Photographic print toning is a process that has been used by photographers for over a century to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their prints.

Toning can be used to alter the color and contrast of a print, as well as to improve its longevity.

In this article, we will explore the different types of toning, their effects, and how to apply them to your prints.

What Is Photographic Print Toning?

Photographic print toning is the process of altering the color of a black and white or color photograph by introducing metallic or non-metallic compounds into the emulsion layer of the print.

The toning process can also alter the contrast and tone of the print, resulting in a unique and visually striking image.

There are several different types of toning, each with its own unique effect.

Types of Photographic Print Toning

Sepia Toning

Sepia toning is the most common type of toning and is achieved by introducing a compound called sodium sulfide into the emulsion layer of the print.

This process gives the print a warm, brownish tone that is reminiscent of old-fashioned photographs.

Sepia toning also increases the longevity of the print by making it more resistant to fading and deterioration.

Selenium Toning

Selenium toning involves introducing a compound called sodium selenite into the emulsion layer of the print.

This process results in a cooler, bluish-black tone that can enhance the contrast and detail in the image.

Selenium toning also increases the archival quality of the print, making it more resistant to fading and deterioration.

Gold Toning

Gold toning is a process that involves introducing a compound called gold chloride into the emulsion layer of the print.

This process results in a warm, reddish-brown tone that can enhance the color and contrast of the image.

Gold toning also increases the archival quality of the print, making it more resistant to fading and deterioration.

Platinum/Palladium Toning

Platinum/palladium toning is a process that involves introducing a combination of platinum and palladium compounds into the emulsion layer of the print.

This process results in a unique, warm-toned image that is highly resistant to fading and deterioration.

Platinum/palladium toning is often used in fine art photography to create archival-quality prints that will last for generations.

Applying Photographic Print Toning

The process of applying photographic print toning will depend on the type of toning you wish to achieve.

However, the basic steps involved are as follows:

Prepare the Print

Before toning your print, it is important to prepare it properly.

This involves washing the print thoroughly to remove any residual chemicals and allowing it to dry completely.

Prepare the Toning Solution

The toning solution will depend on the type of toning you wish to achieve.

Each toning process requires a different solution, which can be purchased from photographic supply stores.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when preparing the toning solution.

Apply the Toning Solution

Once the toning solution is prepared, the print is immersed in the solution for a predetermined amount of time.

The length of time will depend on the type of toning solution and the desired effect.

It is important to agitate the solution regularly to ensure even toning.

Wash the Print

After the print has been toned, it is important to wash it thoroughly to remove any residual toning solution.

This helps to prevent the print from fading or deteriorating over time.

Photographic Print Toning – Wrap Up

Photographic print toning is a process that can enhance the aesthetic appeal and archival quality of your prints.

Sepia, selenium, gold, and platinum/palladium toning are just a few of the many toning processes available to photographers.

When applying toning, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to prepare the print properly.

With these guidelines in mind, you can create unique and visually striking prints that will stand the test of time.