Black and White Paper Guide

Creating a subtle visual representation of the chosen subject, with depth and interest, is an aim of any specialist B&W photographer. Toning can be a means to enhancing the subject portrayed and is surprisingly easy. Four of the most common toners are listed in this leaflet, with a few suggestions on how to use them. 
Generally toners need to be chosen with a colour sympathetic to the subject matter, with the best results often being created by subtle split toning. 

Chemicals used in toning can be toxic if not used carefully. 
Never eat, drink or smoke whilst working with toning chemicals. 
Avoid contact with skin and eyes. 
Wear rubber gloves and suitable eye protection. 

General Notes 
Prints that are to be toned should be thoroughly fixed and washed. Fixer left in the print can seriously degrade the results obtained during toning, overwashing is not a problem. 
Prints should be thoroughly re-wetted, if they have been dried, before they are toned. Uneven results can be obtained, if the print is dry when it enters the toner. 
Toners tend to become exhausted quite quickly, do not expect to tone 20 identical prints from the one mixing of toner. Always make up fresh toner before each working session. 
Although the toners in this leaflet work with all Kentmere papers, the fibre base papers tend to be more suitable than the resin coated. 

Technical enquiries  
Please address any technical enquiries to; 
Kentmere Limited Photographic Division, Staveley, Kendal, Cumbria LA8 9P8. 
Telephone: 01539 821 365 Fax: O1 539 821 399 

Raw Chemicals and Toners 
The raw chemicals and toners mentioned in this leaflet are available from: 
Silverprint Limited, 
1 2b Valentine Place, London SE1 8QH. 
Telephone : O1 71 -620 0844 Fax : O1 71 -620 O1 29 Silverprint also stock a full range of Kentmere products. 

Kentmere Sepia Toner 
Sepia toning is perhaps the most popular and widely used technique, producing the classic "turn of the century" image. Kentmere Septa Toner is a two part odourless process. 
All Kentmere papers tone well with Kentmere Sepia Toner. Kentmere Sepia Toner offers infinitely variable tones, according to dilution and time. 
Prints to be toned should be thoroughly fixed and washed prior to any toning. 
Kentmere Sepia Toner comes as parts A + B: a bleach and toner. By varying the dilution of the toner (part B) a range of tones can be obtained. Used neat a rich chocolate brown is produced, the colour moving towards yellow/brown with increasing dilution. 
The chloro-bromide type emulsions, Kentona and Art Classic, tend to produce a more yellow/brown result than the bromide type emulsions. 


  • Immerse print in the bleach solution A until all the black image is bleached.
  • Wash in water until the water is no longer coloured.
  • Tone in solution B diluted as required.
  • Wash in running water for at least 4 minutes for R.C. papers or at least 30 minutes for fibre papers .
One of the inherent problems with this process is creating a rich lustrous brown, yet retaining detail in the highlights. Moving up a contrast grade before bleaching gives the d.max required, but at the expense of the detail in the highlights; moving down a contrast grade gives the reverse. Many subjects cannot easily be "printed in" by shading to overcome this. Try the following suggestions: 


  • Using Fineprint VC, create a print and note the contrast grade you are satisfied with.
  • Choose an area of the print sensitive to contrast, eg. a face and highlight; make a test exposure time of 75% grade 4 contrast and 25% grade 1 contrast. Manipulate the result until you achieve the same overall grade as the original print but a fraction darker. Individual negatives may require further refinement is. using 65% grade 5 and 35% grade 0.
  • Bleach and tone the print in the normal way. The finished prints will have far greater depth and tonal range, as more of the silver halide in the emulsion is exposed and developed to give the chosen contrast.
Copper Toner 
Copper toner can provide a delights soft subtle warm red to prints and especially suits high key or crosslit portraits. Soft focus, backlighting and twenties "period" images particularly suit this process. 
Solution A 
Cupric sulphate 
Potassium citrate 
Water to make
 1 Litre
Solution B 
Potassium ferricyanide 
Potassium citrate 
Water to make 
 1 Litre
Store A and B separately, mix equal parts of A and B together to give a working solution. The colour range achievable is from a subtle warm black to an almost brick red, depending on how long the print is toned for. Prints should be made slightly darker than required, as the image tends to be bleached with longer toning times. Prints should be thoroughly washed to avoid staining. With the longer toning times the print surface can tend to become matt. 

Blue Toner 
With the correct choice of subject, or just a gentle wash fn the sky/highlights, blue toning can produce some fascinating results. Blue toner is an additive process; depending on the degree of toning, starting with a slightly lighter print is recommended. Blue toning is not as archivally permanent as some other forms of toning. 
Solution A 
Potassium ferricyanide 
Sulphuric acid 10% 
Water to make 
 1 Litre 
Solution B 
Ammonium ferric citrate 
Sulphuric acid 10% 
Water to make
 1 Litre 
(10% Sulphuric acid can be replaced with Tartaric acid, this will produce a more subtle colour change) 

Store A and B separately, mix equal parts of A and B together to give a one bath working solution. The working solution should be made up freshly before use. The colour change is progressive from a subtle cooling of the image tone to a deep Prussian blue. To achieve the more subtle blue tones, dilution of the working solution 1 + 1 will make the toning more controllable. 
The print will tend to increase in contrast and density during toning, a slightly lighter exposure might be preferred for the original print. The whites of the print will be stained yellow on removal from the toner; this will gradually clear with washing. Wash for 30 minutes after toning. If the wash water is alkaline, the blue may tend to wash out; this can be remedied by adding a small amount of acetic acid stop bath to the wash water. 
A solution of 1 % Sodium carbonate (alkaline) can be used to clear any unwanted blue from highlights or print border. Interesting effects can be achieved if the print is re-fixed, after a brief rinse, once toning is completed. Depending on the type of fixer, this can convert the Prussian blue to a bright blue. 

Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 
Creatively, low key subjects demanding the most intense of blacks, with mid-tones gaining a Purple - brown hue are best eg. pictorial landscapes. The most intense results are achieved with the Kentona paper; superb results can be created by slightly over printing, toning, then lightly bleaching back the selected highlights. 
Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner is the most practical and safe way of undertaking this process. The toxicity of the raw materials means we do not recommend making this product from the base chemicals. 

Use as a single bath toner at dilutions of 1 part toner to 3 - 1 9 parts water. 

Selenium toning is one of the most universally accepted ways of improving print permanence. Selenium toner used at a dilution of 1 + 20 or greater, can improve image permanence without significantly changing the image colour. 

Kodak rapid selenium toner will work with all Kentmere papers, the results will vary depending on the emulsion type. 
Selenium toner initially cools the image tone slightly, then progresses to a subtle purple tone; longer toning times (up to 20 minutes) can increase the purple brown tone. The chloro-bromide type emulsions, Kentona and Art Classic, will show a more significant change in image colour to the purple brown. 


Artzone Index We express our gratitude to * Aris M. Giagtzoglou & Co. distributor of KENTMERE papers in Greece for giving to us the permission to present the above material. 

Concept and Design by Elias Eliadis
Copyright 1998 Black & White Art Zone- Paperzone. All Rights Reserved. 
First published date 15 July 1998 


Paperzone Index
* Aris M. Giagtzoglou & Co.  
5-7 Chr. Lada Athens 10561 Greece   
Tel: +301 3233886 Fax: +301 3229472