Multibrown toner

Moving beyond simple sepia toner it is possible to alter the distinct shade of brown using a two-part brown toner based on thiocarbamide. Sepia provides a constant color change to all your prints. You have no choice about the shade of brown that your images become. In contrast the two-part thiocarbamide toner detailed here will give you a color choice in the toning process. By adjusting the ratio of parts A and B of the toner, you can produce a range of browns from purple brown, through a neutral brown, to yellow brown. In this way you can control the color of the final print.

To start coloring your prints, you must first carefully make up the bleach and toning solutions. Ensure that the print to be toned is fully fixed and carefully washed. Bleach the photograph by gently agitating the picture in a tray of the bleaching solution. Wash the image until all yellow staining is removed. Mix toner parts A and B to the ratio needed for the color you require. Immerse the print into the tray of toner and agitate until all toning stops. Wash the photograph again and dry as normal.

Table P.1 Colors associated with different mixing ratios of part A and B thiocarbamide toner

Thiocarbamide toner ratios and resultant print tones:

Toner solution part A Toner solution part B Water to be added

Print tone

10 ml

50 ml

500 ml

Purple brown

10 ml

30 ml

500 ml

Cold brown

10 ml

10 ml

500 ml

Brown

30 ml

10 ml

500 ml

Warm brown

50 ml

10 ml

500 ml

Yellow brown

It may be helpful to make up a toning palette to assist you with deciding what tone your next print will be. Smaller changes in color can be achieved by adjusting the ratios of the toner parts. Keep in mind when you are experimenting that not all photographic papers are manufactured in the same way using the same emulsions. Such differences will change the way in which the toner reacts with the image. For example, a chlorobromide-based paper will always give you a warmer toned image than a straight bromide paper (see formula below).

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