9 Best Photoshop Plugins for 2022 (Free & Paid)
Photoshop plugins are add-ons you can install to bring more features to Adobe’s primary photo editor.
They bring more filters and presets for you to work with and improve your workflow.
In this post, we’ve rounded up our picks for the best Photoshop plugins available. You’ll find free and premium plugins in the list below.
The Best Photoshop Plugins
Here are our top three picks:
- Luminar Neo – Best plugin for touch ups. Uses AI technology for background and object removal, contrast, enhancements and more.
- ON1 Effects – Best Photoshop plugin for effects.
- Nik Collection – Best multipurpose plugin. Includes 8 Photoshop plugins.
01. Luminar Neo
Luminar Neo is a powerful photo editing plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom. It also works as a standalone desktop application.
Many of the plugin’s top features use artificial intelligence (AI) to get the job done, starting with FaceAI and SkinAI.
These tools help you touch up portrait photos by applying corrections to your subject’s facial structure, eyes, lips, skin tone and skin texture.
The Portrait BokehAI tool turns the background behind your subject into a bokeh background blur. Control the bokeh’s depth of field, softness and opacity.
AI technology can even remove backgrounds automatically. Doing so enables you to turn your subject into its own layer.
The StructureAI increases the contrast of images to bring out details around human subjects.
There’s even another contrast-based AI tool called Supercontrast. This one combines six AI tools that define highlights, midtones and shadows, creating warmer and more vibrant final images.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the other features Luminar Neo offers:
- Mask up to nine objects at once.
- Remove objects from images.
- RelightAI to relight backlit photos or lighten up dark photos.
- Realistic sun rays that can be placed anywhere in the photo. They even hide behind objects like trees.
- Cleans blemishes and dust spots automatically.
- Noise reduction.
- EnhanceAI to improve color quality, details and tones.
- AccentAI to improve shadows, highlights, contrast, tone, saturation and exposure.
- AtmosphereAI to add realistic mist and fog to images.
02. ON1 Effects
ON1 Effects is a Lightroom and Photoshop plugin that can also act as a standalone desktop app.
The plugin is essentially a collection of image effects, filters, LUTs and presets.
A few of its effects are named Sun Glow, Golden Autumn, B&W Modern, Vivid Landscape, Color Twist, Hot Desert, Deep Forest, Street, Color Grade and Instant Film.
Every item available in the collection is customizable. You can also stack effects, filters, presets, borders and textures to create your own designs.
The plugin even enables you to select specific areas of your image to apply effects to.
You can also create and save your own presets.
Price: $69.99 on its own. The ON1 Professional Bundle, which comes with four additional plugins, costs $149.99. A 14-day free trial is available.
03. Nik Collection
Nik Collection is a set of eight individual Photoshop plugins packaged in an affordable bundle. It’s also available for Lightroom as well as desktop apps.
Here are brief descriptions of each plugin included in the bundle:
- Color Efex – A set of 50 filters, 20 image recipes and 29 film grains. Each filter comes in six modes.
- Silver Efex – Black-and-white photography filters, controls and settings. Also includes 20 filters and effects that mimic old film types, such as Kodak Tri-X 400, Ilford Delta 100 and Fuji Neopan.
- Dfine – Noise reduction. Even enables you to reduce noise in specific areas of images rather than whole images.
- Viveza – 14 color presets. Adjust colors, tones and saturation in specific areas of your photos. Save and export presets.
- Analog Efex – Vintage effects and settings that enable you to recreate looks from “over 160 years of photography.” Save your own recipes and presets.
- HDR Efex – Uses an advanced tone-mapping algorithm to create the multiple exposures required for a proper HDR image, all while using a single reference image.
- Sharpener – Uses a two-step process for image sharpening: pre-sharpening and output sharpening. The latter step sharpens your image based on how you intend to use it. You can also sharpen specific areas of images.
- Perspective Efex – Correct perspectives, fix volume deformation automatically, correct optical distortions and create miniature worlds.
Sliders and settings enable you to customize the tools available in every one of these plugins.
Price: $149. A 30-day free trial is available.
04. Pexels Pro
Pexels is a free stock image site that offers millions of quality, attribution-free stock images and videos.
This is Pexels Pro, a collection of tools that enable you to add the stock image library to a variety of different applications.
One of these is Photoshop.
Instead of searching for an image on Pexels.com, downloading it, then uploading it to your Photoshop project, you can search through the library directly from Photoshop.
Pexels sorting options for search are included as well.
05. Aurora HDR
Aurora HDR is an advanced HDR photo editor that can be used as a plugin in Adobe Photoshop as well as Lightroom.
Create an HDR photo from multiple brackets like usual, or create one from a single image with the plugin’s use of AI technology.
The plugin also offers over 20 tools, including HDR Denoise, Polarizing Filter, Color Toning, LUT Mapping, HDR Details Boost, HSL, Tone Curn, Dodge & Burn, and Vignette.
They allow you to create vibrant, no-noise, halo-free HDR images that emphasize details and boost clarity.
The plugin also includes over 80 looks that allow you to apply pre-curated styles to images in one click.
They were designed in collaboration with renowned photographers, including Serge Ramelli, Trey Ratcliff and Randy Van Duinen.
You can also work with multiple layers, blending modes and masking. The plugin even supports bulk image processing and raw images.
06. Camera Raw
Camera Raw is a Photoshop plugin developed by Adobe themselves. It’s included with Photoshop and After Effects.
It essentially brings the power of Adobe Lightroom to Photoshop.
In fact, as Adobe states, “Adobe Lightroom is built upon the same powerful raw image processing technology that powers Adobe Camera Raw.”
That’s the beauty of Camera Raw. It enables you to work with raw images by constructing color images from the unprocessed, uncompressed grayscale images your camera produces when you take photos.
This gives you more control over the image editing process since the images you normally import into Photoshop are compressed by your camera.
Camera Raw even preserves original raw files as you make changes in Photoshop.
The only caveat is that Photoshop cannot save images in a raw camera file format. You must use PSD, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, PSB or PBM.
Processed files can be saved in DNG, JPEG, TIFF and PSD formats.
RH Hover Color Picker is a simple Photoshop plugin that acts as a lightweight alternative to Photoshop’s complicated default color picker tool.
It appears as a small pop-up that hovers over your layer. Minimize the dialogue box when you decide on a color, or lock it in place.
After choosing a color to work with, use the sliders on the plugin’s interface to control hue, saturation and brightness. No more percentages and confusing controls!
Fontself is a Photoshop plugin that allows you to make your own fonts. It also comes in an Adobe Illustrator version.
The way the plugin works is simple: you drag and drop shapes in Photoshop until you create glyphs in the style you want.
Each glyph becomes a different letter in your very own typeface.
You can even create alternates and ligatures for each original glyph.
There are also spacing and kerning settings you can adjust. They help you apply appropriate spacing to individual fonts and font pairings.
You can apply your own metrics for kerning or borrow them from an existing font.
Finally, Fontself includes support for OpenType SVG fonts. This means you can apply colors, shades and gradients to your fonts.
The best part about this plugin is the fact that it allows you to export your font as an OTF file so you can use it elsewhere.
Ink is a great Photoshop plugin for designers who use the app to make UI designs for developers.
As you create your design, Ink documents technical aspects of your project.
These include the HTML5 effects you used, widths, heights, font names, font styles, font sizes, font colors and more.
You, as the designer, can choose which properties to output and showcase to the developer you’re working with.
It prevents confusion with the technical measurements and properties within a Photoshop project when you hand it over to your developer. Overall, it makes defining these properties much simpler.
Final Thoughts On Photoshop Plugins
Photoshop plugins improve your workflow and give you access to more advanced features not available in Photoshop by default.
Take a look at your current workflow, and consider a few ways you could improve it. You can also consider strategies and techniques you’re curious about but have never tried before.
The most powerful plugins on this list have similar price points, so budget is not a reliable deciding factor here.
If you’re growing tired of Photoshop altogether, check out our list of Photoshop alternatives.