Retail and Drugstore Film Developing

Where do you develop film?

Did you know retail and drugstores are no longer returning your original film?

Big-name drugstores like Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens still develop film, but the days of 1-hour photo processing are long gone. Today, nearly all the big box stores send the film to third-party labs, with turnaround time ranging from three to five days at Walgreens and two to three weeks at CVS. Even more important, they no longer return the negatives, only providing your images as scans on a CD. Discarding negatives may be okay for the person with disposable cameras, but is a major drawback for the film enthusiast or the “found film” people.

Found film is actually a pretty big market for The Darkroom and its people finding an undeveloped roll of film in a drawer or the attic. These mystery time capsules can potentially contain images with huge sentimental value. Negatives are the foundation of shooting film and an important part of the traditional printing process. A low-quality scan of something sentimental or of an important subject is not an adequate replacement to the original film or “file”.

Retailers Who Develop Film and Who Returns Negatives

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Costco Film DevelopingCostco film processing chart

Costco film developing

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In visiting our local Costco, we discovered that they’re no longer developing film. We were told by a photo lab employee that “we recently pulled their film processing equipment out of every building”.  Costco doesn’t even develop film online through their Costco Photo Center website.

Costco photo center stops developing film
Over a year ago, Kelvin Wang started a petition for Costco to start developing film again, but it hasn’t gotten much support.

Walmart Film DevelopingWalMart film processing chart

WalMart film developing

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Walmart is no longer returning negatives to save on postage costs and only providing customers scanned images on a CD. In researching, Walmart film developing services vary from each store or region and this may not be company-wide policy. Many of the stores have completely stopped processing film and, like Costco, maybe in the process of phasing out film processing entirely.

Walmart Film Developing

Sam's Club Film DevelopingSam's Club film processing chart

 Sam’s Club film developing

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In nearly all the stores, Sam’s Club stopped developing film in late 2013. Additionally, they don’t have in-store photo mailers and film development cannot be ordered or purchased online.

Walgreens Film DevelopingWalgreens

Walgreens film developing

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Over 800 people a month Google “does Walgreens develop film“. It’s been reported that Walgreens stopped film processing on April 16th of 2015 and is using a 3rd party service. Using this service, Walgreens doesn’t return your negatives and it’s likely this 3rd party service destroys your negatives after scanning them. Walgreens film development cannot be ordered or purchased online.

Walgreens Film Processing

Target Film DevelopingTarget film processing chart

Target film developing

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Target removed the Kodak processing machines from many of its stores and now offers a print-only photo center for those with digital files. This is true with our local Target, but may not be true with all stores.

CVS Film DevelopingCVS film processing chart

CVS Pharmacy film developing

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Not all CVS stores develop film and the ones that do are sending directly to 3rd party services. Negatives aren’t returned and orders take about 3 weeks.  Additionally, CVS has stopped online film developing.

CVS Film Processing
CVS Pharmacy processes film but doesn’t return film negatives

If you choose not to develop with The Darkroom, we suggest that you verify with the individual store, whether it’s Costco, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, CVS, or any other large retailer to confirm the send-out processing service returns your negatives.

Have an update or something to contribute? Please let us know!


36 replies on “Retail and Drugstore Film Developing”

I am looking for some old negatives to be developed and hoping you can help.
Thank you,

I have many rolls of 35 mm film I need to get developed. I would like to get prints not a CD. Lots of old memories! I hope you can help me.
Thank you Carol

I have an old 620 film camera that I would like to shoot with do you carry 620 film and do you process the film.

Hello, I too have many 35 millimeter rolls of film that needs to be processed but I only want the prints, no CD. Will the cost be the same if I just get the prints? I’m not even sure that the rolls of film will turn out since they were taken in yes Believe It or Not 1980’s and 1990’s. After divorce they got stored away and I recently moved and found them and had a pretty big box full of them and disposable cameras. Let me know if you think that it’s worth even bothering with them since they’re that old. Thank you thank you, Deborah

I have alot wwll like 7 sentimental disposable cameras that i found when my mom passed away. They are like 10+ years old. Been in and out of the cold and heat. From closet to basement to storage. Can you develop them? Do you charge per picture that you can retrieve well i mean develop? What are your prices?

My local Walgreens used to develop one hour film up until about 6 months ago when they upgraded their machines and got rid of the film stuff. I used them because after using Walmart so many times before I realized that you were supposed to get your film back because I was new to the format at the time. I am now using the darkroom now since they have stopped one hour film.

Can you guys develop 25 expo film?
My in-laws were cleaning their dungeon of destruction known as their basement and they found them.

I found an old roll of film in a thrift store camera, and I’d love to process it to see if any photos were taken, but I also want the cartridge that the film came in to be returned to me (in addition to the negatives and prints). Is this possible through your services?

I have a older photo (2004) CD from Longs Drugs – Fuji Digital Album brand. One image on this CD overlaps with another image – that is only about 25% of the next image appears connected to the previous image. Guess it was printed that way.
Is there any way for a professional to fully reveal the image that only shows 25%?
The image is extremely important to me. Thank you.

I know it and it is unforgivable that those shops fail to return MY films. What would they do with slide film? I will not use the sevices of any shop which declines to return MY film. In particular, they have no idea at all what to do with the panoramics shot in my Hasselblad X-Pan. They can’t scan themproperly ans they can’t print them properly either. How about 6×6 or 6×7 medium format films? HAH!

I have 35 mm roll of film. EXTREMELY valuable photos. What assurance do I have that this will be treated accordingly?

Great Blog! Photography is my passion. I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on this blog . You have made my day! I think this is engaging and eye-opening material. Thank you so much for caring about your content and your readers.
Really Awesome Blog for photography tips and ideas !! For best Nature and Portrait Photography. This blog will really help me improving my career.

Thanks for this updated story. my wife has about 10 rolls of 35mm and we were curious what is on them. I will check with local camera store chain Dodd camera here in Cleveland probably our best bet to get negatives back.


I just have a question about film developing. I was wondering if the process of developing a disposable camera and the way in which different people at different stores develop them, could have an effect on the picture quality/colours? (I don’t mean if one camera is developed drastically bad or good, but minor differences).

In the past I have developed 3 fuji disposables in the same place at the same time and got really good colors. A year later I took a fuji camera to the same place but the colors of the pictures where really blue/grey/light and not vivid. I then took a different brand camera to the same place about a month after and got the same blue/white/light colors. I don’t know if it is down to the technique of the person developing, or the film, or something I have done?

I want my next camera to develop to have vivid colors and i don’t know how to achieve this, any suggestions?


Hi, I have never inquired with in before about film developing but I’m falling so many years behind on my updating my photo albums . I have an awful lot of old negative an need to get them developed to to put my photo albums back in order. over the past 12 years their have been deaths an I have had to make many memory boards for family an friends because I have the detailed past to present of photos of these peoples lives that have part of mine an the only copies I have are the negatives an a few throw away cameras the I need to get developed as its important to update an finish these albums. I have over the years always made an album for myself an a matching album for my son so when he grew to make a life of his own he cud add to the life he came from. I don’t want to lose my negatives as you never no who needs what memory and I have over 500 negatives an I have never sent them for redeveloping. how can I be sure I will get my negatives back if I send them to you to be developed?

I was a semi professional photographer documenting communities and have a couple dozen 35 mm B&W high speed, taken ’79 + ’80,
& kept refrigerated for the most part. I have no other documentation as to what’s on them. Any way to just get developed, contacts, and negs back for review before any printing? What are your printing prices for different print sizes once I have chosen? Some or all of these are parts of a comprehensive collection, and might end up on my blog or on display. Thanks for your help.

Hi, I have an old negative film black n white like 5 pcs not a roll It has been cut 3 and 2 photos. Because it’s really old one I have no clue what size are they and I went to cvs, Walgreens they don’t know either. I would like to print them but I don’t know how much it cost. Thx

I love my old camera and would like to buy film for it and get it processed. Help!!!

they shorted us a 1/3 of our photos from a party with no explanation- maybe bnoobs butts or someone smoking marijuana. and zero answer as to why. then they shred the negs. and the corporate develop place is useless to talk to
I will NEVER recommend or go there for anything. wish I knew about earlier

My local Walgreen’s has not returned my negatives as of late. I’ve also heard that Walmart is guilty of this too.

Plus, a lot of these “technicians” are clueless about film processing these days.

I have numerous 35mm color negatives, along with numerous 35mm black and white negatives. They are not “a complete roll,” but cut from the original developer (back in 1985) into strip of 5-6 negatives (to enable insertion into a standard print envelope). Your description of services is not specific to this situation. If I were to send my perfectly preserved negatives to your shop, what is the cost for a mpx conversion for 6″ (or more) prints, but without producing any prints (just conversion to digital form), with a guarantee that my negatives will not be damaged (negatives have been properly stored for decades). Again, each negative strip contains about each 5-6 photographs per strip. Please let me know asap and please add any further comments/suggestions, along with associated costs. Of course, please ensure that my e-mail address remains private and not shared with any other parties.
Thanks. – James P.

My husband just passed at 57 I found a but 10 rolls of film, I hope he’ll actually be I some , so is it possible to get 35m film developed?

My husband died suddenly on Nov 9 2019. I found about 10 rolls of 35 mm fill it’s probably been around for years, I hoping to find pictures of him badly he was only 57. Is it still possible to get the film developed and at a reasonable price I’d really be very happy to hear from you at the dark Thank you Nancy marra

Just found some film on top shelf of a closet. I am heartbroken! Have very few old pictures. Years ago found about 5 cartridges I threw away because I was told were no good.. Have no idea there age but are worthless in current state. Could be 30 yrs old. Worth trying in your opinion? Thank you!!

I have negatives that were previously developed. We lost the photos when flooded by Hurricane Ike. Can you redevelop these negatives?

Hi – I just discovered your website. I was wondering if I have rolls of film (I found when I clean out my parent’s house) that are probably over 40 years old. Are they still worth a try to develop?

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