How to Add Sepia Tone to a Photo in Luminar

Many people like to add a sepia tone to black and white photos to give them an antique look. While you can do this with many apps, Luminar 2018 does not have a tool to do so. You can use some of its filters that include sepia tones, but with other modifications, such as grain, changes in contrast, etc. If you want to simply add sepia to a photo, you can do so, by tweaking one of Luminar’s filters.

I’ll start with a photo of Titus the Cat. It’s evening, he’s relaxed, and some sepia tone might be a nice enhancement for this photo. I’ve already applied a light vignette to focus on his face.

Pre sepia

In Luminar, choose Layers > Add New Adjustment Layer. You don’t need to do this – you can make the adjustment directly to the photo – but using an adjustment layer means you can undo any changes, or temporarily turn them off easily to compare your original photo to the edited version.

Next, click Add Filters, and add the Photo Filter. This lets you add color to your photo. You may want to do so to simulate a specific color filter, but you can also use it to add subtle coloring, such as sepia.

Photo filter

Sepia is just a light reddish-brown color, and to add it to your photo, just play with the sliders in the Photo Filter to find the tone you like. Start by adjusting the Hue, then the Amount; you won’t need a lot of color to make it look good, and too much will not look like sepia. You can then adjust the saturation, to make sure that there’s not too much color. As you can see in this screenshot, I chose a setting of 33 for the Hue, 26 for the Amount, and 43 for saturation.

Sepia

And you can compare the before and after versions of the photo to see the difference:

Sepia before after

Sepia tone should be subtle, but if you want more color, change the Amount slider, or change both the Amount and Saturation. If you want less, adjust accordingly.

If you like using sepia tone on your black and white photos, choose Filters > Save Filter Preset, and give a name to the preset, such as My Sepia Preset. You’ll then be able to apply it with a single click from the Presets section of Luminar.

6 thoughts on “How to Add Sepia Tone to a Photo in Luminar

  1. You might like the “fake duotone.” You can lay down a solid 5% sepia layer and just overlay the B&W layer over it. It’s easy but it is easy to overdo it, since it mostly affects light tones. Your whitest white is now 5% sepia, you can even back that down a little.

    I print a lot of duotones (and various multitones) in alt photo processes, so I often think of image layers as films that make printing plates. The fake duotone is an old school film prepress trick.

  2. You might like the “fake duotone.” You can lay down a solid 5% sepia layer and just overlay the B&W layer over it. It’s easy but it is easy to overdo it, since it mostly affects light tones. Your whitest white is now 5% sepia, you can even back that down a little.

    I print a lot of duotones (and various multitones) in alt photo processes, so I often think of image layers as films that make printing plates. The fake duotone is an old school film prepress trick.

    • Well, the point of the article was to show how to do it in Luminar. You can also use Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Acorn, Pixelmator, and other apps.

      Yes, but unfortunately, if you want to use a uniform adjustment for many photos, Preview doesn’t give you anything other than sliders, so you can’t have exactly the same amount of sepia.

      Also, using an adjustment layer means that it is a non-destructive edit.

    • Well, the point of the article was to show how to do it in Luminar. You can also use Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Acorn, Pixelmator, and other apps.

      Yes, but unfortunately, if you want to use a uniform adjustment for many photos, Preview doesn’t give you anything other than sliders, so you can’t have exactly the same amount of sepia.

      Also, using an adjustment layer means that it is a non-destructive edit.

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