Controling Sepia toning.... how?
I tried sepia toning for the first time today. Paper was Ilford MGIV FB and toner was Photographers' Formulary 221.
I heard Sepia toning reduces density so I chose a print that came out a tad too dark. Then followed the instructions.... bleach, wash, redevelop, wash, fix with hardener, HCA, wash again. The instruction says bleach for 1 min and redevelop for 1 min so that's what I did.
The result is.... the print is just as dark as the original and it's really brown/red. It's not the subtle kind of sepia.... it screams out SEPIA! It also looks like I lost contrast a bit. Overall, it's not pleasing at all.
As I understand, Selenium toning can be controlled by time and I got used to that... The instructions that came with the selenium toner gave me an impression that toning should complete in one minute and is done to completion.
How do I control this so I can have pleasing subtle sepia that doesn't scream out SEPIA!??
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Dilute the bleach, and then adjust the time in the bleach to determine how much toning you get. You can also adjust the time in the redevelop stage. If you split tone (selenium + sepia) the length of time in the selenium will determine the sepia effect as well.
The combinations are endless. I really like the control this gives me. Tim Rudman's Toning book is a wonderful resource.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
To get a subtle sepia effect, the best way in my opinion is to give up on indirect toning and use direct brown toning instead. Easy to do, more control and no surprises! I use it with MGIV-FB all the time. I'm not familiar with your toner, but it should work with that product by just skipping the bleaching step.
If you bleach just until you can see the lightest tones start to fade (may be only a few seconds in full strength bleach), then pull it and wash and redevelop in the toner, the result will be much more subtle. I have a few recent ones in my gallery. dlin (Daniel Lin) has a good consistent procedure down because his toning is subtle and consistent...check out his gallery too. It sounds like Matt might have some images in his gallery too, but I haven't checked
Get a variable indirect toner kit. Different dilutions of the part 2 toner gives you a range of tones from pale yellow/brown to the kind of colour you describe here as not being to your liking.
Those instructions you have quoted sound a bit too simplistic. Too "black and white" or is that reddish/brown and white?
Tim Rudman's book is worth buying as well. Very comprehensive on a whole range of toners and toning.
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Toning has so many variables that you should expect to have to experiment with it quite a bit before you're able to get exactly the results you want. Tim Rudman's book is invaluable, and has recently been reprinted so it's available. Using it as a guide, and having been toning for a year or so now, I'm still learning what to expect ( I mix my own bleach, and toner from chems bought from the Formulary ) and how to be more consistent.
While in graduate school I had an assignment to choose three different printing paper, four developers, and seven toners, then print the same negative on them all in every possible combination. One of the toners I chose was Kodak Sepia Toner and one paper was Ilford Multigrade. There is a lot of possibilities with it.
Make a few prints of the same negative to run a series of bleach and tonings. Get a timer and see how long it takes to completely bleach the image. This is a full bleach and will produce the weakest tones. Then bleach another for only half that time. See how it differs. Do another for a quarter of the full time, and another for an eighth. Finally, try a reverse sepia by toning first, then bleach and re-tone. Compare all of these to see if any are to your liking.
With respect to the original question,
Bleach-redevelopment sepia toning is meant to be taken to completion. If you want partial toning you should use one of the direct toners: brown toner, polysulfide toner, selenium toner.
Kodak Brown Toner is no longer made, but the same formula is available from Freestyle in LA as Legacy brand. It works with Ilford MGIV FB but isn't nearly as warm. Like all direct toners, you simply remove the print when it gets the color you want. In this way you can obtain any degree of toning from almost imperceptible to strong color or anything in between.
Papers lose density to varying degrees depending upon the paper. Some papers loose considerable density while others lose far less. There is also a loss of contrast. This too varies among different papers. You can compensate by making the print greater in density and contrast based on your experience with the particular paper.
The color you’re after might be better realized on a warmtone paper like Ilford Warmtone FB. You might like the results even better when this paper is developed in a slow-working developer like Ilford Warmtone Developer. The copmbination of Ilford Warmtone paper + Ilford Warntone Developer + any direct sulfide toner is quite beautiful and the toning can range from barely perceptible to strong color as you desire. It’s easily controlled by varying the toning time.
I made 5 identical prints so it's time to experiment then....
What's everybody's favorite brown/sepia toner? I picked Photographers' Forumulary because it was the only one available from the vendor I bought it from. I'm really not wanting to mix my own, so I'm looking for pre-packaged toners.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Freestyle sell Legacy brand Brown Toner Agfa Viradon (another brown toner), and a Sepia Toner Kit. Each of these is similar to the now discontinued Kodak products and the prices are similar and not expensive.
Freestyle also sells Moerch Polytoner in 3 varieties. The Moersch Sienna Polytoner contains selenium like the original Kodak Polytoner and produces similar tones.
The Brown Toner and Sienna Polytoner are easy to use. You simply dilute with water per instructions.