Besides being a technological miracle, films are one of the rewarding aspects of photography. Photographers can see and assess the final draft of their work with a film developing service. However, not all film labs are the same. Here are the essential things to consider when selecting a film development service.
Do Your Research
It will help if you look at the bulk work coming out of the lab. Most film labs have Instagram accounts that are used to showcase their work. Is the work light and airy? Light and airy quality in photographs mean there is no darkness in the photos. There is a lot of light, and details are blown out.
Light and airy style is a popular trend today. If you prefer vibrant color and contrast, you need to look for a film developing service providing this style. Many film labs adjust to customer preference. Hence, it will help if you tell them your film development expectations.
Talk to Them
When you have decided to work with a lab, the next step is to talk to them. Please introduce yourself and mention you are a photographer using their services for the first time. Ask them whether they work with photographers you admire.
Convey Your Preferences
Before you send the film for processing, talk to the manager, and mention your preferences. Discuss what style you are looking for. Allow them to recommend a scanner and editor to get the best results for your work.
Pictures speak a thousand words. Samples can be useful to let them know what exactly you are searching for. Don’t expect the film development service to read your mind with a few conversations.
Communication is the key to getting desired results. If you do not have samples of your work, send samples from other photographers who have inspired you. The more information you offer, the better understanding the film developing lab will have about your style and expectations.
Keep the Communication Lines Open
No one wants to hear bad things about their work. But to maintain a good relationship, always talk about the good and bad. Don’t be afraid to tell them if the scans are bad. Call the manager and tell them what you didn’t like about the scans.
Don’t complain on Facebook. Allow them to study your negatives and give feedback. Perhaps there was an exposure issue on your end, or it is the scanning issue. You need to talk to them and express your opinions about their work. A good lab would always want you to love their work. If the problem is on their side, they will fix it to help you get good results.
Does the film developing lab allow you to create a custom profile? Using another photographer’s scan settings might not get your desired results. You should check whether the lab will enable you to create a custom profile.
Each person shoots differently, and you should focus on your aesthetic. Most labs allow you to create a custom profile. Some offer it for free while some levy a charge. It’s the personal preference that makes the film development service worth the cost.
If things are not working with the film lab after trying multiple times, you need to begin your search for a new film development service.