Creating A Sepia Tone Photo

Here are two great ways to create a sepia tone photo. My favorite way is the second way, using Adobe Camera Raw - something new I learned from Michael Ninness at the InDesign Conference in DC.

If you look at the photos closely, you will see that using the Black & White adjustment in Photoshop puts a lot of color into all areas: highlights, midtones, shadows. Using Adobe Camera Raw gives you a sepia tone with a more authentic vintage effect - the color is applied mostly to the midtones, giving you brighter, cleaner whites and shadows closer to black.

Using the Black and White Adjustment Layer in Photoshop

  1. Open your image in Photoshop.

  2. Create a new Black and White Adjustment Layer. In the Black and White Adjustment panel, adjust the individual sliders left or right to control how the black and white conversion is applied to the image.

  3. In the top corner of the Black and White Adjustments panel, check "Tint". You can edit the default color by clicking on the Tint color box.

Note: Now that I think about it, you could simulate the effect of an Adobe Camera Raw sepia tone by adjusting the Blend If sliders on the Black and White adjustment layer and adding a Hue-Saturation layer underneath set to -100 saturation (desaturate). There are always so many ways to replicate an effect with Adobe products!

Using Adobe Camera Raw in Bridge
Adobe Camera Raw is a great sub application embedded into Adobe Bridge. It's generally used for raw files (hence the name) but it can also be used for any jpg too! So all of the settings like exposure, fill light and color temperature can also be applied to jpgs. Here's how to create a sepia with Adobe Camera Raw:

  1. Open Bridge. In Bridge, select the jpg or raw file you would like to edit. To open the image in Adobe Camera Raw, type Cmd + R.

  2. In Adobe Camera Raw, go to the row of icons below the histogram and click on the fourth item, HSL/Grayscale. Check "Convert to Grayscale". Adjust the individual sliders left or right to control how the black and white conversion is applied to the image. Arranging your sliders in an "S" curve is a general rule of thumb for a good image.

  3. Click on the next menu item (fifth), Split Toning. Adjust the top two sliders, hue and saturation, to apply sepia tone color to the image.

  4. Click Save Image in the bottom left corner to save your changes to a .tif file or click Open Image (bottom right corner) to open your jpg with the sepia effect in Photoshop and continue from there. Clicking Done will save the Adobe Camera Raw settings without harming the data in the jpg or raw file (it saves your Camera Raw settings for that image in a special side file).

Thanks to user CDJensen for the image in this example.

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