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Photoshop tutorial: Toning images

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Category: Adobe Photoshop

Tone an image in Photoshop - How to change the tone of an image in Photoshop.

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Words and images by Robin Whalley - www.lenscraft.co.uk

Toning images has always been popular with photographer’s right back to the early days. This used to involve some quite messy processes but in today’s digital darkroom it’s never been easier. Whilst there are many ways to achieve this look some methods are less convincing than others. Here’s one that has provided consistently good results for me.

1. Open your image

Open the image to be toned using Photoshop. Here I have selected a Black and White shot that I feel would benefit from a little sepia toning.

Open your image in photoshop


2. Saturation layer

Add a new Saturation layer by selecting “Layer | New Adjustment Layer | Hue/Saturation...” from the menu. When the “New Layer” dialog box appears, call the new layer “Sepia” and click the OK button.

New saturation layer


3. Hue/Saturation

In the Hue/Saturation dialog box tick the 'Colorize' option. This will cause your image to take on a rather odd red colour. These default settings are simply too strong and we need to adjust them.


You can adjust the “Hue” slider to change the toning colours used in the image. The “Saturation” slider will increase or reduce the intensity of the effect. From experience, a setting of 38 for “Hue” and 12 for “Saturation” will achieve a nice Sepia toning effect for most images.

Adjust hue

You may need to adjust the intensity of the saturation depending on your image. Here is a split image showing the before and after effect of the toning:

Half of the image with new tone

For some images you might like to consider adding a Blue or a Green tone. To achieve a nice Blue tone set the “Hue” to 225 and for a Green tone try 125. You might find both of these colours appear a little stronger than the Sepia tone so you might need to reduce the Saturation to balance the image.

Words and images by Robin Whalley - www.lenscraft.co.uk

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