FREE PHOTOSHOP ACTION – Get it here! Touch of Light | Touch of Darkness


Have you ever wanted to just lighten the face in your photo? Have you ever wanted to just lighten a part of a photo you did not expose properly?

Have you ever wanted to add emphasis to part of the photo by darkening the surround area but leaving the subject lighter?

If so, I have a special treat for you. It is an action called “Touch of Light | Touch of Darkness.” It will help you achieve this look! I have been getting requests to make and sell an action like this for months. But I have decided as a gift to my loyal MCP Actions Blog Readers to make this a FREE action.

In exchange for the free action, I would love for you to spread the word about my blog -tell your photographer friends to come get the action here too. This is a Blog EXCLUSIVE. This one will NOT be going on my regular website.

Click here to download this action – compatible in Photoshop CS and up and Elements 5 and up.


Here are step by step details on using this action:

1. Start out by unzipping and installing the action – details available in my video tutorial on how to install and use actions.

2. You can use this action any time in your editing process. Just make sure no solid pixel layers are above this. Adjustment layers can be on top of this however. I usually do all of my editing before using this action, unless I need major lightening help. Then I may run it earlier on. This action works exceptionally in conjunction with my Complete Workflow Actions Set and with the Quickie Collection Actions. When you are ready to use them click PLAY button.

3. The action will run and leave you with 2 layers. One called “Touch if Light” and one called “Touch of Darkness.” Make sure to select the layer you want to work on and that the mask is selected to, as shown.


4. Now select your brush tool – make sure to click back to your default colors (black and white). White reveals the effect, black conceals the effect.


5. Make sure to vary your opacity of your BRUSH as shown below. You do NOT want to use it at 100%. You will want it way lower. You will want an airbrush soft round brush and will want to vary the hardness. Do not use this at 100%. You will want to use the brush at 0-50% hardness. In areas where you want it feathering out, you can keep it at “0.” In areas where you do NOT want a halo effect, for example if you are darkening close to a person to make them stand out, you will want it between 30-50%. I will still feather but there will be less of one, so less chance of a halo around your subject(s).


6. Last step is to actually paint on the Light or Darkness. Often you will want a little of both. This usually is my last step in editing a photo but it can be used anytime. You can see the masks and how I revealed and concealed light to emphasize my twins riding their bikes. This photo was shot in full sun in the middle of the afternoon. Yet with this set and proper exposure it does not have that noon sunlight look at all.


7. Enjoy this action. Please use the SHARE ME button below to share this blog page so your photographer friends can download the action. Also, if you find this tutorial useful and are happy with the action, please leave a comment. Thanks and enjoy the fun freebie.


Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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  1. 2

    Adrianne says

    Jodi ~ Thank you so much for the action and the detailed instructions on how to use it! You da bomb, babe! 😀

  2. 6

    Julie Cook says

    wow Jodi, this is very cool! Thank you! I will download and share this after I get my dd to school.

  3. 7


    Thanks Jodi……..I just used them and you are a lifesaver!!! As I have said before….Jodi’s actions are absolutely “the best” out there!

  4. 16

    Missy says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I can’t wait to try it out! And I’ll share your site too!

  5. 17

    Tracy YH says

    Wow, thanks so much! I can’t wait to try this one… thanks for the instructions too!


  6. 33

    Rene says

    Jodi, Thanks for the action. I have purchased a few of yours. I’m off to your site to check out a few more. You rock girl!!!

  7. 34

    Kristy says

    Thanks Jodie!! You are da bomb with your actions and tutorials. I’m learning so much from you. Love love love your blog.

  8. 38


    Jodie – you’re the best! I can’t wait to try this action. I think I’ll write a little blurb about your and your actions on my blog and show some examples of my favorite things that you offer. Is that ok?

  9. 41

    Marieke says

    Thank you very much for sharing. I’m planning on editing some pics this weekend and will certainly try it out!

  10. 43

    charleigh says

    thanks jodi! i purchased your workflow actions – but your crackle examples look so good i might have to get the quickies too! :)

  11. 44


    Glad everyone is loving this.

    I would love for you all to post examples on my flickr group (link at the top of each post).

    And a few of you mentioned “Crackle” – yep – “snap, crackle and pop” but especially “crackle” have become my favorite go to actions for photos that are really good SOOC but need a boost. It is amazing. Sometimes it, plus this free one, complete an already well exposed, well focused photo.

  12. 50

    kellie says

    Thanks !!!!!!! I’ve purchased a few other action sets only to go unused(for the most part) I wish I had
    found your site before wasting all that money!!!! Your stuff is really great !!!!

  13. 60

    Chi-Girl says

    You have amazing before and after photos, Jodi! And your detailed explanation is great for beginners. Thank you.

    THe only problem……Does this action work in PSE? (I have 6.0) With most of the actions I’ve tried in PSE, a box comes up once the action is clicked and says there is no “xxxx” command (“Make” or something to that effect). So although the action is loaded and shows up in a layer, it can’t be adjusted. Would LOVE to know. Thank you. Colleen

  14. 68

    A. Michelle says

    Thanks for the free action. I look forward to using it. I found your blog on the Adobe exchange website. I would like to know if I can link your site to my myspace page? Feel free to contact me thru my email address. This blog is just what I have been looking for. I’m a newbie photographer. Thank you for all your time and effort in advance.

  15. 70


    Your site/store is just what I’ve been looking for! So excited to work towards making purchases on your site here. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to link to you from my blog as well. Thanks!!!!

  16. 71

    carrie says

    Thank you so much! I just bought some actions, and was so delighted to learn that there are also some free ones! This will keep me buying more from you and telling everyone I know about your actions! I feel really good about spending my hard earned money with such a generous person!

  17. 81


    I love your work, and thanks for the great free actions! You are great! 😀

    I will also buy som actions from you, but I must decide which one first! :)

  18. 85


    Jodi, this is a remarkable action. I’ve been playing with my new purchase – your amazing Frosted Memories collection, and noticed that you’d sent this one free with the purchase. Thank you!

  19. 89

    Ashley says

    I have downloaded touch of light touch of darkness, but in my actions palette, that square is black, however when I hover my mouse over it, it doesn’t tell me that it is indeed that action. So, I drag is to my photo and a box pops up saying to “Have fun playing with your photos” etc, but it doesn’t work. I am not left with the two layers I am supposed to be…please help!

  20. 92

    Ashley says

    I apologize, I should have mentioned that I downloaded that action at the same time as all of the other freebies, but Burnt Edges, Gallery Frame, Watermark, and Touch of Light/Touch of Darkness are the only ones that show up as black icons.

    • 94

      erin says

      Hi Ashley, Touch of Light does not install like the other actions. Please delete it, return to the instructions that came in your download, and reinstall it following the instructions. Thanks, Erin

  21. 95

    Kristi says

    I am trying to install the touch of light action, I have read the install directions, but when I go to do the touch of light action there is no atn file in that folder. Am I missing a direction?
    Thanks for the help and your great actions.

  22. 97

    Groa ValgerdurIngimundardottir says

    when I download the free action package there is no atn file for the touch of light / touch of darkness action…

    Love your site btw!

    Best wishes,


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