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Window and autumn leaves

Sepia toned in post-production using iPhoto.

This is my first sepia photo in my photostream.


Sepia tone


Sepia tone refers to the coloring of a black and white photographic print or motion picture film that has been toned with a sepia toner to simulate the faded brownish color of some early photographs. This process can be simulated using a computer and digital photo-editing software.




Beginning in the 1880s, sepia was produced by adding a pigment made from the Sepia cuttlefish, found in the English channel[1] to the positive print of a photograph. The chemical process involved converts any remaining metallic silver to a sulphide which is much more resistant to breakdown over time. This is why many old photographs are sepia toned—those are the ones that have survived until today.


Although sepia toning began as a printing method, today it is seen as a genre, much like black and white photography.


Digital sepia tones


Sepia can be produced in many digital cameras and camcorders, or it can be produced in the digital darkroom. Software, such as Photoshop or The GIMP, offers control over the sepia achieved (there is no single color known as “sepia”—the term covers a range of yellow and brown mixtures). Simpler photo-editing software usually has an option to sepia tone an image in one step.


More sophisticated software tends to implement sepia tones using the duotone feature.


Adobe recommends setting Hue = 27 and Saturation = 21 and checking the Colorize box in the Hue/Saturation filter in Photoshop.


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Taken on October 19, 2008