Why Sepia Tone WorksIn the early days of photography, sepia tone and black and white were the only options available for film developing. Sepia was more popular with some photographers because it was believed to give photos of people a more lifelike appearance, and the materials used could promote longer lasting final prints. Many of these longer lasting prints have survived to today, so we continue to associate sepia with an earlier era and that feeling of nostalgia. Modern day mimics of early sepia photographs using sepia canvas prints work well with all types of décor because of the fairly neutral tonal range. The recognizable theme of nostalgia that these prints carry also add to the prints’ impact with viewers. You can use sepia canvas prints with your existing décor to compliment eclectic styles or found antiques and help other items in your décor scheme act cohesively together.
Achieving the Nostalgic Sepia Toned LookAlthough many cameras today have a sepia setting you can often get better results for your sepia canvas prints by doing the edits on your own. This is because the sepia setting on cameras tends to have less of a tonal range than you can obtain by taking a picture in true color and making the needed adjustments with that range in mind. Photoshop Atoms provides a great basic tutorial for doing this in Photoshop. On the more advanced end, selective focus with tools like Lens Blur can mimic the range of focus of early era cameras. You can learn how to do this through Photoshop Essentials. To boost the nostalgic look, you can do additional edits like:
- Fading the edges of the photo or using ragged edges that will continue to the edges of your canvas print.
- Add silhouette effects that simulate the light fall off of early, large-format cameras while throwing the focus squarely on the photo’s action.
- Use deliberate added “noise” to give the illusion of antiquity with techniques such as layering with textures or using the “Dust and Scratches” tool. Just be sure to use these tools sparingly; too much additional editing may become distracting.
Photos by Eric Von Lehmden
This article is written for Canvas Press. To find out more about Canvas Press’products visit www.canvaspress.com.