View Full Version : How to create Sepia Tone

04-08-2009, 03:59 PM
I am shooting with a Nikon D200 and I shoot in RAW (NEF) format. I would like to know how to create a sepia tone photo. Any advise would be great. I prefer to use programs like GIMP and/or other open source programs if possible.

Alex Wilson
04-08-2009, 04:21 PM

I'm a Photoshop guy, and I tone almost all of my images. I've got an action I recorded that adds a channel mixing layer to make the image B&W, adds a curves layer so I can tweak the contrast, and puts another curves layer on top that loads a saved sepia setting. Fast, easy, and consistent. If I decide I like it better untoned, I just turn off the sepia layer.

I made the sepia curve by finding a nicely toned image I liked, writing down some of the RGB values at different brightnesses, and plugging them into the separate curves channels.

04-09-2009, 02:07 PM
Check your manual - you may also have a setting IN CAMERA that allows you to shoot the image in sepia.

04-10-2009, 10:47 AM
Check your manual - you may also have a setting IN CAMERA that allows you to shoot the image in sepia.

As there are tons and tons and tons of free PS actions out there to create sepia I would recommend against EVER using the Black and white or sepia setting in your camera.

First they don't give you any control over how the image is converted, and it is converted, your CCD/CMOS etc chip only takes color pictures, so if you choose the sepia setting, it just converts it after its taken.

But my real reason for not doing BW or sepia in camera is once you do this, its always sepia and its tought to change. If you shoot in color and then do the sepia in post then you still have the original color image that you can use as color, or black and white, or sepia or strip out all the greens etc..

I generally use NIK's SilverFX pro. Very nice plugin for doing BW and Sepia conversions.. It gives you tons of control as to how the images are converted.

04-10-2009, 10:57 AM
Oops you are using gimp. Sorry I missed that part.

04-10-2009, 01:03 PM
I see Jello's point here but this is digital. You can surely try a frame to "see" how the image might look in sepia, then shoot an additional 'normal' frame.
Sometimes it's nice to see the effect on the spot.

04-10-2009, 01:19 PM
Thats completely true.. I guess my point is this... It has been my expereince that it will be the best picture of the set that you have decided to force into sepia mode in camera. Or at least thats the way my luck would work out!!

Certainly I wan't saying don't try it, I just wouldn't rely on it as my main way to shoot sepia.

04-10-2009, 02:25 PM
Just tried a sepia on my D80. I shot a RAW image went into the edit menu to sepia tone it. I was allowed to adjust the darkness/lightness of the toning when I pressed OK it made a copy of the original in sepia while preserving the original.

04-10-2009, 02:27 PM
Very cool... I stand corrected..

04-13-2009, 11:18 AM
Picassa will convert photos to sepia tone quite easily. It's a free download, and while a pretty basic program it does allow for some simple editing and it is quite user friendly.