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From Film To Photos: What Happens During The Film Processing Process

Updated: May 17

The tactile experience of loading film, the suspense of not seeing the results instantly, and the unique characteristics of film contribute to its ongoing charm.

However, the magic of turning those small, transparent frames into tangible images is a mystery to many.

If you've ever wondered what happens between sending your film off to us and when you receive your photos, we're here to demystify the process of film processing, showing you exactly what happens during the process...

What Happens During The Film Processing Process

Receiving Your Film

As long as your film is sent back to us in a secure padded envelope, your film will safely be received the team.

After your film is delivered to us, all colour 35mm film processing orders are processed on the same day. Other film processing services such as ecn2 black and white and souped film require a more in-depth processing service so they can take up to a week to be processed.

We begin by unpacking your film and marrying up your order details to the processing service and deliverables you have requested, whether that be prints, digital images or a mix of the two.

Check The Film & Twin Check Time

This is then passed over for something we like to call a 'twin check'.

This involves adding industry standard (waterproof) numbers to both the film and order information so that when the film is being processed, we know which film relates to which order when it comes out of the processing machine.

Perhaps one of the most important stages so we can ensure the right images are returned to the right customer.

Getting The Film Ready For Developing

The films are then ready for a process. At this stage film is very sensitive to light so careful handling is required at this stage as it is loaded into the machine. Gloves are worn at this stage to handle any film.

The film is then passed through our processors for developing. During this stage it is developed, bleached then into the fix, followed by a wash. It then goes into the drier and exits the machine.

The film negatives look like this as they exit the machine. It's very satisfying to watch as it comes out!

Scanning Process

During the scanning process the negative film is scanned into the machine where we personally realign the images and adjust their composition accordingly.

If you just selected digital prints for your processing, you will receive a dropbox link on the very same day. How's that for a quick turnaround time?

If you have sent in ecn2 black and white and souped film, then these films take slightly longer for processing as they are more specialist films to process.

Printing Process

If you've picked digital prints, your scanned images will be sent across for printing. Another very satisfying process to watch as they come out of the machine.

If you've selected to receive your negatives, these are spliced up and safely stored in a plastic wallet for their return.

Your prints are then packaged in a film processing envelope and sent out to you on the same day they are developed. Keep an eye out for them in the post!

So, there we have it. That's how our film processing services work in a nutshell. If you have any other questions, please get in touch! Here's a little BTS look at how they are processed too..

If you want a closer look at how the process works from start to finish, be sure to head over to our Instagram page for a behind the scenes look!

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