Enhancing City Photos Using Photoshop Film Actions

Editing A Dreamy City Scene Using the Photoshop Film Action Collection

We don't know about you, but capturing and editing images taken in the city are some of our favorites! We've created this blog post to show you how we created a dreamy city scene with the Pretty Film Photoshop Actions Collection. Want to learn more? Keep reading! 

Editing A Dreamy City Scene Using the Photoshop Film Action Collection

 As you can see, this image started off a bit bland...pretty, but bland. We wanted to create a dreamy feel and bring out the colors and pastels and thought, "What better collection to do the job than the Film Photoshop Action Collection! We are going to walk you through this edit step by step as we cover the actions used and selective adjustments made to complete this fun and custom look. The best part is, this edit should only take 1-2 minutes to complete! Woop!

Before we go over the steps however, let's take a brief look at this collection. The Pretty Actions Film Collection is comprised of a total of 75 rich filmy actions equipped to give you the perfect, custom film look. There are 4 film processing actions, 5 mini retouch actions, 23 all-in-one actions, 9 black & white actions, 17 film add-ons, 10 bonus light leaks, 4 brushes and 6 workflow actions. Yes this is a complete workflow for anyone who wants to get the perfect, lush filmy look in record time and have fun while you're doing it!

Getting back on track, let's talk about how to complete this look in ten easy steps in Photoshop. Keep in mind you can follow along for Photoshop Elements 11 and higher as well as Photoshop CS3-CS6 and CC.

Before we start, make sure to have your Film collection open in your Actions Panel in Photoshop.

(Side note: here's a great article on how you can use your actions to improve your Photoshop knowledge)

Editing A Dreamy City Scene Using the Photoshop Film Action Collection
  • Step 1 run the "Darken" action and bring the opacity down to 72%. Use your layer mask to remove some of the depth off of the subject. I like to use a large brush at about a 35% opacity. 
  • Step 2 run the "Sparkle & Shine" action and bring the opacity down to 8%. This brings just a little bit of contrast and punch to the image.
  • Step 3 run the "Chantilly Lace" action and bring the opacity down to 10%. This creates the perfect amount of soft warmth. Remove some of this enhancement from your subject using a layer mask, you don't want them to look too washed out.
  • Step 4 run the "Vintage Dream" action and bring the opacity to 26%. This action does a wonderful job at brightening your image while punching up the pretty pastel tones!
  • Step 5 (We're halfway there!) play the "Filmy Color" action and reduce the opacity to 15%. This enhancement will give the perfect amount of soft, filmy color. Use your layer mask again to remove some of this enhancement from your subject so their skin doesn't appear oversaturated. 
  • Step 6 play the "Clean Film-Warm" action and reduce the opacity to 8% to add the perfect touch of warm, filmy goodness!
  • Step 7 Play the "Glitz" action and reduce the opacity to 7% for the perfect touch of bright glitzy film!
  • Step 8 Play the brush, "Darkroom Burn" and use a soft white brush to reveal rich, defined skin (In this particular image, her face was still a little washed out which is why we added this step, if the skin is not washed out go ahead and skip the Darkroom Burn brush!
  • Step 9 Play the BONUS Pastel Dream Light leak and lower it to 75% opacity. We removed a little of the enhancement from the subject's skin.
  • Step 10 Lastly, play the BONUS Pretty Sunrise Light Leak and voila! You're done!

That was super fun to do and the best part was all we had to do was pick an action, press play and adjust the opacity as desired for a custom look. We also love that it is so easy to use the layer masks for each of the actions to make selective adjustments. 

Here's a link to another one of my tutorials and video on using the Film Collection actions to create blur around the edges of your image to enhance the depth of field.

Do you want to play with this collection too? Or maybe just see some more amazing before and after images? You can take a closer look at the Pretty Actions Film Collection here.

And be sure to check out all of our other professional Photoshop Action and Overlay Collections

If you're more of a visual learner? We've got you covered with a complete video tutorial of this edit below, enjoy!

Enhancing Your City Image with a Film Look - Video Tutorial

Watch as we show you how easy (and fast!) it is to create a fun filmy edit in Photoshop. Use this tutorial for Photoshop Elements 11-18 and higher as well as CS3-CS6 & Creative Cloud.