When you think of selenium toning, your first thought most likely involves either archival processing of your darkroom prints, or toning your fiber prints for an increased contrast and a slight color shift towards neutral with deeper blacks.
In the Selenium Toning For Analog Photographers Guidebook, I discuss two different methods for selenium toning your black and white films. The first method is for archival purposes and the second is to increase the overall contrast of your negative.
Benefits of Selenium Toning Your B&W Film Negatives
- Increase contrast and density of your negative that otherwise might not be possible with specific film and developer dilutions.
- Tonal expansion – could achieve N+1 from an N ype negative, for example.
- You can develop your negative at N and after inspection, you could selenium tone for N+1 giving you maximum flexibility and options.
- Works with traditional developers and Pyrocat staining type developers.
- Increase contrast of “old negatives” and protect them.
- Increase contrast of individual frames on roll film.
- Film normally increases grain the longer it is developed. For roll film, if you know you want to increase contrast, it is a good idea to develop for normal time and then selenium tone for the increased contrast without having to develop for the longer time and the increased grain.