Toning : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Hi, I have read a lot about selenium toning but have never tried it. From what I understand it boosts contrast and helps achieve blacker blacks. For the most part I am pretty satisfied with my tonal range and contrast. What improvement if any would I see by selenium toning an already acceptable print with full range? I use Ilford's RC papers in both matte and glossy. Thankyou!

-- Justin Fullmer (, June 11, 2001



It can improve the stability of the paper as well as get rid of that subtle green tint. My adivce is to try and see the comparison for yourself. The results can vary depending on the paper and developers used. be careful when handling selenium toner though. It is quite toxic.

-- Jim Billups (, June 11, 2001.

If anything, you will go from no real tonage to a slight colder tone with Ilford RC's. It is good though for the more permanence. The contrast will be raised a little but not all that much. Do a test... print two exactly the same prints and tone one and put them side by side for a comparison test.

-- Scott Walton (, June 11, 2001.

selenium toner isn't that bad, although I wouldn't drink it! Pure selenium in its powder form is very toxic however.

-- mark lindsey (, June 11, 2001.

What a coincidence!!! I just did my first selenium tonng over the weekend!!! I also used Ilford went great!!! I have seen so many opinions of dilution/time, that I just took my best guess...I diluted 1:15, and toned for 4 minutes. I had identical side by side prints for comparison...WOW!!! That ugly greenish tone is gone - the print looks rich and full...I'll never go back to untoned prints again!!

I had decided to tone because I recently changed from Agfa paper to Ilford, and that greenish look is more prominent (to me) in the Ilford. Plus, I've been getting some nice results since my recent switch to medium format, and felt like it was time to take the next step towards permanence and protection. Try it - you won't regret it!!!

-- KL Vance (, June 11, 2001.

It's surprising what a difference selenium toning can make to some papers. Ilford's warmtone in both fibre and RC tone very well. You can go for the quick tone with a slight cooling of the image or a full blown reddish/purple colour.

I remember a German paper long discontinued called Agentabrom which had the most dreadful geenish emulsion you have ever seen in a paper but when selenium toned it produced a beautiful warm red-brown colour with silvery gray highlights. You just wouldn't believe it was the same paper. So its well worth toning ones prints most papers just seem to "snap" into life.

-- Trevor Crone (, June 12, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ