Using Ilford Multigrade Developer on Ilford MG RC Glossy paper, my prints have a yellowish hue in the highlights. I'm very new to darkroom printing, but I was expecting a greyer/whiter color in the highlights.

This is using fresh developer and fixer, but older stopper. I'm using Ilford MG developer, Ilfostop stopper, Kodak fixer. I wash for at least 15 minutes.

How can I remove or avoid the yellowish highlights in my prints?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you using fresh chemicals? What are you using for a stop bath and fixer? How long are you washing it for? Do you see the yellow cast if you process a new sheet of paper without exposing it? If so, what happens if you take a new sheet of paper and fix and wash it only? These test will help troubleshoot the problem. Also, can you share a picture? \$\endgroup\$
    – bvy
    Jun 7, 2017 at 12:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @bvy I've updated my question to indicate my process. It will take me a little to do find time to do that test, but I will. \$\endgroup\$
    – steel
    Jun 7, 2017 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks good. Old stop bath wouldn't cause this issue unless it's become contaminated somehow. Also, in spite of the answer below, a 15 minute wash time is WAY excessive. Ilford recommends a 2 minute wash for their RC paper, and actually warns against wash times of 15 minutes or greater. Rinsing isn't your problem, but I wanted to mention that. Back to the issue, I would try refixing in fresh fixer, as bad fixer is most often the culprit behind prints that are or become discolored. \$\endgroup\$
    – bvy
    Jun 7, 2017 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ This looks like a fixer issue. I had it in the past with fiber prints, it went away after changing my brand of fixer (I use Fomafix, but for me it is the local brand) and washing more vigorously. I am not sure what of the two did the trick. Never had a problem with RC. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8, 2017 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


Photo prints will yellow if improperly washed. We wash prints after the fix bath to completely remove residual chemicals. Try to save these prints by re-fixing and then washing in running water for about 15 to 30 minutes in gently running water. If water is scarce, use a washing agent like "hypo clear" followed by a brief wash. If this doesn't work, let us know, their are other remedies but these are more complex.

The more complex – don’t attempt if you have not taken chemical handling safety 101. We gray-hairs worked in the dark with loads of chemicals. After all film and paper developing is a subset of the chemical industry.

To remove stains from prints improperly washed: Prepare a stain removing bath: Potassium Alum (saturated solution) 250 milliliters

Hydrochloric Acid (concentrated) 6 milliliters

Pour the potassium alum into a tray sufficient in size to accept the prints. Pour slowly into this tray the acid while stirring constantly. Soak the stained prints in this solution, all carried out in normal room light. Wash the prints in running water thoroughly after treatment.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ A 15 to 30 minutes wash is overkill for RC paper. Ilford recommends two minutes and actually cautions against wash times of 15 minutes or longer. Five minutes is a good compromise for those wanting to be extra cautious. \$\endgroup\$
    – bvy
    Jun 7, 2017 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ bvy - Quote from Ilford RC data sheet -- Prolonged immersion in water can cause edge penetration and print curl with resin coated papers: for this reason, avoid wet times longer than 15 minutes. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 8, 2017 at 0:26

There were two issues going on here.

  1. A slight yellow, warm hue that can be "cooled" with Selenium toner.
  2. A stronger yellow hue that was the byproduct of something off in my chemistry setup. I refreshed my chemicals, ensured I wasn't over-fixing or over-washing my resin-coated paper, and it disappeared.

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