Frequently asked questions about our photo lab services and processing film.
Can’t find the answer to your question? Contact Us
Film Developing (9)
Most orders are shipped within 3-5 business days after it enters production. We are located in Southern California, so mail takes 2-5 days to reach us from almost anywhere in the country. Occasionally we run a bit longer, especially before or after holidays. You will also get your web uploads approximately 3-4 business days after your order goes into production. Please note there are some exceptions. Super Scan orders typically take 3-6 business days. Film shot in a non-standard format will take several extra days due to manual scanning. This includes APS / Advantix film developing, 110 film developing and 126 film format developing, mini-Diana’s, panoramic formats and sprocket hole rolls etc.
Additionally, any film that arrives damaged (torn sprockets, overlapped frames, uneven frames) will take longer due to manual scanning.
Prints and scans from previously developed film typically take 5-9 days.
Canvas, metal and bamboo products generally run 5-9 business day production time.
Since we are about a block from the post office, we make several pick ups and drop offs per day. The folks at the post office know us by name and put our stuff in the front of the line! You will receive an email as soon as your order arrives and enters production.
If you submit a type of film to us that we are unable to develop, (Kodachrome, Triple Print, etc.) we will return the film and you will not be charged for developing.
If you submit a roll to us and it produces no images, we will issue a voucher for future processing. The voucher will be returned with your negatives and has no cash value.
YES! Write down your push/pull on the order form and be sure to write on the film canister itself the push/pull amount. There’s an added $2 charge to push or pull film.
Pushing ISO doubles every time you increase it 1 stop. So if the box speed is 400, then +1 stop would be 800, +2 stops would be 1600, +3 would be 3200. You can also pull your film – it works the same – you’re just cutting the speed in half for each stop you need to pull. So if the box speed is 400, -1 stop would be 200, -2 stops would be 100, and -3 would be 50.
The Darkroom has created a complete guide to pushing and pulling film.
Everything you need to know about Shooting and Developing Pushed or Pulled Film
Push Processing and Pull Processing will change the look of the film. Pushing is good for lowlight situations – it will add contrast and often make the grain more noticeable. Pulling will take away contrast giving you better detail in your shadows and will make grain less noticeable. Pulling film works great for black and white especially contrasty scenes with a lot of shadow detail. You will also need let us know how much you push or pull your film so when we develop your film so we can change the developing time to compensate. Write down your push/pull on the order form which is a $2 fee and be sure to write on the film canister itself the push/pull.
Yes, of course you get your negs back with your order. Negatives are returned cut and sleeved.
Almost anything, including C-41, E-6 Slide Film and Black & White processes. We can also do all types of black & white infrared and E-6 slide infrared films. Be sure to write on the package that it contains IR film.
Black and white films are processed using the manufacturer’s suggested times ( then adjusted based on film type trends) as a normal process. 35mm Slide Film is mounted in GEPE plastic mounts.
If you send in C-22 film, it will be processed as black & white. The chemicals necessary for this color process were discontinued many years ago.
We CANNOT develop any Kodachrome, Disc Film, Triple Print, AGFA Scala or 5247 Seattle Film Works film.
If you are unsure what you have, just take a photo of the roll with your phone and attach it to our contact form. We will let you know if we can develop it.
If you send it to us, and we can’t do it, we’ll let you know.
1. Prepay online and follow the instructions on your receipt page. (BEST and Recommended)
You will also get a link to your postage paid label and have immediate access to your account dashboard. Remember, the shipping method you choose at checkout is for return shipping back to you.Pay Online
Also, it’s a great idea to wrap a return address label around your film, just in case your envelope rips during shipping. See shipping FAQ’s for further info.
2. Download the order form and prepaid mailing labelDownload Order From and Printing Label
Then fill out the form, including payment info, put in a padded envelope, tape mailing label on the outside.
3. Request mailer packet from us here: Request Mailer
- Print very clearly – When completing the order form, please take the time to make sure easily read, especially your address and phone number.
- Take a photo of your tracking number
- Label/make notes on your film – In addition to setting your options when ordering or completing the order form, using a Sharpie (permanent marker), write any development instructions on the cartridge itself.
- Use a heavy duty zip-lock bag if you have lots of rolls
- How long will it take? Most orders are shipped within 3-5 business days after it enters production. We are located in Southern California, so mail takes 2-5 days to reach us from almost anywhere in the country. More details on film developing turn-around time.
Aside from seeing some truly amazing images, we see some very creative techniques ways our customers ship their film. See 15 creative ways to mail your film!
There can be hundreds of reasons why your film didn’t produce any images.
The main causes are:
1. Not loading the film properly in the camera
2. Severe under or overexposure
3. Camera malfunction
If you know you were shooting an appropriate speed film in the right lighting conditions, check on your shutter. If the shutter on your camera doesn’t open, your film can’t get exposed to light, and therefore can’t make an image! Simply open the back of your camera (without film in it, of course), cock the camera’s shutter (if necessary), and look through the lens plane while you click the shutter button. You should see a brief circle of light appear and disappear right before your eyes.
If you know you’re shooting the right speed film in the right lighting conditions and your shutter is working fine, your film may not be advancing within the camera. To make sure your film is advancing within the camera when the back door is closed, simply locate the rewind crank on your camera and watch it as you turn the advance wheel. The rewind crank should spin as you advance the film.
If you submit a roll to us and it produces no images, we will issue a voucher for future processing. The voucher will be returned with your negatives and has no cash value.
General information (3)
If you are sending in film to be processed, you can enclose a check, money order or credit card information.
The best way, however, is to use the on-line prepay option. Our system will even remember your credit card details. It’s also faster because your order goes right into production bypassing other orders being manually logged and and charged. Additionally, online payment via credit card or Paypal is the most secure payment option. If ordering stuff online (prints, photo gifts etc.), you’ll need to pay with a credit card or Paypal.
No—but please don’t misunderstand this as any lack of interest! We’d love to answer your questions.
We know the decision to omit phone support is unusual, but after experimenting with different approaches, we’ve found that starting with email enables us to provide the fastest response. We focus on providing fast and high quality responses by email, so you’re always talking to a human that can help first-hand.
Gift Cards (1)
We offer Gift Cards here: Gift Cards
Gift Cards (eGift cards) are only emailed to the recipient on your behalf. There is no physical card.
Purchase it now, have it delivered with a personal message at a time of your choosing. Cards don’t have expiration dates or additional fees. The value of your gift card will be reduced when used to make a purchase.
How to order:
- Choose amount
- Enter recipient’s email address
- Enter your name
- Enter optional message
- Click optional “Postpone Delivery” box to set a future delivery date if desired
- Add to cart and checkout
Gift Cards are non-transferable, non-refundable and are not redeemable for cash
TheDarkroom.com gift cards are good for use on all products on TheDarkroom.com, with the following exceptions:
- Gift Cards currently cannot be used on our digital prints ordering application
- Gift Cards cannot be used to purchase new Gift Cards
We print color prints on Kodak Royal Paper. It is available in Glossy or Matte/Lustre surface. For the technically inclined, you can read more about Royal Paper here.
True Black & White Silver Gelatin prints, they are printed on ILFORD GALERIE RC DIGITAL SILVER. It is available in Glossy or Pearl (Matte) surface. You can read more about the Galerie paper here.
Our black & white prints are printed on Ilford black & white silver gelatin paper. Our preferred format for this product are 8 bit Greyscale Jpeg’s.
Make sure your monitor isn’t too bright as most monitors are too bright at their default settings, especially Apple monitors.
Prints and Scans from Previously Developed Film (1)
Yes, you can get prints or scans from your negatives! We support 35mm negatives or slides, 120/220, APS, 110 and 120 Format Film. We scan your film negatives or slides, upload them for convenient web download and send you a CD.
Learn more about Reprints, Enlargements and Scans from Previously Developed Film
Many new computers are being sold without optical drives now. You can either download your images from our website or you can order the optional USB Thumb Drive.
A workaround would be to purchase an external CD/DVD drive. We have seen these on Amazon.com for less than $13.00. CD’s and DVD’s are still the least expensive way to deliver large quantities of data with the exception of downloads.
To protect our network, we do not accept user’s hard drives or USB drives.
This is, by far, our most requested question. Its kinda complex and has some exceptions so bear with us. Here at The Darkroom, we do many kinds of scans –Standard and Enhanced are the most common.
If you have film that requires the sprocket holes to be scanned or have panoramic images, please see those faq’s.
Our standard scan is a 1024×1536 pixel scan. This equals 4.5 MB when opened in an image editing program like PhotoShop. These scans come as jpegs so they will look small in the file browser but will “puff” up when opened. Depending on your subject matter, some images will compress more than others. This scan is great for prints up to 5×7, emailing, Facebook etc. We have produced tens of millions of these scans in the past several years.
Our enhanced scan is a 2048×3072 pixel scan. This equals 18.1 MB when opened in an image editing program like PhotoShop. These scans come as jpegs so they will look small in the file browser, but will “puff” up when opened. Depending on your subject matter some images will compress more than others. This scan is perfect for prints up to 12×18. It’s just 5 bucks extra for these scans.
Our new, super scan is perfect for those who want professional resolution or to never worry if you have enough resolution for current and future projects.nnIt works very well for advertising, giant prints and large posters.nnScan Sizes 35mm Film – 4492×6774 pixels – 87.1 mb Medium Format 645 – 3533×4824 pixels – 48.8 mb Medium Format 6×6 – 4760×4760 pixels – 64.8 mb Medium Format 6×7 – 4815×5902 pixels – 81.3 mb
Super Scans are 4492×6774 pixels or 87.1 MB when opened in an image editing program like Photoshop. Remember that the file size will appear much smaller until you open it up in an image editing program like Photoshop.
A couple of disclaimers: If you have a square format, the scans will default to the short dimension. The standard scan is 1024×1024, and the enhanced is 2048×2048. What we are trying to state is that, if you do not have a 2×3 aspect ratio original, your scan size will vary.
Our scans are 72 dpi. It sounds low, but it’s because it’s the pixel dimensions that matters, not the dpi by itself. If you get your scans and are still concerned, convert them to 300dpi in PhotoShop. Make sure you uncheck the “Resample Image” checkbox. You’ll see the image stays the same. For example, an image that is 5″ x 7″ at 300dpi is the same resolution as a photo that is 29″ x 21″ at 72dpi.
We prefer to receive sheet film in the manufacturers 3 piece boxes. Film boxes will be returned.
If you do not have access to the boxes, you could use a dark bag made for sheet film. They are available here. If you use one of these bags, please pack carefully so it is not cut by postal equipment.
If you choose to send in film holders, please select Priority Mail, or UPS return shipping due to the additional weight.
Almost all film we receive is via the US Postal Service using our free postage paid mailers, or our labels taped to a 6×9 envelope. Make sure you record your tracking number before mailing or just snap a phone pic of the envelope.
Instead of using our free postage paid mailers, some customers feel more comfortable using FEDEX, UPS or DHL, as their shipping systems do offer better tracking of your shipment and a guaranteed delivery time to us. If shipping FEDEX, UPS or DHL, be sure to read the FAQ for FEDEX/UPS as you cannot ship to our P.O. Box, you must use our physical address. Here
FOR CRITICAL FILM, WE SUGGEST USING FEDEX, UPS or DHL SHIPPED DIRECTLY TO OUR LAB. We cannot assist with lost or delayed inbound USPS shipments.
You can choose various methods for return shipping.
US MAIL FIRST CLASS – This usually takes 2-5 days to reach most parts of the country from our California Lab. You will receive a tracking number when the shipment leaves the lab.
US MAIL PRIORITY MAIL. This usually takes 1-3 days to reach most parts of the country. You will receive a tracking number when the shipment leaves the lab.
UPS GROUND. Usually takes 2-5 days to reach most parts of the country. You will receive a tracking number when the shipment leaves the lab. Not available to Canada, Alaska or Hawaii.
UPS 2nd DAY. Takes 2 days to reach almost all destinations in the 48 states. You will receive a tracking number when the shipment leaves the lab – not available to Canada, Alaska or Hawaii.
UPS OVERNIGHT. Next day delivery. You will receive a tracking number when the shipment leaves the lab – not available to Canada, Alaska or Hawaii.
CANADA – US Mail/Canada Post. Will take 3-10 days to reach most areas of Canada. You will receive a tracking number when the shipment leaves the lab.
INTERNATIONAL – US Mail/Your Mail/Post. Might take awhile. That’s the best part of the Uploads. You’ll see your shots before your film is back on the boat (or plane).
Download the order form and prepaid mailing label here:Create Order From and Printing Label Then fill out the form, including payment info, put in a padded envelope, tape mailing label on the outside. It will look something like this before mailing:
Request mailer packet from us here: Request Mailer
OR (the best way)
Prepay online and follow the instructions on your receipt page. You will also get a link to your postage paid label and have immediate access to your account dashboard.
Remember, the shipping method you choose at checkout is for return shipping back to you. Pay Online Also, its a great idea to wrap a return address label around your film, just in case your envelope rips during shipping. Make sure you record your tracking number before mailing.
You will receive an email notification when we receive your order. Also, you will receive an email if we have any questions about your order before it enters production.
That’s wasn’t real question, we just made it up. It usually appears cold to us up there in Canada. In fact, here in California, we turn our furnace on when it drops below 60 degrees. That’s Fahrenheit by the way. We get confused by your Celsius temps.
Yes, we can ship to our Northern friends. You will need to apply the correct postage because our prepaid mailers only work in the U.S. Then select the Canada shipping for return shipping. Your package will arrive back via US Mail / Canada Post.
If you prefer to ship to us using Fed-X , UPS or DHL, you will need to ship to our physical street address and NOT to our P.O. Box address.
946 Calle Amanecer, Suite A
San Clemente, CA 92673 USA
Note that the postage paid inbound labels are only for USPS. The shipping choices on the order form or online are for RETURN shipping only.
Yes, we can ship outside our little 50 states (and our other places like Guam and Puerto Rico). If you are not in the US or Canada, just select the “international” shipping option on the order form. It’s the one with the globe.
Please check your SPAM folder to see if the notification went in there.
Additionally, check your SPAM folder in case we sent an invoice for additional payment due. We use the Paypal platform for invoicing. You do not need a Paypal account to pay an online invoice, any Visa, Mastercard or AMEX credit or debit card will work.
Video Tape and Home Movie Transfers (11)
Most video orders take 12-19 working days to complete. Most film orders take 14-21 working days to complete.
No, we cannot transfer copyrighted material. If you do not own the copyright, it is illegal to make copies. If you are the copyright holder and can provide written verification or have a copyright waiver signed by the copyright owner giving you express permission, then we can proceed with a transfer.
*Check Amazon.com for Jane Fonda work-out tapes.
We can transfer professionally recorded footage, but we must follow the US Copyright Laws when transferring all professional footage. If you have a wedding video or a video recorded by a professional, you must obtain their permission for us to transfer the footage. Please send a signed release along with your order.
We have been handling customer’s film for over 35 years and handling video transfers for over 10 years. Once your order arrives at our facility, it is tagged and entered into our computer system for internal tracking. You will receive an email when your order arrives, when it is uploaded and when it ships. Our team of experienced video technicians handle every order with care and will transfer all your timeless moments to production-grade digital videos that you will be able to share and enjoy for years.
The DVD/Transfer Lab service is a transfer service. Videotapes will not be enhanced. The quality of your transfer cannot be better than the original material submitted. As with other software products, DVD transfer orders are non-refundable.
The DarkRoom offers the easiest way to transfer your video tapes. We produce all of our work in our California labs. Nothing is outsourced to offshore companies. You’ll receive your DVD’s and optional web upload soon after we receive your order.
Web Uploads, Albums and FOS Storage Subscriptions (4)
After we have developed and scanned your film, we upload it to your “My Account” password-protected portion of our website. Then you’ll get an email from us that the images are available along with a link to login. You can then make products including real photographic prints, photo gifts etc. Additionally, you can download individual images or the whole roll. You can also delete images from your albums. You will download will be delivered in a .zip format, usually to your Download Folder. Most Mac computers will unzip automatically. Most Windows systems will require a right-click to “Extract All”.
We are not an image backup or long term storage service provider. You should always keep backup copies of your photos stored safely on a device or service specifically designated and intended for backup purposes. The Darkroom requires that you maintain a backup copy of all images and content stored on the Service such that in the event of a catastrophic data loss on the Service, your images will be also be available on your local computer or archived media. The download or upload of any material through the service is done at your own discretion and risk and that you will be solely responsible for any loss or damage to your content or image or any damage to your computer system or loss of data that may result in the download or upload of any material. You are solely responsible for creating back-ups of your digital content.
You may also order color or black and white prints in various sizes, make photo gifts etc. You can also transfer them to your Facebook page, Dropbox or share with friends and family.
The Darkroom Film Ordering System (FOS) will store each photo album online 60 days for free and as part of your order. The 60 days is valid from the date the photos were uploaded. Storage beyond 60 days requires a subscription.
A subscription will cover all your active photo albums, but not the ones that have already expired*.
Photo storage is $1.50 a month and payable $18.00 annually.
*What if my album expired? You have up to 2 months to subscribe and recover albums. Album is not viewable beyond being expired for more than 2 months. If you need to recover an expired album beyond 60 days, please contact us
Photos Prior to November 2015?
The Darkroom used Lifepics, a third party service for images and albums. On October 25, 2016 The Darkroom discontinued support, online print ordering, and image hosting for the Lifepics platform. Any photos on that system are no longer available and users received emails from The Darkroom and Lifepics warning of image deletion.