About The Darkroom Photo Lab

When we first opened our lab in 1976, business was good. Many photo labs were arrogant and difficult to work with.

That’s how it was with photo labs in the old days… and there weren’t online.

Fast forward 45+ years to today, and we are a very different kind of photo lab in a different locale. Still in California, though way down south in San Clemente, our photo lab is now over 400 miles from where we started and light-years away from our attitudes of old. We (and you) have discovered (or rediscovered) the pure, unadulterated pleasure and joy of analog photography.

The digital world, while fast and convenient, has left sure of our primal senses yearning for something more… (see our Digital vs. Film Comparison)

Something more thoughtful, more tactile… something we can enjoy it. More than superficial zeros and one’s sort of way. The other reason is digital wrecked our industry… not fun to go through, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Strong we are because of folks like you who have found our photo lab online and supported us!

Now we would love to tell you about some of the technical stuff about why we are the best-qualified film processing photo lab for your 120, 220, 35mm, 4×5 and 8×10 (even 110 & 126) film formats in (C-41) Color Negative, True B&W and (E-6) transparency. Our photo lab offers precise dip and dunk processing for all processes and cine process for C-41.

Phil and Keith in the photo lab
Keith Swan and Phil Steblay

Our photo lab dates back to 1976 in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco 1976

Our heritage goes back to the 1940s. Like most great photo labs, The Darkroom was started by photographers for photographers. Back then, coming to a photo lab like ours could be intimidating unless you were a pro. Unless you knew what you were talking about, you would get the “you don’t know what you’re talking about, you idiot” attitude.

Lab Faces

We have a passionate crew of film enthusiasts that shepherds your order through the lab.

The Darkroom specializes in professional film developing and scanning… as well as Toy Camera Processing and scanning for various film formats such as Panoramic, Sprocket Hole, Half Frame, Square, Cross Processing, and Push/Pull processing.

We work closely with the folks who make Holga, Lomo, and Diana cameras. The people in our photo lab and we test new prototype cameras and formats and determine the best ways to process, scan and print these images. We can handle your various films and formats…from Holga 3-D stereo, Lomo Horizon, Sprocket Rocket, Lomo Spinner, Lomokino, and even your Mamiya 645 or Hasselblad!

Our photo lab tests excellent new films like the Lomo X-Pro, Lomo Red Scale, Holga True B&W, Rolli Cross Bird, Red Bird, and Night Bird. And, if you can get your hands on any, we process Infrared films too! Once again, we establish the best practices for photo processing, scanning, and printing these new films.

You have the total convenience of mailing your film to us (postage paid, of course) for fast, reliable developing and scanning; plus, we’ll upload your images to you from the photo lab so you’ll see your pictures before your package even leaves the photo lab in the mail on its way home to you.

By the way, your satisfaction is always guaranteed at The Darkroom!
Please let us know how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers, The Darkroom

Best Photo Lab video thumbnail

Watch Video