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All You Need to Know About Sepia-Toned Photography

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

Sepia-toned photography is a type of photography that has been used for years. The idea of sepia toning first came about in paintings. Great painters like Rembrandt and Da Vinci used reddish-brown pigmented paint to create a specific aesthetic.

The technique was integrated into photography in the mid-1800s. It was an early way of toning photos. Once experts figured out how to create full-color images, it was put to the wayside.

In modern times, all that’s old is new again and sepia is no exception. It’s back big time and it’s expected to be trending in the coming year.

This article will provide tips on how you can integrate sepia into your photography.

Sepia Photo Taking Tips

Sepia produces a monotone look. Therefore, you will want to make sure what you’re shooting has a lot of contrast regarding texture and color. It will make up for the lack of integration of various hues.

The shots you are taking in sepia should feature dark shadows, a good mix of light and dark tones, and textures that won’t be lost without the color.

Your subject matter should also be considered. Sepia has a vintage look so the shots you are taking should not be overly modern. The effect is great if you are trying to do a throwback or if you are seeing an everyday scene that will look great with a vintage touch.

How to Get the Sepia Effect

There are a variety of ways to give photos a sepia look. Here are a few suggestions.

In a Darkroom

If you shoot with film, you can get the effect after developing the image in a darkroom.

After the image is developed, dip it in a sepia toner made of sodium sulfide. The chemical compound will convert the silver halide chemicals in the paper into sulfide changing the tone of the photo.

On a Digital Camera

Most digital cameras have functions that allow you to add a sepia effect after the picture is taken. If you are shooting on a smartphone, you can select the sepia tone when you’re in edit mode.

On a Nikon, you will have to go to the Shooting Menu and select Set Picture Control. Then choose the Monochrome option and select Toning. Set the toning color to sepia. You can also use the adjustment scale to set the intensity of the sepia.

In Photoshop

You can also get a sepia tone with your editing program after the picture is taken. Here’s how to use it in Photoshop.

  1. Convert the image to black and white by clicking on Layers, New Adjustment Layer, and Black & White.

  2. Click on Layer, New Adjustment Layer, and Photo Filler.

  3. Double click on the Layer Editing icon.

  4. Select Warming Filter from the drop-down menu.

  5. Move the slider to 50%.

  6. Select Preserve Luminosity.

  7. Change the Density Value to get the intensity you are going for.

  8. Go to Layer, Flatten Image and you’re done.

Sepia-toned photography is set to be the latest trend. Now that you know what it entails, you are ready to get modern photos with a vintage flair. What techniques will you be integrating in the next few months?

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