sepia-toned forest Photo by LoboStudio Hamburg on Unsplash

Tutorials To Make Sepia-Toned Images In Lightroom and Photoshop

Sepia tone is a warm, vintage-looking reddish-brown monochromatic color that gives photos a classic feel. Sepia, an emulsion dye derived from cuttlefish ink, was used to develop photographs in the older years of photography. Today you can achieve sepia tones quickly in post-processing. This article will guide you to achieve the sepia effect in lightroom and photoshop.

How to Add Sepia Tone in Lightroom?

1. Do an exposure correction.

  • Slightly reduce the exposure on the right side of your screen.
sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

2. Decrease the highlights and increase the shadows

  • Decreasing highlights and increasing shadows ensures that your photo has many details to work with before you start post-processing. It also boosts the broad dynamic range of your picture.
  • Reduce the highlights to roughly - 5

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Rise the shadows to approximately 75 though this differs depending on the image. Having a shadow at 75 makes the photo appears faded, which is ideal for sepia photography.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

3. Increase the general contrast of the image.

  • On the right side of the screen, the histogram displays most of the image information I centered or on the right.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Therefore, you will need to increase the general contrast to fill the histogram for more information. Start by increasing the number of whites. Since the image does not have many whites, you will add it to about 50 since the histogram does not have to touch the side.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Reduce the blacks to about - 40 as the barn door is the only black thing in the image; therefore, the histogram does not have to touch the side. 

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

4. Warm up the photo

  • Rise the temperature slide to approximately slightly above 6000. 

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Add clarity and contrast by adjusting the clarity and texture slider. Increase the texture to 30.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Add the clarity to roughly 25. Your image will start to seem stylized.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

5. Adjust the tone curve panel

  • Click on the tone curve panel on the right.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Add an S-curve, as this will raise the black tones and take down some white techniques to give an ancient film-kind feel. Thus add points near the lower and upper sides of your curve. It ensures that information in the center does not change when you adjust the left and right ends.
  • Add a point near the lower side of your curve.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Add another point near the top side of your curve.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Bring up the left point of your curve to add brightness to your black. 

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Bring down the right point of your curve to reduce the brightness of the whites.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

6. Make changes in the split toning panel.

  • Click on the split toning option just below the tone curve.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Usually, the split toning and colors have contrasting tones, but we want a monochromatic look for this image. Thus, you will raise the highlight's saturation to 100 to know the color we are working with.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Add the hues until you find a tone you prefer in the highlights.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Reduce the saturation to ensure the highlight is not too overwhelming.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Go to the shadows and increase the saturation.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Adjust the hue till you get the color of your liking. 

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Reduce the shadow saturation to roughly 65. 

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

7. Go to the calibration panel.

  • The calibration panel helps you adjust colors and incorporate an ethereal feel.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • The calibration panel has a red primary hue that changes the red to magenta or orange, the green primary one shifts the green towards yellow or blue, and the blue primary panel turns the blues to cyan or purple.
  • Move the red primary hue towards the orange to about 50. 

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • In the green primary option, increase the hue to about 25 to retain some of the sky's blue.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

  • Go to the blue primary and set the hue to roughly -50.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

8. Go back to the primary panel. 

  • Since the image looks too saturated for an olden look, go back to the primary panel and reduce the saturation to about – 55 to get a fantastic sepia-tone photo.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Lightroom

How to Add Sepia Tone in Photoshop?

1. Open your photo and ensure it is in the background.

  • If the image you have opened is not in the background, press the layer on the top left side of your screen.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Click on new and select background from the layer option.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

2. Create a new action 

  • Go to the action panel to create a new action.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Name the new action sepia effect and click on record.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

3. Make a gradient map adjustment. 

  • Click on the last option in the gradient map.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Click on the gradient bar, and a gradient editor will appear.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Tap the arrow facing above that is on top of stops to access the color picker at 0%. 

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • At 0 %, use dark saturated red by changing the number from 000000 to 170400 next to the #.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Select 100% on the gradient editor location.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • At 100%, use beige by changing ffffff to f6eSdS next to the #.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • At 25 % use brown by changing f6eSdS to 64be3b

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • At 65 %, use bright low saturated orange by putting cSa989 on the bar next to #.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • At 85 %, use low saturated beige by keying in dfcebf on the harsh bar.

sepia-toned photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

4. Create a new layer and fill it.

  • The photo now has a sepia tone, but you need to make more changes to make an excellent sepia effect.
  • Add a new layer by clicking the 5th option on the bottom right corner of the screen.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Tap edit on the top left corner of the screen and click on fill.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • On the fill tab, click the down arrow next to contents use and choose black.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

5. Adjust the noise

  • Click on the filter, select noise, and click on add noise.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • On the add noise tab, change the amount to 50 % and click ok.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Press ctrl+t to resize the noise layer and change the W from 100% to 200% 

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Change the blend mode from normal to overlay

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Reduce the opacity to 10 % 

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Click ctrl+ O to shift+ E and copy the entire composition to a fresh layer.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

6. Sharpen the photo

  • Press filter, sharpen, then click smart sharpen.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Adjust the smart sharpen tab to make the edges a bit brighter.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Reduce the amount and radius on the smart sharpen panel.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

7. End the recording

  • Go to the action panel.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Press the stop button to end the recording to save the sepia color effect.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • To use the sepia effect you created on another photo, go to the action panel and click on the sepia effect.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • Select the photo and press play to add the sepia tone.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

  • If you want to make changes, mark the action step to pause.

sepia-toned portrait photo-processing tutorial in Photoshop

Conclusion

No other edit or filter can replicate the vintage, nostalgic effect that sepia toning produces. Thanks to our guide, you do not have to go through the process of getting sepia colors in the darkroom, which can be dangerous to you and your surroundings. With lightroom and photoshop, you have more control and can make changes based on your preference. Enjoy adding the sepia color to your photos with our step-by-step guidebook.

Image Credit for Lightroom Tutorial: youtube.com
Image Credit for Photoshop Tutorialyoutube.com

If you like this article, please share it! Be sure to join our FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Katebackdrops/ to share your ideas! You can also receive free articles, updates as well as discounts information from https://www.katebackdrop.com/ and our FB Group.

Back to blog