Photo Lab FAQ

Frequently asked questions about our photo lab services and processing film.

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Film Developing (12)

Most film developing orders are shipped back to you within 3-7 business days after they enter production.

We are located in Southern California, so mail takes 2-5 days to reach us from almost anywhere in the country. Occasionally production times run a bit longer, especially before or after holidays.

You will also get your web uploads approximately 3-6 business days after your order goes into production. Please note there are some exceptions. Super Scan orders typically take 3-7 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.

  • Damaged film (torn sprockets, overlapped frames, uneven frames) will take longer due to manual scanning.
  • Supplied Negatives/Slides – Prints and scans from previously developed film typically take 5-10 business days.
  • Photo Gifts – Canvas, metal and bamboo products generally run 5-9 business day production time.
  • Prints ordered from scans online generally take 2-5 business days production time.

If you track your inbound shipments, the USPS notification saying your order was delivered is actually acceptance by our local post office, it does not mean it is in our lab yet.  There’s typically at least a 1 business day delay between the post office “received” notification and actual delivery to our facility.  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.

Category: Film Developing

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.

Category: Film Developing

If you submit a roll to us for develop/scan or develop/scan/print orders 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. Lost vouchers cannot be replaced or honored.  A voucher is not issued for “develop only” rolls.

Category: Film Developing

YES! Write down your push/pull on the order form and be sure to write with a Sharpie 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.


Category: Film Developing

Yes, of course you get your negs back with your order. Negatives are returned cut and sleeved.

Category: Film Developing

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.

Category: Film Developing

3 Ways…

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.

self mailer

2. Download the order form and prepaid mailing label

Download 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



Category: Film Developing
  1. Print very clearly – When completing the order form, please take the time to make sure easily read, especially your address and phone number.
  2. Take a photo of your tracking number

  3. 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.
  4. Use a heavy-duty zip-lock bag if you have lots of rolls.  All orders must arrive in a single shipment.  Orders that arrive in multiple shipments will be considered separate orders.

  5. 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. 



For Fun

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!


Category: Film Developing

Yes. Old film doesn’t go bad all at once – colors shift, contrast fades away, and fog builds up. Old film (~10+ years past the process date) will have faded, skewing towards magenta. In many cases, this is preferred and authentic to the time.Learn about old film developing. More on developing expired film.

Category: Film Developing

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 for develop/scan or develop/scan/print orders 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. Lost vouchers cannot be replaced or honored.  A voucher is not issued for “develop only” rolls.

Category: Film Developing

If you would like a spool returned with your 120, 127, 620 film developing order, just let us know.  You must request at time of processing.  Note that the spool returned will be a similar type, but not your exact original.

The backing paper is not a returnable item.

Category: Film Developing

There are many sites that list coupon codes for The Darkroom, but they will not work.

We know there is a coupon field on our checkout page and that many of our customers see this and then search for “The Darkroom coupon codes”, discount codes or promo codes. There are many “deal sites” that list fake coupon codes for The Darkroom and other companies to get indexed in Google and attract users to their website. Our coupon code field is used for very specific scenarios and The Darkroom has the policy to focus on aggressive pricing and value. Our approach is honest pricing and not to inflate the price and create coupons and marketing promotions to discount that inflated price.

Deal sites with coupon codes for The Darkroom are fake, so please don’t get frustrated by them. You are getting our best price.

While The Darkroom doesn’t create coupon codes, we do have Gift Cards. These are emailed to the recipient on your behalf with a personal message and at a time of your choosing.

Learn more about gift cards

Fake The Darkroom coupon codes

View Coupon Code Page

Categories: Film Developing, Prints