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15 Creative Photoshop Ideas to Try Yourself in 2023

Last updated: September 21, 2023 - 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.

You 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.

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15 Creative Photoshop Ideas to Try Now

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. Turn Your Color Photos 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
Photo from Jumpstory. Get a 25% discount on their plans with our code, EXPO25.

2. Add Lens Flare to Your 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.

lens flare in a surreal forest scene used as a creative photoshop effect
Photo by Benn McGuinness (Unsplash)

3. Use Photoshop for Double-Exposure Effect

Double exposure is an excellent experimental photography technique you can try yourself. 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. And you never know what the final image will look 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.

You need two images. And using different adjustment layers, you can merge them in Photoshop for a splendid double-exposure effect.

And 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.

Click on the link in the heading for a full Photoshop tutorial.

In her artwork, digital collage artist Anna Maghradze uses layers, blending modes, and other Photoshop techniques to create effects like this. 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

4. Brighten Your 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 will 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.

Once you’ve browsed Joel’s gallery, you can check out 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. No matter your photography style, they are a great way to impress.

These are photos that feature one moving element. It could be snow falling, a swirling sky, or hair moving in the breeze.

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 fantasy photography.

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
Photo from Jumpstory. Get a 25% discount on their plans with our code: EXPO25.

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

3D 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’ll 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 Without Washing Brushes

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 will give you plenty of knowledge to apply elsewhere.

Hit the link in the heading above for a tutorial. You’ll 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 will teach you how to desaturate your images. Then you will learn how to create halftone patterns. These will be valuable techniques for other types of photo manipulations.

The link in the heading above will give 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 Your 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 photos.

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. Then you can 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.

One of our collaborators, Anna Maghradze, loves creating composite images in Photoshop! Be sure to check out her gallery and e-book for inspiration.

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 will take you to one of the best Photoshop tutorials.

composite image of a moon in a night sky over a bright desert scene as a creative Photoshop idea
Photo by Eriks Abzinovs (Unsplash)

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 will be 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 will be where the image is repeated.

If you get the angle correct, you can repeat your image infinite times. Or it will at least get very small.

The header link above will take you to the Expert Photography 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 will need to be of the same scene. And the framing of the composition needs to be precisely the same. Then you 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
Photo from DepositPhotos

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 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’ll 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’ll 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 Your 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 will have 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’ll get an excellent tutorial to add a bokeh effect to your photos. And there are some extra Photoshop tutorials too.

bokeh effect created in photoshop on a tree branch with berries
Photo by Aaron Blanco Tejedor (Unsplash)

Conclusion: Creative Photoshop Ideas to Try Yourself

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 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!

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