The toning of black and white images is not mandatory. In black and
white film photography, it was done for several reasons. To increase the
archival quality of a print. To intensify contrast. To neutralize
color casts inherit in some photographic papers. Or, to give an image
a specific color cast.
In digital photography, archival quality is determined by the paper and inks
used to make the print. Contrast and undesired color casts are managed by
controls such as Levels and Curves. In black and white digital
photography, toning is done to give an image a desired color cast.
The common color casts are sepia, selenium and platinum. Even though
each has a distinct color cast, there is no specific, industry recognized
definition of the color. That is why a sepia toned photograph from one
photographer can look quite different than a sepia toned photograph from another
photographer. In film photography, the color cast and the intensity of the
color cast was determined by the toning mixture and method, the photographic
paper used and how long the paper was allowed to tone. But generally
speaking, sepia has a yellow-brown color cast. Selenium has a violet-brown color
cast. And platinum has an orange-brown color cast.
On the Downloads page
of this web site is a zip file that contains Adobe Photoshop settings that I
created that will allow you to create 70 tones. Including light, medium,
dark, heavy and max tones of sepia, cool selenium, warm selenium and platinum.
In addition, the zip file contains settings for many other tones. In
Figure 1 are examples of sepia, cool selenium and cool gray toning.
Figure 1A. Medium Sepia
Figure 1B. Cool Selenium
Figure 1C. Cool Gray
After downloading the file, to create the desired color cast, create a
Hue/Saturation adjustment layer as the topmost layer. Load the desired
Hue/Saturation adjustment setting and click OK. Change the blending mode
to Color to prevent the image's tones from changing. Leave Opacity and
Fill to 100% each. An example of how the Layers panel should look when
done properly is shown in Figure 2. As a side note, the settings will not
remove the layer mask from the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. I removed
the layer mask manually.
Figure 2. Color Blending Mode