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15 Creative Photoshop Ideas to Try Yourself in 2024

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 12 min read
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If you want to get creative with Adobe Photoshop, we’ve got a list of creative Photoshop ideas for you to try! Photography isn’t just about what you can do with a camera. There are great ways to get creative and try new things in post-processing.
It can add different effects and take your work in a new direction using Photoshop. Read on for some of the best Photoshop tutorials to run through.


15 Creative Photoshop Ideas to Try

Here’s our list of the best creative ideas for Adobe Photoshop. Take a look, and you’ll find some great techniques for photo editing and post-production manipulation.

1. Change Color Photos to Black and White

Color photography has been around for more than 70 years. And yet, black and white photography still entices photographers today.
With black-and-white photography, you can’t rely on color to make your images impressive. You’re highlighting something different. Look for textures and patterns. Think about content and composition.
These days, you don’t need to go out and buy new rolls of film to create excellent black-and-white images. You can use simple Photoshop editing tools.
Turn your color photos into amazing monochrome photos. Or you can even experiment with color splash effects for a unique result!
The process is straightforward, and you don’t need to be a Photoshop master. Click the link in the heading and follow our easy tutorial on making black-and-white images in Photoshop.

black and white photo of an old wood barn in a field
(Jumpstory. Get a 25% discount on their plans with our code, EXPO25.)

2. Add Lens Flare to Photos

Lens flare is often an inconvenience. And Photoshop is often used to remove it from photos in post-processing. But these days, you can use Photoshop to add flare, too.
Adding lens flare is a great way to give your images a dreamy glaze. It can add mystery and romance to golden hour scenes and sunsets.
Lens technology is constantly improving. High-quality lenses have an anti-reflection coating. It’s a benefit to a lot of photographers. But it means achieving a flare effect naturally is more complicated.
Thankfully, you can get an excellent flare effect with some photo manipulation. We have a simple Photoshop tutorial for adding lens flare in post-production. Click the heading link to give it a go.

A palm tree with lens and sun flare as a creative photoshop idea
Photo by Chirayu Sharma (Unsplash)

3. Use Photoshop for a Double-Exposure Effect

Double exposure is an excellent experimental photography technique you can try. And you can make unique images.
It is a feature of film photography where one section of the film is exposed twice. Initially, this was considered a malfunction. But the double-exposure effect became something photographers wanted.
With a film camera, you have to rewind the film roll to expose the same piece of film a second time. It is a risky process. You never know what the final image looks like until it is developed.
But now, you can add the double-exposure effect to a digital photo thanks to Photoshop. And the process is simple.
The beautiful thing about digital double exposure is the creative control. You no longer need to experiment with film shots. You can get the exact effect without film waste or risk.
You need two images. And using different adjustment layers, you can merge them in Photoshop for a splendid double-exposure effect. Click on the link in the heading for a full Photoshop tutorial.

Portrait of a man through a window with a double exposure as a creative photoshop idea
Photo by Phat Nguyen (Unsplash)

4. Brighten Photos With a Double-Light Effect

A double-light effect gives your images a professional look without a full studio setup. The result is very popular with portrait and fashion photographers.
Using Photoshop, you can create realistic lighting effects. You can give shots a double-light effect with color treatment.
Adding two colors to pictures can create contrasting moods or warmth and coolness. There are a few steps involved. But you learn a few other Photoshop processes along the way.
All you need to start is a digital photo with two light sources. Then, with some Photoshop work, you can transform your image.
You can learn the whole process by following the link in the heading. It’s a great Photoshop tutorial with a complete step-by-step guide.

creative double light effect used to add blue and red to portrait in photoshop
Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos (Unsplash)

5. Create Surreal Miniature Portraits in Photoshop

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be small? You can easily place yourself into a tiny world with a few Photoshop techniques!
You can take inspiration from our contributor, Joel Robison. He’s a master of surreal miniature portraits, creating fantastic scenes full of fun and imagination.
After you’ve browsed Joel’s gallery, you can check out his course or the tutorial through the link in the heading. Learn the specific techniques, then let your imagination run wild.
You can use these effects to introduce elements of fantasy. You can experiment with self-portraits, like Joel and other self-portrait photographers. Or you can use friends and family for surreal portraits.
This type of photo editing does involve some advanced techniques. But even if you are new to Photoshop, you can still try it. It’s a great way to experiment and learn new editing methods.

miniature scene of a man catching coffee beans with a cup as a creative Photoshop idea
© Joel Robison, from Fantastic Photo Adventures

6. Create Amazing Cinemagraphs With Photoshop

Cinemagraphs are a great way to add magic to your photography. These are photos that feature one moving element. It could be snow falling, a swirling sky, or hair moving in the breeze. No matter your photography style, they are a great way to impress.
It’s not a GIF, as most of the photo remains still. It’s only the one element that moves.
Our contributor, Anya Anti, has some excellent cinemagraphs in her collection. She uses them to enhance the magic and wonder in her conceptual portraits.
If Anya’s amazing cinemagraphs inspire you, you can create your own using a few Photoshop actions. You need a short video to work with. Then, you can turn it into a cinemagraph with a few steps.

landscape with a moving sky you can use for cinemagraphs
(Jumpstory. Get a 25% discount on their plans with our code: EXPO25.)

7. Add a Retro 3D Effect to Images Using Photoshop

3D photography comes in and out of fashion all the time. And we’re all familiar with the 3D images you need the retro glasses to look at. But you no longer need any film studio technology to get that effect.
If you click the header link above, you find a video tutorial teaching you how to get this cool Photoshop effect. If you feel inspired, you can also create a 3D text effect!
You can turn any digital photo into a retro 3D image and impress your friends. With a few blending modes and adjustment layers, you’ll be ready for the next 3D trend!

creative portrait in photoshop with retro 3D effect
Photo by James Bak (Unsplash)

8. Create a Watercolor Paint Effect in Photoshop

You can transform your digital photos into beautiful watercolor images. It’s a great way to make portraits even more special.
This photo manipulation technique uses watercolor brushes to create a digital painting. You start with any digital portrait you have. And by adding some textures and brushwork, you can make a digital work of art.
This isn’t the easiest of photo manipulations in Photoshop. But learning this technique gives you plenty of knowledge to apply elsewhere.
Hit the link in the heading above for a tutorial. You learn how to achieve the watercolor effect in Adobe Photoshop.

image of a smiling woman with a watercolor effect
Photoshop edit by Bunty Pundir

9. Create Pop Art With Photoshop

Awaken your inner Andy Warhol and turn your images into some fab pop art pieces.
Take any digital image you have. And with some photo manipulation and painting techniques, you can make something bold and bright. You can change the graphic elements of your photo, turning a standard image into something retro and vibrant.
This Photoshop tutorial teaches you how to desaturate your images. You then learn how to create halftone patterns. These are valuable techniques for other types of photo manipulations.
The link in the heading above gives you a step-by-step guide. Click it and create your own stunning artwork today.

creative photoshop pop art effect on a portrait of Scarlett Johansson
Photoshop edit by Bunty Pundir

10. Give Digital Photos a Retro Feel

Over the years, digital photography has overtaken film. It’s cheaper and more convenient. But many photographers still want that grainy texture you get with film photography.
You don’t need to run out and buy a new roll of film for your old film camera to achieve this look. We’ve got a Photoshop tutorial to give your digital images the film-photo effect.
It’s a simple process with only a few steps to follow. You can use this photo manipulation technique even if you’re a Photoshop beginner. And you won’t be disappointed if you love the look of old photos.
There are plenty of Photoshop tutorials online for this photo effect. Click the heading above for our detailed, step-by-step instructions.

farmer's track through a green field taken with film for a retro effect
Photo by Nick Page (Unsplash)

11. Create Composite Images With Photoshop

Compositing is a creative photo manipulation technique anyone can try. You can start by combining two photos. You can then introduce more details to create stunning images.
The images you use to create composites don’t have to be photos. You can play with mixed media to achieve different effects in your final image.
If you’re experienced with the Adobe program, there won’t be many Photoshop actions that you haven’t seen before. But if you’re a beginner, that’s no problem.
Combining images in Photoshop is easier than you might expect. The link above takes you to one of our best Photoshop tutorials.
One of our creative collaborators, Anna Maghradze, loves creating composite images in Photoshop! She makes her digital collages using layers, blending modes, and other Photoshop techniques. She uses both her images and free stock photos.

a double exposure effect of a transparent man blending into a street scene as a creative Photoshop idea
© Anna Maghradze, from Digital Dreamworlds

12. Create a Cool Droste Image in Photoshop

The Droste effect has a picture within a picture. Usually, it’s the same picture repeated to create a surreal and dream-like effect. Often, it is the same picture repeated several times.
It looks surreal and technically tricky. But the Droste effect is easy to achieve with some photo manipulation in Photoshop.
Your main image needs to include a type of frame. It can be a painting or a TV screen. It is where the image is repeated. If you create the angle correctly, you can repeat your image infinite times. Or it at least gets very small.
The header link above takes you to the ExpertPhotography tutorial. It shows you how to create the Droste effect in Photoshop. And it’s full of extra editing tips and tricks.

Droste effect using a picture frame
© Josh Dunlop, from Wow Factor Photography

13. Try the Multiple Exposure Effect

Multiplicity is an excellent Photoshop effect that adds surrealism and humor to your work. This multiple-exposure effect includes your subject more than once in the same scene.
You can use two images to start with. This is easier because you’ll be using different layer masks. Then, once you get the hang of it, you can experiment with more layers.
The images need to be of the same scene. And the framing of the composition needs to be precisely the same. You then take several photos where your subject is in different positions.
After that, you bring the images together using Photoshop. Hit the link above for one of the best Photoshop tutorials on the multiple-exposure effect.

multiple exposure effect to show of one person with a cold in many positions outdoors

14. Go for a Unique Look With an Infrared Effect

You can completely change the feel and purpose of a set of photos with a few changes in Photoshop. Giving your images an infrared effect is a great way to make them stand out.
Adding an infrared effect is simple but can have a significant impact. And there’s a lot of flexibility with this type of edit, too. You can introduce subtle effects. Or you can completely change the color palette, making them more dramatic.
The process is easy. If you’ve played with adjustment layers and blending modes before, you get the hang of it quickly.
There are some excellent tutorials out there. But if you click on the one in the heading above, you get a great Photoshop tutorial full of extra Photoshop tips.

creative infrared effect on a scene of the sky over a rolling field
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann (Unsplash)

15. Apply a Dreamy Bokeh Effect to Photos

The bokeh effect is when your subject is focused, but your background is out of focus. If you set your aperture to have a shallow depth of field, then the background has a soft blur.
You can achieve this effect with your camera. But if you didn’t get it right at the shoot, you can use Photoshop to add the bokeh effect in post-production.
There are a few steps involved in the process. But you’ll be familiar with most of the Photoshop tools you need.
If you click the link in the heading above, you get an excellent tutorial to add a bokeh effect to your photos. And there are some extra Photoshop tutorials, too.

Mushroom on a forest floor with a bokeh light effect in the background
Photo by Michael Held (Unsplash)

Conclusion: Creative Photoshop Ideas

Creativity with photography doesn’t end when you turn your camera off. There are so many ways to change and add effects to your work with Adobe Photoshop.
You can use the program to remove blemishes, do touch-ups, or add other nifty Photoshop effects to portraits. Or you can completely change your photos using the tutorials we’ve provided in our list.
Even if you’re a beginner with Photoshop, there are some creative Photoshop ideas here you can get started with. Good luck on your journey to becoming a Photoshop expert!