Toning, Tinting + Colorization

The girl in the bright red coat, running through black-and-white streets in Steven Speilberg’s film “Schindler’s List”, illustrates the power of colorization to focus attention and create drama. This use of colorization had a specific point and efficiently used an old technique to communicate an idea, create an emotional response and deepen the story being told.

It’s really no different with still photographs. Toning, tinting and colorization all play their part in altering the feeling you have when you regard an image. Your picture is telling a story as well, and used strategically and sparingly, adding color can create a mood (warm, cool), visually separate bland aspects of a photo, evoke an emotional response or highlight an idea.

Regardless of the photograph you bring to us, we can create a finished duplicate that is black-and-white, or any range of color options, using traditional or digital techniques. Toning most often means that the image has an overall sepia color, running the gamut from yellow-brown to magenta “selenium”. Tinting is a soft application of color that tends to be antiqued-looking, and full colorization is when a stronger saturation of color is applied more heavily. Selective colorization is illustrated by the “Schindler’s List” example. All these techniques can be used in combination or by themselves, depending upon the desired effect.

Toning generally does not add anything to your final bill, as all prints have color of some kind and we have to adjust that as part of the normal digital printing process.

Tinting and colorization however, can be relatively simple, or may involve meticulous detail, therefore the price for these additional services is based on the size and complexity of the image. Though most of the color conversion we do is acheived digitally, there are still occasions when hand-painting is desired. This is done, as it was in the old days, with oil paints, pencils, pastels, and/or water-based dyes. Even when done digitally however, the same expertise and sensitivity is applied in order to acheive a full palette of complex color.

We teach classes in colorization at our shop. They are structured like a studio art class and are geared for the average person who loves doing hand work and may or may not have art-making experience. Please feel free to call or email us for more info.

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