So you've found yourself a camera, shot your first roll of film, what happens next? The answer if film processing! Developing and scanning.

If you learn better watching a video rather than reading, here I am talking all about processing films. 

What options do I have after shooting my film?

Wooho! 🙌 Congratulations if you’re here and you have finished your roll of film! I hope you have had a pleasant experience.

Well then, once the shooting adventure is over, there’s an indispensable part that we have to do if we want to see our photographs: Film developing! It’s recommended to develop our films as soon as possible after shooting them so for this, we have two options: either send our films to a photo lab or develop them ourselves.


1. Send Your Films to a Lab

Without a doubt, sending your films to a lab it’s the easiest option especially when you are just starting out. In addition, you can get from many labs a personalised service and a professional finish to make sure that your first photos look gorgeous.

The type of services and options offered in terms of developing films will always depend on the lab. However, as a general rule there are usually have these basic options:

Developing Only: is the option where you ONLY get your film processed and receive the negatives back.

Developing + Scans: is the option where you get your film processed and, along with your negatives, you receive digital files of your photographs. Depending on the lab you can choose the quality (file size and type) of your images.

Developing + Prints: is the option where you get your film processed and along with your negatives, you receive your images printed on photographic paper. Depending on the laboratory, you can choose the print size and the photo paper finish

Developing + Prints + Scans: it’s a combo of the previous two options.

You can have your films processed by Analogue Wonderland through our WonderLab service - we provide a FREE tracked service to send your films in with Royal Mail - or you can google to find a local reputable lab.

If you are unsure about how to select the right Lab for you, check out our blog called ‘How To Find The Best Place For 35mm Film Processing’.


2. Develop Your Films at Home

Developing at home is much easier than many beginners fear! In fact, in addition to being a great way to save on film developing costs, it's another great world worth exploring.

There are three main types of developing process depending on the film used: Colour negative film developing (C-41 process), Black and White negative film developing (BW process) and colour positive film developing (E-6 process). When you're comfortable with the basics you can push yourself to learn in more specialist areas like eco-friendly film developing.

If you finally want to make the jump and you have decided that it’s time to develop your own films, I always recommend you start developing black and white 35mm since it’s the easiest process.

I'd recommend you starting with the following kit - although note you'll also need a changing bag!


Well, we have reached the end of the guide! I hope the explanation of these five simple questions has given you a better overall picture of what you need to know to start in film photography. If you would like to keep learning then head back to the Film Photography Beginner's Hub and pick another article. Happy Shooting!

Ready to dive in?