Developing Color Film

If you read my last post, you will have read that I decided to develop film at home and purchased chemicals to develop black & white, although I did use it to develop C41 film, which is color. But I wanted to try my hand at developing color! None of the (two) local photography shops had a color kit, so I ordered one from Freestyle Photo

I was a bit intimidated because I’ve read developing C41 is a bit more detailed than developing black and white, mostly because the temperature needs to be just so. I was also nervous about mixing the chemicals, although it ended up being easier than I thought!  I messed up when I was mixing the developer, I believe I was supposed to mix it using hot water, but I used cold instead. I was thrown off at the dark, blood-red color of the blix chemicals. I couldn’t wait to try and develop a roll of film, so I popped one into my plastic Vivitar LC 600 camera. The film speed was 200 and it was getting later in the day, so I wasn’t sure I’d have enough light with the camera I was using.

Here are some of the images from that roll. They are very BLUE! And also very dark. I felt a little discouraged with developing color film when I saw this, but then I remembered the roll of film I used was a roll that I found in a used camera bag I purchased at a thrift store! Not only could it have been expired, but who knows what it may have encountered. It could have been left in the sun or heat and that would have done some damage. I did, however, get some compliments when I posted these images on my Instagram. I guess the flawed effect does look kind of neat and mysterious.

I took those images a couple weeks ago and had been wanting to give it another try with a fresh roll of film, just to see if I got the same result or if it would turn out better. So yesterday I grabbed my tripod and went in the back yard for some experimentation. This time I used my Canon EOS 10s so I could adjust the lighting. I developed the film shortly after, trying to be sure everything was at the right temperature.

Click images to see full size.

I am quite pleased with the results! They’re not too dark because I used my Canon, but there is still a slight blue hue. I could easily Photoshop the images to correct that, or even edit them on my phone. But let’s not forget the days when Photoshop wasn’t available and photographers had to learn to get it right when they developed the film. I want to learn how to get it right, so I don’t mind posting less than perfect photos because I want to document progress.

Here is one of the images above edited on my iPhone in two different ways:

I think they look much better this way, but I want to get it right during developing. That will mean more practice!

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