Photo Filters in PhotoShop are similar to the lens filters you would place on the front of an SLR or DSLR lens in order to alter the light hitting the film or senor.  You may be most familiar with polarizing filters and UV filters as these are fairly common in film photography.  On-camera filters are not used as often in digital photography because the camera itself can compensate for lighting and post-processing software such as PhotoShop has many features to add the effects of a filter after the fact.  However the PhotoShop photo filters go a bit beyond the familiar polarizing and UV filters.  A good range of easy to use warming and cooling filters are offered in PhotoShop (I’m using CS4) to subtract the blue tones or the orange tones from an image.  Additional colored filters from magenta to green are also available for artistic effects.

It is rather easy to apply one of these filters.

1.  Start by creating a new adjustment layer.  From the Layers Menu select New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter.
2.  This will open a “New Layer” dialog box for you to name the layer and define its properties.

New Layer Dialog Box

3.  You will now have a new layer and the Photo Filters will show in your Adjustments window.

4.  The rest is just as easy.  Either select a predefined filter from the filter drop down menu or create your own colred filter with infinite possibilities by using the color selection option.

Experiment with different colors as each will have a different effect on different images.  Some can make a sky more dramatic in your landscapes or neutralize shadows for images taken on a bright day or just to give your photograph your own artistic twist.  Here are some examples of the filters applied to one of my images.

Photo example before applying any PhotoShop photo filters
Before: No PhotoShop Photo Filters applied
Photo example with a PhotoShop cooling filter applied
Same image as above with a cooling filter applied.
Photo example with a PhotoShop warming filter applied
Warming filter applied.
Photo example with a PhotoShop magenta filter applied
Magenta photo filter

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