How To Use Sepia Tone Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial, you are going to learn how to make your photos have a sepia tone look. This really is one of the easiest effects to apply, and one of the most common effects that you see on photos that are meant to look old. You often times see this on photos that are taken of people that are dressed in old western clothing.

To start off, I just want to say that in order to complete this tutorial, you are going to need to know the basics of Photoshop. This is not a hard effect to do at all, but it can be if you don’t know how to get around Photoshop.

Okay, let’s get started with the sepia tone effect in Photoshop.

Step One. The very first thing that you need to do is to choose a photo that you want to apply the sepia effect to and open it in Photoshop. I like to apply the sepia tone effect to images that are meant to look like they were taken in the older western days, but this effect can be applied to any image, and look nice.

Step Two. Once you have your image open, you now need to create a new Adjustment Layer. The adjustment layer that you want is the Gradient Map. To create this new adjustment layer, click on the adjustment layer button at the bottom of the layers window (looks like a circle filled with half black and half white) and click on Gradient Map. This will open up the Gradient Map window.

Step Three. Once in the Gradient Map window, your goal is to make the image black and white. To do this, use the drop down beside of the long color bar, and choose the black to white gradient. It is usually on the top row, and the third to the right. Now you can click OK on the Gradient Map window.

Step Four. Now that you have a black and white image, the next step is to make another new adjustment layer. The adjustment layer that you want this time is the Solid Color adjustment layer. You can get to this one the same way that you did before, and choose Solid Color.

Step Five. Inside of the Solid Color window (called Color Picker) you want to choose a sepia color. You don’t need to be exact here. Just choose one that looks kind of close to the sepia color that you often see in photos. It is usually a yellow/orange type of color. We don’t need to be exact this time because you will be able to change the color later if you need to. Once you are satisfied with your color, click OK in the Color Picker window.

Step Six. Now that you have a solid color covering your image, you need to change the blending mode of your Solid Color layer that you just created to Color. You can do this by using the drop down on top of all of your layers and choosing Color as your blending option. Now you should see your image with that color applied.

Step Seven. You will notice that the color is way too harsh for the photo. To fix this, you need to take the opacity down on your solid color layer. Just play with it until it looks pretty good. I usually go pretty low so that I can get that good sepia effect. You are now done!