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How to Develop Film in 6 Steps

Film photography has made an enormous comeback in the last few years.

Despite the abundance of digital photo technology, people are gravitating more towards shooting analog.

As a professional photographer, I appreciate both sides of the spectrum, and I incorporate both film and digital into my work.

I have found that film photography alters the way I perceive my subjects making it more of a thoughtful and deliberate process that adds depth and significance to every shot I take.

This is mostly driven by the fact that processing film gets expensive over time. 

There is a certain quality and feel associated with film that is absent in modern digital cameras, and I just love the surprise factor involved when you scan that roll you’ve spent hours filling up with priceless memories.

Without further ado, here is how to develop and scan your film so that you really capture the spirit of your outdoor adventures. 

Developing And Scanning Film 

Step 1: Create Your Space 

Choose a space free from dust and dirt for your film developing and scanning area. You will require all necessary supplies like developer, fixer, rinsing agents plus, the film scanner and computer with scanning software. 

Step 2: Loading Film onto Reels 

In darkness or in a dark bag carefully transfer the film from canister into developing reels. Handle it gently to eliminate the risk of distorting your film. 

Step 3: Preparing The Chemicals 

You will need to mix your developer and fixer chemicals according to the instructions provided with them. Make sure they are at optimal temperature for correct film development. Very important! 

Step 4: Develop The Film 

Use your timer to pour in your developer into developing tank containing the film. Keep turning over (agitating) at intervals for even development. Be sure not to over or under develop your film. This will ruin your roll. 

Step 5: Fix and Rinse 

Then after development add the fixer to the tank and mix as specified. Thoroughly rinse film with fresh water to remove all chemicals. 

Step 6: Scan the Film 

When dry, place your film into the film scanner, along with your computer, and use your scanner’s instructions to scan your developed film, ensuring that your held settings match the outcomes achieved with digital photos. 

Supplies Needed to Develop Film

● Developing tank 

● Developer

● Fixer 

● Rinsing agents 

● Developing reels 

● Timer 

● Thermometer 

● Film scanner (I use a cheap one from Amazon) 

● Computer with scanning software 

● Darkroom or dark bag 

Developing Film: Conclusion 

Film photography has always played an important role in my nature photography adventures.

It pushes me to reconsider my subjects in different ways, creating a stronger bond between the landscapes and the emotions I capture.

Now, scanning has also become an integral part of this process, enabling me to share these unique views with others digitally.

Ultimately, it’s kind of like the best of both worlds. 

Once you go through these steps and incorporate film development and scanning into your workflow, you will be able to infuse photography with the power of personal creativity and individuality, making each image truly reflect your experiences.

Therefore, immerse yourself in the world of film photography and enjoy an alternative way to connect with your surroundings!


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