Since sepia toning was used to help old photo prints hold up over time, many surviving historic images are sepia photos. This means the sepia tone is now associated with antique imagery. So if you create a modern, digital image with a sepia effect, it can take on an element of nostalgia or history. Artists can use this technique to evoke memories or create a feeling of nostalgia for their viewer.
The sepia pigment itself is a warm, comforting color, and the edges in sepia photos are soft. Even a harsh architectural photo with dramatic lines and shadows can take on a warm, soft appearance with a sepia photo effect.
“I find sepia works really well with landscape photography. Sometimes a color rendering is really pretty, but that vintage sepia element gives it a whole different feel. It has a more classic look than what you get when working with full color,” says Ballos. From portraits to nature shots, sepia photography can help an artist approach their subject matter in an unexpected way.