Toning images with sepia color in Photoshop

Table of contents

Updated: 20 April 2010


This tutorial will demonstrate how to create a sepia color tone using Adobe Photoshop 7.0. Although, the instructions are specific to PS 7 commands, similar commands should be available in newer/older versions of Photoshop.

Preparing your image for sepia toning

Open your image in Adobe Photoshop and confirm that image edit mode is set to RGB Color.

menu: Image > Mode > RGB Color

Make a copy of the Background layer

menu: Layer > Duplicate Layer

(Optional) Auto-contrast the Background copy layer

menu: Image > Adjustments > Auto-Contrast (Shift+Ctrl+Alt+L)

Desaturate the Background copy layer

menu: Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Shift+Ctrl+Alt+U)

Now we're ready to add the sepia.

Adding layer mask of sepia color

Create a new layer (Layer 1)

menu: Layer > New > Layer... (Shift+Ctrl+N)

Set the foreground color in Photoshop to #A48464 (R:164 B:132 G:100)

Use the Paint Bucket Tool (Mode: Normal, Opacity: 100%) to fill in Layer 1

Add a Layer Mask to Layer 1

menu: Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All

Apply Image to the Layer Mask on Layer 1

menu: Image > Apply Image...

... using the settings:

  • Layer: Background
  • Channel: RGB
  • Invert: Checked

Select Layer 1 and set the Blending Mode to Color

Et voila! You should now have a beautiful, sepia toned image.

Final touches after sepia toning

There are a number of further adjustments that can be done. With sepia toning, my favorite is to add a little saturation.

Create a new Adjustment Layer

menu: Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation...

Adjust the settings to your taste, for example:

  • Hue: 0
  • Saturation: +15
  • Lightness: 0

End result

Elle est belle, n'est pas?

User comments

Wow, she is beautiful! Great tutorial.


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