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How To Soup Film + The Results

Souping film is one of the less conventional ways to shoot on film, but one that captures the attention of those wishing to experiment and try something new.

Souping film is a creative and experimental process where film photographers immerse their film in various liquids before or after developing it. This technique introduces unpredictable and often dramatic effects to the images, such as colour shifts, streaks, bubbles, and textures.

The results are unique, one-of-a-kind photographs that cannot be replicated through digital filters or traditional film processing methods.

Why Soup Film?

Creative Expression

Souping film allows photographers to push the boundaries of traditional film photography.

By using different liquids, you can achieve a wide range of effects, giving your photos a distinctive, artistic look. No film soup will ever garner the same results.

Element of Surprise

The unpredictable nature of souping film adds an element of surprise and excitement to the photographic process.

Each roll of souped film can produce unexpected and sometimes breathtaking results.

Personal Touch

This technique enables photographers to infuse their personal style and creativity into their work, making each photograph a true reflection of their artistic vision.

How to Soup Film

Interested in giving soup film a try? Technically, there are no set rules when it comes to souping your film, as trial and error is all part of the process. But this acts as a great starter guide to starting your journey with souping that film roll.

As you grow more confident, you might find yourself trying even more unconventional liquids to soak your film in too!

Materials Needed

  • A roll of film (colour or black and white)

  • Various liquids for souping (e.g., coffee, tea, wine, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.)

  • A container for soaking the film

  • Water for rinsing

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Choose Your Film

Select a roll of film you want to experiment with. Both colour and black-and-white films can be used, but colour films tend to show more dramatic effects.

2. Select Your Soups

Choose the liquids you want to use. Popular choices include coffee, tea, soda, wine, vinegar, and lemon juice. Each liquid will interact differently with the film emulsion, so feel free to experiment.

3. Prepare the Film

Decide whether you want to soup the film before or after exposure. Souping before exposure can affect the way the film records images, while souping after exposure will alter the developed images.

4. Soak the Film

In a dark room or changing bag, remove the film from its canister. Place it in a container and pour your chosen liquid(s) over it. Let the film soak for a few minutes to several hours, depending on how intense you want the effects to be. Stir or agitate the container occasionally to ensure even coverage.

5. Rinse the Film

After soaking, rinse the film thoroughly with water to remove any residue from the liquid. If required, this can also be done at the point of getting your film developed.

6. Develop the Film

We offer a specific film soup developing service. Souped films are processed away from our main film processors and are developed by hand to safeguard other films.

When sending your film in, please let us know what your film has been soaked in. Then it's time to wait for your souped film shots to come back!


The results of souping film can vary widely depending on the liquids used, the soaking time, and the type of film. Here are a few common effects you might encounter:

  • Colour Shifts: Reds, blues, and greens may become more pronounced or take on new hues.

  • Streaks and Bubbles: Uneven coverage or agitation can create streaks and bubble patterns on the film.

  • Textures: Some liquids can leave behind unique textures, adding a tactile element to your photos.

  • Fading and Blurring: The film emulsion may be partially dissolved, creating faded or blurred areas.

Image credit: @kateh00k shot on Kodak Ultramax 400

Kate Hook, one of our brand ambassadors at Film Processing is the queen of the souped film!

Anything tends to go when it comes to liquids that Kate uses, and it achieves some incredible results. Kate shares that, "Hot water is an important element in film souping as it help activate the film soup to do its thing with your film to soup with it and essentially, mess with it!".

Take a look at this film soup concoction with the versatile Kodak Ultramax 400.

Tips for Successful Souping

  • Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try different liquids and combinations to see what effects you can achieve.

  • Document: Keep a record of what liquids and techniques you use for each roll of film, so you can replicate or refine your process in the future.

  • Be Patient: Results can be unpredictable, and not every roll will turn out perfectly. Embrace the surprises and learn from each experiment.

Souping film is a fantastic way to explore the creative possibilities of analogue photography.

Whether you’re looking to add a unique touch to your work or simply enjoy the thrill of experimentation, souping film can offer endless opportunities for artistic expression. So grab a roll of film, mix up your favourite “soup,” and see where your creativity takes you. Don't forget to get your souped film roll developed with us afterwards!

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