Average Color 2 – Monochromatic Toning

quick tip logoIn the first article in this series we highlighted the use of ‘Average Color’ as a way of doing a ‘quick’ colour cast correction. In this article, we will use it to create two  complementary monochromatic tones and see how they may be used to develop a consistent style.

mono colour wheelConsistency in your workflow is essential to creating images which fulfil your artistic goals; Style is the introduction of cohesiveness and harmony which will, amongst other things, allow others to immediately recognise your work.

We are going to use a monochromatic colouring process to stylise our images. By averaging out the colours in the image we will create an ‘average’ tone which will be sympathetic to the colours in that image, and then by using a complementary colour we will create an alternative look to provide an option which will be equally sympathetic – it’s then just a matter of personal choice.

For any SINGLE image the first tone (Averaged Tone)

        • Duplicate the original image (Cntrl J) > Filter > Blur > Average, leave the Opacity at 100 and  change the Blend Mode to ‘Color’.

For any SINGLE image the second tone (Inverted Tone)

        • Duplicate the original image (Cntrl J) > Filter > Blur > Average> Cntrl I, leave the Opacity at 100 and  change the Blend Mode to ‘Color’.

Initial Image                           Averaged Tone                        Inverted Tone






The above approach works well for an individual image but we are really looking to create a consistent style that will run through an entire collection. The images below may not be particularly strong but with consistent styling, they have potential to pull together to form a good story.

To do this we need to:color selector


  • Use a single image which is typical of the overall environment being considered and create layers for the ‘Averaged’ and ‘Inverted’ tones.
  • Then using the color sampling tool, get the hex code of the tone for each layer.
  • Now for each subsequent image Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color, enter the relevant hex code, > ENTER and change the layer Blend Mode to Color
  • Each application has alternative ways to achieve the required result, but this method will work equally well for Photopea, Photoshop or Affinity.

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green river

green river




This process is something that you can adapt to your own collections with perhaps specific tones for mountains, deserts, seashores, forests etc, or, bright blue skys, indoor sports meets, weddings etc etc.

If you have any actions, presets, tips, worked examples  you would be happy to contribute and help others get a good start with their photo processing, please get in touch – pay your knowledge forward !

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