The grip of a hand-held light meter and the slow click of film advancing were once considered sights and sounds of the past. Most consumers remembering the adage that film is dead--forced to move on with the times. So when I am about and about setting up shop and loading my 120mm film--it comes as a surprise to onlookers. Sometimes even iPhone photo worthy. People approach saying "I haven't seen anyone hold up a LIGHT METER in a long time!" and always always always ask if places still develop film now-a-days. The answer is most indefinitely YES! Yes yes yes. And then I ramble on about my love of film...and then they start talking about some film terms their Dad once used that I have no idea what they're talking about but I just smile and nod and then they ask me if I develop my own film and I say no maybe one day and then I say ooooh pretty weather huh and then it's just awkward. With the resurgence of the beautiful medium even more labs are springing up across the country, near and far. There are tons of great labs that take on limited amounts of clients such as CS Film Lab and the famed Danny Goodman, but below are a few of the popular developing options: //POPULAR PHOTO LABS
These guys are helpful, knowledgable, and not nearly as intimidating as some think. Their prices are the highest of them all, but their lead time is lightening fast. For an extra fee, you also have the ability to custom create a 'Color Pac' where they record the color tones you prefer and always work with you to make sure your images look spot on. Their prints are fantastic and arrive like magic. [Order Form]
2. the FIND lab
I like Jon Canlas, he's a cool dude. Whenever I can give my business to people I admire and appreciate, I do. And it just so happens that his lab the FIND lab is worthy of all the business in the land. They take the time to make sure everything about their service is up to par, doing a beautiful job with scans along the way. [Order Form]
email@example.comGood ole Southern boys, these guys are good peeps. Like, for real. Friendly, affordable, and incredible quality (with the option to order prints!). And BONUS allowing you to upload 'inspiration photos' for color correction fo' free. Ps: their lead times are faster than they once were, so double bonus! [Order Form]
Popular in the film photo communities, they are professional, great with communication, and work with you to easily create the look and skin tones you've only dreamed of. [Order Form]
Choosing and working with a lab is a personal decision based on a multitude of things: lead time, the type of scanner they use, communication, price, etc. When first starting off it's great to check out multiple labs to get a taste of how they work. Then when you think you've found someone who meets your criteria (you know, kinda like checking off qualities on the perfect husband list) sticking with one lab is most effective in creating your ideal look. Building strong communication lines with your developer is clutch--after all--they are the people who in essence have control over the final look of your images, so being on the same page and building a relationship with them makes all the difference. And please, for crying out loud, don't let fear of 'these photos probably turned out horrible' stop you from mailing film to a legit place and instead waltzing them into Walgreens. Did you hear me? DON'T DO THAT. No one is sitting at their computer screens calling everyone around to point and laugh at how horrible your first roll is. And, if they are, look on the bright side--you'll never know. BAH. No, but really. Don't freaking worry about that and MAIL THOSE BABIES IN for some professional developing and color correcting. You'll be thankful you did.
Now, if navigating your way around a film order form were so easy! NEXT TIME! ;)
What do YOU look for in a film lab?
Thanks for the photo, Mirelle Carmicheal! :) Danny Goodman was so kind to develop + scan this for her! He's good.