It’s very easy to give your photos a classic sepia look using Photoshop. In this article I will teach you all of the steps, as well as, some other tricks that will make your photos look pro. Lets get started.
Step one: Assuming that you’re an amateur photographer who is probably using an automatic camera, the first thing I would suggest is opening your “Image” menu, going to “Adjustments,” and selecting “Auto levels.” this will help even out the exposure of your photo, as well as, add some depth to the shading and contrast.
Step two: Open the “Image” menu again, go to “Adjustments,” and select “Desaturate.” This will remove all the color from your photo, leaving it black and white. It is important to select “Desaturate” rather than changing the mode to “Grayscale,” because in the “Grayscale” mode you will not be able to work with any color effects; which we will need in the next step.
Step three: Once again, go to the “Image” menu, open “Adjustments,” and this time select “Variations.” A new window should appear. In the new window you will see a slider that goes from “Fine” to “Course.” Move the slider one step closer to “Fine.” Then click on the “More Yellow” option twice, and the “More Red” option once. Close the window, and your photo should now be sepia.
Most automatic cameras take very dull photos. The reason for this is because the camera is just a computer that is trying to balance everything as much as possible. That is why your photos never look “professional.” Professional photographers know how to properly expose and develop a photo, so that it has lots of depth and contrast. To give your photo a little more of a professional look, I suggest increasing the contrast. To do this; open the “Image” menu, go to “Adjustments,” and select “Brightness/Contrast.” If your photo looks too bright or too dark, adjust the brightness to your satisfaction. I suggest increasing the contrast to about “30 – 50.” That range seems to work pretty well for most pictures.
Another trick you might want to play around with to give your photos a more professional look, is adjusting the level of grain. To do this, go to the “Filters” menu and select “Texture” then “Grain.” Experiment with adjusting the sliders until you like the way your image looks. Believe it or not, most professional photographs and movies that you see have a high amount of grain. Photos taken with automatic cameras usually have very little grain because the camera is “properly” exposing the picture.
The photo to the left of this article was made using these exact instructions. Have fun experimenting with these techniques.