Toning--Selenium v. Sepia : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I am new to toning and will be having a custom lab do it. Can someone describe the appearance differance between Selenium & Sepia toning, what prints/subject matter yield themselves to one method vs. the other, does one make the print look older than the other? Is there a good basic source to read about toning--not how to do it but when to use it and why? THANKS.

-- Barry Steven (, June 02, 2002


Selenium toners often gives purple tones on papers, but in some cases chocolate brown/sepia brown tones (Forte chlorobromide papers for example) I have used Selenium toner with Agfa Multicontrast Classic, Portriga Rapid and Emaks papers, and get a purple tone, increased contrast and deeper blacks. With most sepa toners the paper is first bleached and redeveloped in the toner bath, transforming the silver to a sepia brown silver bromide. The photo becomes somewhat lighter and the contrast decreases a little. I like to sepia tone portraits because the skin tones looks more natural. Both selenium and sepia toners are great if you want archival prints.

Here's an example of a portrait toned in kodak sepia toner: 1.jpg

-- Patric (, June 02, 2002.

...and this photo is toned in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner: an.jpg

If you want the prints to look "old" I suggest the Sepia toning. It's not that they didn't use selenium toners in the old days, but people take more notice of the sepia brown prints because they look more different than the plain grey tone photos.

-- Patric (, June 02, 2002.

THIS is the correct url to the photo mentioned above: an.jpg

-- Patric (, June 02, 2002.

WHAT???? There shouldn't be a gap in tinasessan, and I don't know how it got there. Remove it and you can see the picture. Sheesh! :-/

-- Patric (, June 02, 2002.

Sheesh again! Remove the gap in this url too. It should be Nathalie1 and nothing else. Very strange. :-/ 1.jpg

-- Patric (, June 02, 2002.

Barry, one thought - toning is such variable thing, depending on paper, toning dilution, day of the week, phase of the moon, etc. etc. that having a lab do it might disappoint. Since one doesn't need a darkroom to tone, you might want to try it yourself.


-- Christian Harkness (, June 03, 2002.

Here in Sweden it would cost me $50-$70 if I want a commercial lab to print one negative on fiber paper and tone it. And if I decide to let them do that, I could only guess how the results would look like.

-- Patric (, June 03, 2002.

Patric in Sweden, see if the lab has examples and as for the price, it sounds about right for an 8x10 or 11x14 custom print. Now, Barry, Ilford paper will take Selenium but will be more archival than "toned" looked. It will appear to get colder but doesn't change alot. Sepia is more of a brown tone. Ilford does have a "warm toned" paper that will add to the effect of sepia also. You use toning to get a desired effect and it is usually a judgment call... although, alot of people use Selenium just for archival purposes.

-- Scott Walton (, June 04, 2002.

Scott wrote: "Patric in Sweden, see if the lab has examples and as for the price, it sounds about right for an 8x10 or 11x14 custom print."

It also shows how much can be saved by doing the work one self in the darkroom. The cost for the material isn't more than around $5. :-)

-- Patric (, June 04, 2002.

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