Easy Sepia Toning in Photoshop

Before & After: Sepia toning of your color images in Photoshop is easy with this toning recipe. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Before & After: Sepia toning of your color images in Photoshop is easy with this toning recipe. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

A reader asked me in a comment recently about sepia toning “action scripts.” The following is my quick-and-easy method for creating digital sepia prints. You could easily create a Photoshop Action to automate this process. Here I’ll show you all of the steps involved in the sepia toning process and how you might want to tweak them to suit your own preferences.

Beginning Image

Here is a straight color image shot in late-afternoon sunlight. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Here is a straight color image shot in late-afternoon sunlight. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Start with a color image that you want to sepia tone. Open it in Photoshop.

Image>Mode>Grayscale will get rid of the color channels we don't need. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Image>Mode>Grayscale will get rid of the color channels we don't need. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Go to Image>Mode>Grayscale to convert the image from RGB color to Grayscale (black and white).

Now convert the image back to RGB color. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Now convert the image back to RGB color. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Now immediately convert the image BACK to RGB:  Image>Mode>RGB. The image will still appear to be grayscale, BUT YOU HAVE CONVERTED IT BACK TO RGB.

Open Color Balance and adjust the Red and Yellow channel sliders. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Open Color Balance and adjust the Red and Yellow channel sliders. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Open the Color Balance Window (Cntrl>B on PC, Cmd>B on Mac)

Move the Yellow and Red sliders to create a sepia-toned image. For this image I’m moving both yellow and red by 40 points. You can experiment with how much you move these two sliders to create more or less of a sepia tone.

Hit the Okay  key.

With these simple steps, your color photograph has been converted into a beautiful sepia-toned image. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

With these simple steps, your color photograph has been converted into a beautiful sepia-toned image. (Copyright 2009/Andrew Boyd)

Now ‘Save As’ and name your new sepia-toned image.

That’s it! You’ve taken your color photograph and converted it to a beautiful new sepia tone!

selfport1aHi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: Photoshop

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

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