Sepia tone

From Academic Kids

Sepia tone is a type of monochrome photographic image in which the picture appears in shades of brown as opposed to greyscale as in a black-and-white image. It was originally produced by adding a pigment made from the Sepia cuttlefish to the positive print of a photograph taken with any number of negative processes. 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 time" photographs are sepia toned—those are the ones that have survived until today.

The photographs below show the same self-portrait taken in color, then, using a digital camera's processing features, the same image in both black and white and sepia. It may be noted that flesh tones appear to be closer to real when rendered in sepia tone as opposed to black and white, which may be one of the reasons it tended to be used.

Missing image
RFC1394_Color_1600x1200.jpg
Color image
Missing image
RFC1394_B&W_1600x1200.jpg
Black and white image
Missing image
RFC1394_Sepia_1600x1200.jpg
Sepia image


Notice the calendar in the background which is blue in the colour image on the left and the appropriate shade of brown or gray on the right side sepia and center black-and-white images, respectively.

See also: digital photography.

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