10 Must-Have Photoshop Plugins That Are Free | Light Stalking

10 Must-Have Photoshop Plugins That Are Free

By Christopher O'Donnell / September 21, 2010

If you're looking for new and creative ways to edit or enhance your images,  plugins can make your Photoshop workflow go so much smoother. Whether you want to add some noise or create some stunning color effects, we've got a fantastic list for you – and all completely free!
1. virtualPhotographer by optikVerve Labs
For those who haven't grasped all the nooks and crannies of Photoshop yet, or simply don't want to spend hours tweaking an image, virtualPhotographer is a simple plugin that has over 200 presets for you to apply to your images. There is also a very nifty split-screen preview function that allows you to see the before-and-after of your edit.
2. SuperPNG by fnord
This incredible plugin works with Photoshop to process and save PNG files much faster, and also saves them in a smaller size. If you work with PNG files often but dread the amount of time it takes to process them, then this plugin is for you.
3. Curves by Mehdi
If you haven't mastered the idea behind curves yet, this plugin has eight common presets to select from, allowing you to choose which one compliments your photo the best.
4. B/W Conversion by photo-plugins.com
While you can change your image to black and white in Photoshop, this plugin takes it a step further by allowing you to select presets that imitate the common tonal effects of popular black and white films. Those who have an appreciation for black and white analog photography will enjoy this versatile plugin.
5. Local Contrast Enhancement by photo-plugins.com
Another great resource from photo-plugins.com, this Photoshop plugin allows you to accurately increase the contrast without losing too much detail. The effects from this are more representative of an image sharpening plugin rather than a contrast adjustment, but it still works nicely as it can also help clear up any “cloudiness” in your photo. Before-and-after samples are available on their website linked above.
6. Photomatic by Cybia Software
This Photoshop file has 8 different plugins in one, ranging from a night-vision effect to replicating the fast, grainy effects of b/w film. You may not find use for all of the plugins, but it's definitely a great collection to experiment with.
7. Grain Generator by Richard Rosenman
A fully customizable grain producer that also looks fantastic on color images. Richard also has many other free Photoshop plugins on his download page.
8. Hot Pixel by Red Paw Media
If you're a digital photographer, then you've encountered the annoying hot pixels that plague long exposures, especially taken in low-light situations. This handy plugin can automatically detect and remove those hot pixels without having to use your clone stamp or healing brush.
9. Wire Worm by MV's Plugins
Personally, I can't wait to use this plugin. If you have outdoor images spoiled with telephone wires draping across your skyline, then this tool will help you remove them without spending hours with your clone stamp. The best part about this plugin is that it has unlimited undo/redo and advanced color matching for seamless patches.
10 . Plug-In Switch by Cybia Software
With all your new plugins, you need a seamless way to organize them before things get out of control. This plugin is actually an application that organizes your existing plugins by allowing you to disable and enable them with a single click, which will cut down on your PS desktop clutter.
Read more great articles by Christopher O’Donnell at his blog or follow him on Facebook.

About the author

Christopher O'Donnell

I'm a professional landscape photographer living on the coast of Maine. Through my work, I like to show a vantage point that is rarely seen in reality; a show of beauty, emotion, and serenity. Feel free to visit my website.


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