Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Create a Two Color Sepia Image Tutorial

Now I know, that this title negates the definition of sepia, but still, this is a technique that can make a simple black and white image go that one step further.

What's more, this method can equally be applied to color images, to touch them up. Even though this tutorial is very simple, it holds within a method many professional photographers use to edit images.

This is what we'll be creating. As always, you can click on the images and screenshots to see a bigger version.

As you can see, on the left side is the black and white (which holds its own, no doubt), and on the right side, the two colored sepia, in which you can glimpse red and green sepia tones. Of course which two colors you choose depends on your liking.

Step 1
Apply the Black and White filter
In Photoshop this is easy. Just click on Image > Adjustments > Black and White (If your editing software doesn't have a black and white filter, use the Saturation filter and slide the saturation down to 0). Once your done, click OK and move on to step 2.

Step 2
Apply the Curves Filter and edit the Red Curve
This is so easy. Select Image > Adjsutments > Curves and Select the Red Curve from the drop down menu. Click on the upper part of the red line and move the dot slightly up, and then click on the lower part of the red line and move the dot down, just like in the screenshot that follows. Don't click OK jist yet. Move to Step 3.
Remember: Adjusting the Red Curve is an artistic choice I made, you can certainly try this with the Green or Blue Line.

Step 3
Edit the Blue Curve
Open up the blue curve, and move the line downwards by selecting the top of the line, and sliding it down. Just open up the next screenshot and you'll see what I mean. I have put a red circle around the spot I'm talking about. This is a trick many professional photographers use when they have a bright white spot and they want to cover it up. What this does is color the white parts of your image slightly yellow. Click OK when you're done.

Step 4
Save your image
File > Save as

This is the end result, that I came up with:

click on the image for a bigger view

Note on the image: This is a leftover from out recent visit to the old town of Pocitelj. I have kept this from publishing so far, because I wanted to show it off in this tutorial. What I love about the two color sepia technique here, is that it gives a very ominous atmosphere to the image. Sepia is usually related to soft and washed out images, but i truly believe that I have proven that sepia can be dark, vicious and foreboding too.

If you have any questions, about the tutorial, feel free to leave them in the comments below. I hope this was fun and easy to follow.


  1. Great blog; interesting photography and good tips. Greetings from afar.

  2. i love this old ruin, and I think I like the sepia more than the black and white, more 3 dimensional.

    1. I think it also works better for this shot.

  3. I don't have Photoshop. Every time I see your tutorials I think I have to get it. I have Photoshop Elements and I can do some things with it but not much.

    Mersad, this is a very beautiful sepia effect!!!!

    1. Kaya, you can find the Black and White filter and the Curves Filter in Elements too!

  4. Gorgeous/ Im in love with monochrome.

  5. your picture above and the tutoring that you provided. The extra benefit of step by step tips makes me want to return for more!


  6. Hi Mersad...

    cooles Tutorial ! Immer wieder hilfreich...und ich finde davon könnte es ruhig mehr geben ;)

    Ganz liebe Grüße

    1. Wird es auch! Noch ein Tutorial folgt in dieser Woche!

  7. Thank you for the detailed tutorial -- I'm always looking to learn new methods.

  8. You should publish a book of tips. I'd buy it! Thanks to you I'm becoming more attuned to Photoshop but I still have a long way to go.

    1. Thank you Valerie. Love to hear you're getting around Photoshop better.



Image Credits

All Rights are Reserved. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of the author.