I sepia toned a few prints today for the first time. A couple that I did gave me the expected results, very nice. They were printed on Ilford RC matte finish paper. A couple I did were done on glossy Ilford RC paper. They didn't bleach very much at all. The sepia tone also faded when the prints dried. But what has remained is an overall increase in contrast. This only happened with the glossy paper. Anyone seen that happen before, or is it my imagination? Thanks!
I've seen it happen too, but my skills and experience are not there yet to predict (and get) what i want all the time. It's still pretty much a matter of tossing out the losers and keeoing the winners. For me at least, it seems to be pretty much by guess and by golly.
glossy surface papers seem to "enhance" every thing. It hids nothing.
It is common for bleaching toners to add contrast. There is also a drying down effect and the print will appear to be very different than what you saw when wet.
Keep good notes and if possible compare a print that you like with the one you are now toning. The guide print should be wet when you make the comparsion.
I don't use RC but when toning with warm tone papers the effects are usually far more dramatic. Try them if you get a chance. Perhaps also try toning RC Pearl.
Another thing to try is only partially bleaching - pull the paper early and wash and then tone. Some people dilute the bleach to double what the instructions say so they have more control over the amount of bleaching.
And as Ann suggested take careful notes on time in bleach, time in toner, kind of paper, the developer you used, etc .
Ilford MG IV RC is famous for not taking tones. The matte surface will emphsize any tone, while a smooth glossy finish will de-emphasize it. Happens with everything, not only Ilford.
Two of my photos on this site were printed on Ilford MG IV RC and toned in Viradon. One showed no change of tone, the other I bleached to completion before toning...