ePz's 16 Days Of Xmas, Plus A Prize For Everyone On Xmas Day! Enter The Prize Draw Today!

Toning (Part II)


Thank you for looking at my portfolio. I hope you find some images you like.
I read all your comments and look through the gallery, but I may only vote rather than comment.
...Read More

Toning (Part II)

13 Jul 2020 9:43PM   Views : 367 Unique : 271

Last time I discussed toning for creative processing of monochrome images. Here I'll talk about some of my workflow choices.

Toning these days is purely a creative decision. Not every image benefits from toning, though many can. I'm not suggesting anyone goes mad and tones every image they have. It should work with the image to evoke or enhance mood or feel. Some images respond better to particular tones than others. Those are my observations, there are no rules.

A happy smiling portrait would look good with sepia. You may think blue toning is cold and unattractive? Done with a hint and a complementary pose or location it can be very effective. It's all about creating, suggesting or enhancing mood. Green toning of a portrait though? Less so, but never say never. Green toning of a forest interior? Not widely used but a possibility.


Let's start with the colour image. I may or may not have taken it with the intention of going mono or even as far as toning. In a fast paced shoot there may not be time. In other cases I discount colour entirely, jut looking at the shapes and lines in front of me. On the other hand it's something I consider when I review a shoot or even months later when I think 'yes, that would work nicely there'. However, in all cases I ensure the start image is adjusted for black and white points, has good shadow detail and is properly colour balanced. That gives the best start for mono conversion.

There are many different mono interpretations of an image that we'll take it as read that we're happy with the result. In fact, I may do a few different conversions of an image because they all have their own appeal.

Using Nik SilverEfex

This is my main route simply because there are a range of built in toning choices and the majority of my mono conversions are done using this plug-in because of the amount of options and control available with a minimum of fuss. Even with a ready done mono image a quick run into SilverEfex gives me rapid and easy access to the toning tool.


Using Affinity Photo

The Black and White adjustment is very good and if that's all I want without wanting to emulate a particular film type or style in SilverEfex it's quick and simple. The Recolour adjustment allows me to choose any colour tone and its intensity. It's possible to set up a Macro or LUT to consistently apply a particular tone you like though I suggest you then utilise Layers (if you don't already) so you can control the strength of the effect.


So far I've covered the use of a single tone. Next time I'll look at using different tones together.

All text and images © Keith Rowley 2020

Recent blogs by dark_lord

Unedited Images Rediscovered

While browsing for some image files recently I came across a folder containing a couple of dozen picures. I was sure I'd taken more than that. We all have our preferred workflow. On the whole I like to go through the results of a shoot fairly soon ...

Posted: 27 Nov 2022 5:49PM

Analogue Magic

One of the fascinations of analogue, or film, photography was watching an image appear in front of your eyes on the paper in a developing tray. Apologies first for not posting anything for a while as I've had some health issues to contend with for w...

Posted: 4 Nov 2022 4:40PM

Tripods Ė A Personal History

Tripods are very useful accessories and in some cases indispensable for some types of photography. Some models are more suitable than others and Ive had a few over the years. Your working style and/or genre may mean you don't have an immediate need ...

Posted: 23 Aug 2022 3:01PM

Bird Photography (On a Budget)

Not everyone can afford extreme telephoto lenses for bird photography. Lower cost gear is perfectly effective and getting the best out of it will improve you as a photographer. We've all looked at fantastic bird images and thought that if we too had...

Posted: 12 Aug 2022 3:07PM

Black and White, We Can Learn From the Old Days

It's simple to produce a monochrome image these days. Creating a good one and realising your vision is another matter. Black and white images can be intensely powerful, muh more so than colour. Just think of some of the iconic images from the 20th C...

Posted: 13 Jul 2022 10:11AM


Nick_Hilton Avatar
Nick_Hilton 18 599 2 United Kingdom
13 Jul 2020 11:42PM
Interesting thoughts - however my view is the complete opposite of yours with very few images benefiting from toning.
As for Sepia toning itís very old fashioned and dated technique.

If you entered such images into camera club competitions a judge would almost certainly comment on toning

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.