want these effects to appear natural.

Mountain-Sunset-Before

Desired outcome

I want to combine the lighter parts of the left photo with the darker looking sky and water of the right photo. I want to do this to expand out the colour range that I would normally get with one photo, but I don’t want to use standard HDR processing as I don’t like the artificial look that it gives. I also don’t want to just drop in a gradient or manually mask as it won’t blend these 2 photos smoothly.

Photo2med
Photo3med

What’s the Solution?

By using the free Lenny K Actions Toolkit for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements in a technique called luminosity masking.
Without going all technical, luminosity masking allows us to get Photoshop Elements to automatically select these light or dark areas of the photo so that we can make smooth controlled changes to these selected areas.

The toolkit will automatically select these light or dark areas in our photo.
We can then use the standard Photoshop tools to blend these selected areas.

You can download a free copy of The Lenny K Actions Toolkit for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements from my store.

Use this toolkit for:

  • Advanced image editing

  • Luminosity masking & digital blending

  • Creating Orton effect
  • Creating dodge / burn layer
  • Creating autumn colours

So those photos what do they look like now?

Below is the mountain image after using the toolkit to apply a cyan color filter to just the mountain area. I’ve also lightened up some parts of the treetops and darkened parts of the mountain terrain to add photo depth.
Although these changes are subtle taking no more than 10 minutes, we can see that the difference is huge. The edited mountain landscape image has more depth, more color contrast and is more appealing than the before photo.

Underneath the mountain image is the result of blending the 2 jetty images together. The lighter parts of one picture was combined with the darker parts of the other resulting in increased dynamic range and intensities in the sky. I’ve also used the dodge burn action to make the jetty section pop out of this picture more.

Mountain-Sunset-Before
Mountain Sunset
Photo2med