Sepia Toning: Tips, Techniques & Inspiration

Sepia toning is an old photographic technique that was popular in the 19th century. This tinting process can be applied to black and white photographs or even color photos. The selenium toner, which is a chemical used for selenium toning, creates a brown-toned image with sepia tones. With this article, we will go over tips on how to use selenium toner to get the best results when self-toning your images!

What is Sepia Toning?

Sepia toning is a process that can be used on black and white photographs or color images. It is the result of applying selenium toner to the photograph. This toner creates a brown-toned image with sepia tones. Selenium toners were once popular because they could improve the contrast and overall appearance of black and white photographs. 

Today, sepia toning is often used as a way to give an antique look to photos or to create a specific mood. It can also be used for artistic purposes, such as in photojournalism or fine art photography.

Where Did This Technique Come From?

This process came from selenium toning, a chemical used to develop photographs. In the early days of photography, selenium was often applied to images to make them appear more vibrant and life-like. It also could improve the contrast between light and dark areas within an image.

In 1873, photographer Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard was the first to selenium tone a photograph. It has been suggested that he did this to make his images stand out from other photographers of his time, who often toned their photographs with gold or purple hues.

The selenium toning process was developed in the 19th century. It is a chemical that can improve contrast and enhance tones in black and white photographs. It was used as a way to improve the appearance of black and white images.

Today, selenium toning is often applied by photographers for artistic purposes or because they want an antique look in their photographs. It can also be done with color photos instead of only black and white ones.

Why Is Selenium Toning Popular?

Selenium toners were once popular because they could improve the contrast and overall appearance of black and white photographs. This was due to the selenium toner’s ability to darken tones and create a brown-toned image with sepia tones. 

Today, selenium toning is often used as a way to give an antique look to photos or to create a specific mood. It can also be used for artistic purposes, such as in photojournalism or fine art photography. Selenium toners are popular among photographers because they offer unique results that cannot be achieved with other methods.

How Does Selenium Toning Work?

Selenium toners work by reacting with the silver in the photograph. This reaction creates a brownish tone that can vary in intensity depending on the selenium toner used and the photo itself. Selenium toning is not permanent, so it’s important to remember to seal your photos with an appropriate fixative after toning them.

How to Selenium Tone Your Photos?

There are selenium toners available at most photographic supply stores. These toning kits are relatively inexpensive and can be used to self tone your prints or negatives.

If you’re self-toning an image, start by placing it into a developing tray filled with the selenium toner according to the instructions for that particular selenium toner. If you are self-toning a print, place the selenium-toned negative on top of it. Then cover both items with another sheet of glass or plastic to prevent evaporation and expose them to light for one hour in an area that does not have direct sunlight. 

After self-tuning, remove the selenium toned print or negative from the tray and then rinse it in water for 15 minutes. Next, wash it with a gentle soap to remove any oils that may have transferred onto your photo during selenium toning. Let dry completely before applying fixative so you don’t trap moisture under the fixative and cause your photo to deteriorate.

FAQ

How Do I Remove Old Sepia Photos?

Removing sepia tones from a photograph can be difficult, but it is possible. There are a few different methods you can try, depending on the photo itself and how strong the sepia tones are.

What Colors Go With Sepia?

Sepia tones are associated with antique or vintage photos, so using colors that complement the selenium toning is important. Some complementary color options include browns, oranges, and golds.

What Can You Do With Old Portraits?

There are several things you can do with old portraits, including selenium toning them to give them an antique look. Selenium toning is just one option and there are many different types of toners available. You can also try retouching the photo or changing the background to create a new look.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.