Problem with first sepia toning attempt. : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I just made my first attempt at sepia toning, and I've done something wrong. I worked with a fiber-based, 8x10 print, following the Kodak sepia toning instructions: 5-8 minutes in bath A, followed by 30 seconds in bath B. What I got was a mottled effect, with a few blotches in the print that retained an untoned look. At least the sections of the print that did tone looked cool. I suspect that the print may have had some residual fixer that wasn't washed out before toning. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

-- Frank Burtnett (, November 12, 2000


I haven't used it, but I have read before that Kodak sepia toner is particularly sensitive to contamination of the print, not only by residual fixer, but also by contamination of the wash water.

I understand that the toner is a bleach-and-redevelopment toner, and part A is the bleach. As the bleach converts the image silver back to silver halide, residual fixer might show in light spots or an overall loss of density (seen most clearly in the highlights), as the bleach plus fixer actually make Farmer's Reducer.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, November 13, 2000.

You must use hypo clearing agent and wash the print thoroughly before you reduce and tone.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, November 13, 2000.

Thouroughly wash print before toning, best to use HCA, Perma Wash, Orbit Bath, or other hypo clearing bath.

You MUST bleach completely for the full effect. I don't think it is possible to overbleach, but bleach until the entire image is completely gone or just the faintest of image.

I suggest distilled water.

-- Charlie Strack (, November 13, 2000.

I agree with Charlie...the print must be completely bleached...ALL black gone and the image almost invisible. Ignore Kodak's time lines on bleaching. Also, some paper brands will tone more or less than other paper. Many RC papers give a heavy harsh sepia brown, and others, like Luminos textured, provide a very mild toning. Attached is an example of a very mild sepia toned Luminos textured paper image (originally photographed in 1959)., November 13, 2000.

Well, sorry...image didn't come up. I can usually post images using an html code. Didn't work here...but, do a complete bleaching.

-- Todd Frederick (, November 13, 2000.

Just for the hell-of-it let me try another image hosting service.

-- Todd Frederick (, November 13, 2000.

Ok...that worked...I think I left off a " mark on the other attempt. sorry.

You see this images is very mildly toned...not intentionally so, but due to the paper type. Experiment.

-- Todd Frederick (, November 13, 2000.

This image was printed on an older Ilford fiber paper with sepia toning and hand coloring of selected parts. It is a bit more evident in tone. Some papers are downright copper in color.

-- Todd Frederick (, November 13, 2000.

You need not always bleach back the image completely. Sepia bleach has a split-tone effect just like selenium, only it comes from the highlight side. With the right image, you can get great results if you tone the highlights and midtones only. To be able to control the bleaching, it is advisable to use strongly diluted bleach.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, November 14, 2000.

I agree with Thomas...split toning can be very beautiful. Control and consistency from print to print is the key with split toning: Time, temp., and bleach dilution are very important.

Thorough hypo-clearning and washing are the important factors to avoid staining, not the amount of bleaching...I stand corrected.

-- Todd Frederick (, November 14, 2000.

Thanks to all for your answers. My second attempt was better than my first, and my third attempt worked just fine. Thanks again.

-- Frank Burtnett (, November 20, 2000.

resuming all the answers that you had: Ignore the Kodak time instructions. In my experience, you must wait at least 20-25 minutes to see the deep blacks turn to dark brown tones. Remember that your print must be a slight darker than the "perfect print", because sepia tonning usually lightens up the lighter tones. I do believe that you must wash your print at least 60 minutes after the hypoclearing bath. If your water is harsh, meaning with lots of natural salts as CaCO3, stains will apear in your print. Try, after the 60 min. wash after Hypo, immerse your print in destiled water agitating the tray 15 minutes, and then use the sepia toner.

-- Rui Edgar da Silva Guerreiro (, December 07, 2000.

I dont know where you live but well water can produce prussian blue spots on your prints because of the iron in it.

-- Frank Bowing (, January 31, 2001.

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