Nik Effects: The Best Free Photo Filters On The Web

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I'm not much of a Photoshop geek. My motto has always been "Get it right in camera." This helps to keep my time in Photoshop to an absolute minimum.

Still, there's something to be said for post-processing to make pictures better.

Photoshop plug-ins are a great way to help get the "look" you want for individual images. But many of these plug-ins are quite expensive. 

For years I've wanted to use the Nik Effects suite of Photoshop plug-ins. But I never wanted to spend the money for them. And now, I don't have to. 

Last month, Google, which owns Nik Effects made the software free. I've taken the plug-ins for a test spin and I'm super impressed.

Here are three different landscape images all processed using Nik Effects plug-ins for Photoshop. Each caption has the settings used and which filters were applied to the different images all in a matter of minutes.

A photograph of the Sand Dunes National Park using a Canon 30D and  100-400mm lens. Shot at f5, 1/1250, ISO 100. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A photograph of the Sand Dunes National Park using a Canon 30D and 100-400mm lens. Shot at f5, 1/1250, ISO 100.

Processed with Nik Effects' graduated bi-color filter in Color Efex Pro 4. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Processed with Nik Effects' graduated bi-color filter in Color Efex Pro 4.

Processed with Nik Effects' full dynamic filter with Silver Efex Pro 2. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Processed with Nik Effects' full dynamic filter with Silver Efex Pro 2.

Normally, this would take a lot of time and trial and error for me to achieve the looks that l've achieved here. 

A photograph of  Red Rock Canyon using a Canon 5D and 17-40mm lens. Shot at f7.1, 1/200, ISO 125. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A photograph of Red Rock Canyon using a Canon 5D and 17-40mm lens. Shot at f7.1, 1/200, ISO 125.

Processed with Nik Effects' neutral density filter with a color gradient in Color Efex Pro 4. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Processed with Nik Effects' neutral density filter with a color gradient in Color Efex Pro 4.

Processed with Nik Effects' single image tone-mapping HDR Efex Pro 2. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Processed with Nik Effects' single image tone-mapping HDR Efex Pro 2.
A photograph of the tunnel #1 on Gold Camp Rd. using a Canon 5D and  17-40mm lens. Shot at f9, 1/100, ISO 50. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A photograph of the tunnel #1 on Gold Camp Rd. using a Canon 5D and 17-40mm lens. Shot at f9, 1/100, ISO 50.
Processed with Nik Effects' wet plate camera 6 in Analog Efex Pro 2. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Processed with Nik Effects' wet plate camera 6 in Analog Efex Pro 2.
Processed with Nik Effects' black and white conversion in Color Efex Pro 4. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Processed with Nik Effects' black and white conversion in Color Efex Pro 4.

If you want to take your photographs to the next level using Photoshop and save time then I highly recommend grabbing Nik Effect's free suite of photoshop filters here. You won't be disappointed.

Colorado Springs wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. You can see his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the Colorado Springs Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image - no more than two a week, please - to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.




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