Project Description

Learn how to apply split toning effects to your images in Exposure, and see how to customize how they affect your photos in this tutorial.

Photo: Artemas Mott


Toning is a method of adding colors to an image without affecting its brightness, it is simply a change to color. Split Toning is when multiple colors are introduced with the process. In addition to introducing new tones, split toning creates a divide between the light and dark values of an image by coloring them independently.

Applying tonal shifts has been part of photography since its earliest days. The effects of split toning are easy to recognize on black and white images, so before I begin applying toning to this image, I’ll apply one of Exposure’s film emulation presets from the presets panel.

Exposure enables you to creatively experiment with different looks, which makes the toning process easy. The split toning controls are at the bottom of the Tone Curve panel. There are lots of great-looking presets to browse in the dropdown. You can apply any of these to get the process started and then make adjustments, or you can build your own effect from scratch.

Listed under Split Toning are a few easy-to-use controls. The gradient strip represents the luminosity of the image. Luminosity is the measure of brightness in the image’s values. It is easy to see the comparison with black and white images. Light areas in your photo are represented by the right side of the strip, and dark tones are on the left.

You can move each color stop along the gradient to control the values that color will affect your image. I’ll adjust the brown color stop left to apply the color on darker values in the photo.

To adjust the color, drag the color slider, or select the color swatch on the right to change the toning color.

If you only want to apply a single tone to your image, set the Strength slider to zero for one color.

Now I’ll adjust the strength of the applied tones. A subtle touch can go a long way to creating mood in your image.

Once you create a toning look you’re happy with, save it as a preset so you can use it again in the future. Give your new split toning preset an informative name. Put it in a category, which places it in a submenu. And give the preset an informative description to help you understand how you created the effect.