In a digital world, shooting on film is not as easy as it used to be. Once you find a new analog camera and film, you still need to figure out how to develop and digitize your shots. The days of the neighborhood photo lab may be over, but we found dozens of companies that are ready and willing to process your film.
Local photography stores
Most major cities have at least one store or photo lab that is still developing films. Try searching online to see if there is one in your area, or check this state by state lab list. (That list is from 2012, so remember to check for accuracy.)
- Better cameras
- Which one is the best for you? DSLR vs mirrorless cameras
Can’t find anything nearby? Read on for an extensive list of labs that accept film by mail.
With few small-town labs, submitting film for processing is more popular than ever. Dozens of companies in the US will develop everything from 35mm rolls to 8×10-inch film sheets.
One of the most popular companies is The dark room. For $ 12, it will process a 35mm or medium format roll of film and send negatives, a high quality scan CD (11 x 14 inches), and prepaid postage for another batch of film. The Darkroom also uploads your high-resolution images to its website immediately, so you don’t have to wait for your CD to arrive in the mail. Most orders are returned within three to five business days after the film arrives at The Darkroom’s Southern California facility.
If you don’t need scanning services, you can use Pro Photo connection, which will return your 35mm color negatives to you for just $ 4 a roll (black and white and 120 film is $ 5). Most companies also offer printing for an additional fee (4×6 color prints cost an additional $ 5 at The Darkroom). To find the best combination of film services and prices in over 25 different labs, check out this handy graphic created by Adam Ottke of Objective of the film.
We have also compiled our own list of some of the best known labs.
Independent Film Laboratory– Montgomery, Alabama
Photoworks San Francisco– San Francisco
State Film Laboratory – Louisville, Kentucky
Richard’s Photo Lab– Valencia, California
North Coast Photographic Services – Carlsbad, California
Old school photography lab – Dover, New Hampshire
The search lab – Orem, Utah
Film Rescue International – Westby, Montana (specializes in salvaging expired movies)
Harman Laboratory – San Clemente, California (specializes in black and white films)
Reputable pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens Films are still being developed, but the days of 1-hour photo processing are long gone. Currently, both companies ship films to third-party labs, with a response time ranging from three to five days at Walgreens and two to three weeks at CVS.
Stores charge between $ 10 and $ 15 for a 35mm roll, depending on the number of exposures. That price includes 4 x 6-inch prints and a CD with fairly small scans (a Walgreens worker told us the scans could be scaled up to 4 x 6 inches). Walmart offers similar services, with prices starting at $ 8 for a roll of 12 exposures.
It’s important to note that these stores no longer return negatives, so rescanning the film at a higher resolution is not an option.
If you’re feeling especially brave, you can always develop your film at home. the process it’s pretty straightforward and B&H sells a kit ($ 147) with everything you need to get started. If you plan to develop a large quantity of film, the DIY method could save you hundreds in processing fees and shipping costs over time.
Unlike print development, a darkroom is not required to develop film. Of course, you will also need to purchase a film scanner to digitize your prints or pay to have them professionally scanned.
- Best photo albums: create a photo album of your memories
- Best Photo Storing and Sharing Sites for All Your Digital Images