When it comes to photography, mood is everything. And while the word “moody” might have negative connotations at times, it can actually be a wonderful thing. Being able to capture a mood with your images, transporting the viewer to another time and place or another state of mind is almost like magic.
But fully capturing a mood in a photograph can be a challenge. That’s why so many designers rely on Photoshop actions to inject mood into their images. And if you want to convey a darker side, we can definitely help you out with that here today.
But before we get to our list of dark Photoshop actions that convey a moody tone, let’s first pause to discuss how you might use a dark Photoshop action in the first place. These PS actions make it easy to:
- Add a shadow or cast across an entire image.
- Darken up shadows to create a more somber tone.
- Cut back on the brightness of sunlight in a photo to mimic the cast of a cloudy day.
- Give a standard image a spooky or seasonal tone.
- Amplify the contrast of black, red, blue, and green tones.
- Capture a specific filmic style.
These are just a few reasons to have a healthy stash of dark Photoshop actions in your collection. And now, without further adieu, our list:
The first Photoshop action we want to discuss is the aptly-named Dark Photography collection. This set includes 10 different Photoshop actions that can be used for portraits, landscapes, nature photography, products, and more. It adds a dark tone to your images, amplifying reds and black. You can use your edit images for web and for print and the actions work with just a single click. All actions are non-destructive, and you get full PDF instructions as well.
Another appropriately named set on our list is the Moody Photoshop Actions collection. This one comes with a single Photoshop action that helps to add a warm, faded, and darker tone to your images. It looks like fall wrapped up in a PS action, if you ask us. Add it to your images with one click, plus it’s non-destructive, fully editable, and makes use of layers appropriately so you can always perform more edits later with ease. The included ReadMe file takes away the guesswork, too.
Another option is this Rainy Day Photoshop Action, which makes it as easy as a single click to add a rain effect to your images. All the connotations rain brings will immediately bring a moody tone to your photographs. This action is non-destructive and creates a rain effect over top of your images — as though looking through a window. It makes full use of layers, is well-organized, editable, and comes with PDF instructions.
Still another option is the Thriller Lights set. This Photoshop action sets an ominous tone, putting the subject of your photo under a spotlight and creating a sort of glow around them, with particle effects, to boot. It’s non-destructive, of course, and can be used with a single click. It comes with full instructions should questions arise and the effect itself is layered, so you can make customizations as you see fit.
Next up is the Sketch Art Photoshop Actions set, which turns any image into a realistic sketch. It adds the style of a professional drawing to your photographs, which can turn any design into something more professional, contemplative, and moody. This effect is non-destructive and fully editable, so if you want to make adjustments to what’s emphasized in the final “drawing,” you can do that.
Another option for adding moodiness to your designs is the Double Lighting Photoshop Action set. This one allows you to create a double lightning effect on your photos — that is, two sources of light casting across your photo’s subject. This action uses full layers so you can make edits and even undo changes easily. It’s also non-destructive and gives you a lot of wiggle room to make customizations. And the end result is realistic, which is even better.
Next up is the GIF Glitch Animated Photoshop Action template, which is markedly different from the others featured on this list so far. When applied, it creates an animated GIF or video sequence out of your photographs with a glitch effect applied. It’s easy to use and can be applied with minimal effort. The download itself consists of a well-layered PSD file that’s easy to edit and customize. Full instructions are included as well.
And there’s also the Modern Film Photoshop Actions set that uses the rich and deep tons of films set as filters to readily apply to your images. Think shades of deep burgundy, forest green, vivid black, and soft cream. Each action is configured to give your photos depth, character and added visual interest. And like all the other actions featured here, it won’t destroy your original image. Set a mood befitting of a movie with this set.
The inspiration behind this set of Photoshop actions is no mystery. You can fully capture the gritty underbelly of the GTA world with this Grand Theft Photoshop Action set. To use, all you have to do is fill in your photo’s subject with a color then apply the action to it. The end result is a gritty effect that looks like it came right out of the game itself. It’s loaded with style, attitude, and a bit of grunge, too.
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t introduce you to the Garden Photoshop Actions, which add a dark and earthy feel to your images. It’s designed to be used on outdoor, nature, and garden photography with filters that add warmth, depth, vibrancy, and even a faded look to those photos of plants and trees. These are a great choice for adding some style to images of people and products, too. Full instructions are included, the action is non-destructive, and it’s easy to edit, customize, and implement thanks to fully editable and well-organized layers.