Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, EF 35mm f/1.4.

Kids in Sepia, June 2005

I enjoy photographing children. At a certain level they are less self-conscious than adults and therefore less concerned about how they look for the camera. This helps foster images that are spontaneous and natural.

I like to use shallow focus technique that add atmosphere to candid portraits, and I often choose black and white when doing this type of work. Sometimes, adding a "sepia toned" effect complements this approach very well.

"Sepia toning" is a term from analog photography where black and white silver halide prints are toned in a chemical bath after the image is developed. Different color tone effects can be achieved using different formulations. Sepia (a warm tone) and selenium (cool) are two popular options.

These digital images, of my sons Sterling and Ethan and several school friends, have been edited in Photoshop to take on an appearance similar to that provided by the traditional analog sepia toning process.

The image at right, of Sterling and Ethan, was made one summer evening outdoors in subdued light. There is a stillness and quiet in their demeanor that I really like, though in reality they had been chasing each other around like maniacs just moments before. In any case, I think it works here. Below are a few more that I think benefit from this approach.


Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L


Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS.


Canon EOS 10D, EF 50mm f/1.4