Recently I started to develop my own negatives. I became an avid analog shooter last year but never dared to develop the negatives at home. After watching a lot of different YouTube channels like Matt Day and the Art of Photography talk about developing film, I got more interested and started researching. As it turns out, some shops sell beginners kits with everything you need f.e. the Paterson Tank, a changing bag and all the chemicals necessary. Last week I decided to buy myself a B/W developing kit (because it comes with the Paterson Tank and other useful things like measuring cups) and a C41 - kit, as well as a changing bag.
The B/W kit arrived before the changing bag and obviously I couldn’t wait so I just blacked out my bedroom which worked surprisingly well.
The process of black and white development is really simple, you just have 3 chemicals, a developer, a fixer and a rinse cleaner, which all need to be around 20°C. You pour the developer into the tank and agitate it for a given time, then you do the same for the fixer and in the end you rinse it with the cleaner which helps preventing water stains on the negatives. The best part is, everything is reusable if you don’t accidentally pour it down the drain in excitement like I did.
As far as I know, C-41 is the most used kind of color film. The process for C-41 development is essentially the same but the chemicals smell a lot worse and need to be at an higher temperature. In my kit the developer needs to be 39°C and the blix (that’s what the fixer is called) needs to be between 24°-40°C. The fixer can be at room temperature which is nice.
To my surprise the process is very easy, I ruined none of the films I developed…. Well I accidentally tried to develop a b/w film with the C-41 chemicals but that doesn’t count, right?
To ‘scan’ the developed negatives I use my Fuji XT-3 and my smartphone. I open up a blank page on my phone and turn the brightness to the max and simply take a photo of negative with my XT-3 and an adapted Sigma 105mm Macro for Canon.
After scanning the negatives, I import all the photos in Lightroom and invert the colors. This gives me a ‘positive’ to play around with to make it look as natural as possible. There is a really nice plugin for LR called Negative Lab Pro but it’s 100$ and I haven’t decided yet if I want to spend all that money on a plugin for already quite expensive software. There is a trial version which grants you 12 exposures to try the plugin for yourself
The following is a shot I took with my Kiev88 Medium Format Camera and processed ‘by hand’.
And the same shot processed with Negative Lab Pro.