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An old time hand toned look

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
I have this portrait image of twins that I was hired to photograph. There is a quality to the images, that almost begged some type of old time treatment. I currently use Nik Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro software (Photoshop plugin) for a quick way to alter of improve images.

As I went through the list, I wasn't finding any preset that really did if for me. There are couple of presets that I have used and like for certain images - - - but I ended up using a combination of those two, to get to a look that to some degree emulated old hand toned look - one that used to do with wet dyes and pastels myself in my wet darkroom and Main Street studio days.

Many photographers use Nik - so I thought I'd take some screen captures of the steps and settings in case some want to play around with the effect. WITHOUT Nik - there is no reason that the same basic steps of creating a vintage color film look on one layer and then converting to a toned black and white on a copy layer wouldn't work the same - - - just requires more steps.

This is the final result:

Base Image Opened in Photoshop 6

Using the Film Efex : Vintage preset of Color Efex Pro 4

Using the 034 Yellowed 2 preset of Silver Efex Pro 2


Robert Watcher

Well-known member

In order to protect the white border area, I used the Magic Wand tool to select it and create a new layer with that content.

Final step was going to the Silver Efex layer and lowering the opacity to taste. For this image, I decided on around 65%


Maggie Terlecki

Active member
What a fun way to treat this image. I think it's the haircuts that make it look like it could be from a different era. Turned out really well.

I have to say though, the full color one sure looks gorgeous too!

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

Color was great. Kudos to the camera.

However, I like to see the people and not the raz-ma-taz! So I love this quieter presentation!

This has so much more human sentiment. I'm so convinced that full color takes away a lot from the sense of relationships you've brought out here.

Now, kudos to the photographer! :)


Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Thank you both for your comments.

The choices that I make for how I process images isn't so much influenced by whether I feel a picture looks fine as a colour or black and white that I have shot it as - - - - but more that I have to make an impact to my customers who are attracted to a unique look as they will be hanging these images as large framed or canvas prints on their walls or part of an album series of images - so that all viewing will be impressed as well. Processes like this, work great for having that visual appeal - - - and a degree of longevity too I think.