Film Friday | Tips for Shooting Film | Week 2: Film Labs and Order Forms

Hey Everyone!!

Welcome to week 2!!! This week we will cover film labs, the process, and the options you have when choosing where and how to process your film.

Portra 400 rated at 200 | Developed by The Find Lab | Noritsu Scanner

I get asked so often about the process of film and how and where do I send it and how do I get it back!!! The first thing is that when I finish a roll I package it depending on the specifications of the lab I am sending it to. I then ship the film. From there the lab receives it, and sends me an email letting me know they received my film. The Find Lab also gives me a date of when to expect my film, and PhotoVision has their current turn around time at the top of their website. The lab then develops my film, scans it, sometimes edits it, then they send me an email letting me know my digital images are ready. The digital images are typically sent through hightail, dropbox, and/or other image/file sharing sites. From there I download my files, and I import them into LR and make any adjustments I need to. Then I match my digital images to my film images, and deliver them to the client.

Now that we have covered the process let's look at all the options you have as a film photographer!

When I first started, one of the most frustrating things for me was choosing a lab, and the order forms, because I simply didn't feel like I knew enough about film to answer the questions on the forms. Luckily it gets way easier, but until then...I'm here to help.

The first thing is the Lab options.

There are tons of wonderful film labs, but the two we will talk about today are The Find Lab and PhotoVision.

First we will talk about The Find Lab, below you will find their order form. {sorry for the phone posts the pdf's don't show in post}

the find lab order form

The first thing we will go over is the heading {color c-41}, that is the process of developing most color films, so if you are using color film most of the time this will be your form choice. If you are shooting black and white you would choose the order form specifically for black and whites listed on their website.

The next thing you see is the heading which is pretty self explanatory.

Next you get to the actual order form section.


How many rolls do you have that you want processed this way.


Basic: The film lab will develop and scan your film, and make minor color and density corrections. It is expected that you will have to edit these further.

 Basic+The film lab will develop and scan your film, and make minor corrections, but you also get feedback on your film and what you can do to improve. This is one of the best options for new photographers wanting to try film, since you get feedback from the lab on how to improve.

Premium: The film lab will develop and scan your film, make basic corrections, and do custom color editing, plus they give critique on how to improve in the future. This option is great for photographers who don't want to edit their film, as well as for people who want to see what their film would look like edited.

 Film Stock:

35 or 135: for 35mm rolls.

120: for medium format shooters who use 120mm film

220: for medium format shooters who use 220mm film

Scan Size:

R: Regular 8"

L: Large 10"

FB: Fatboy 12"

U: Ultra 16" [Noritsu Only]


Sometimes photographers will push or pull film for creative reasons, or simply because they over/underexposed their film. {Example: If you shot Ektar 100 film and rated it at 400 in your camera, you would need to push your film 2 stops.} I don't suggest pushing and pulling when first starting out.

Kodak Gold 200 rated at 100 | Developed by The Find Lab | Frontier Scanner

Scan Type:

Frontier/Noritsu: this is simply which scanner you prefer. I have used both and while most people prefer the Frontier, I personally LOVE the Noritsu. I have posted some links below comparing the scans from each scanner.

Noritsu vs Frontier by The Find Lab

Noritsu vs Frontier by Richard Photo Lab

Rush Fee:

Pretty self explanatory, if you need your film faster you can get it rushed.

Proof Prints:

This is where you will add proof prints if you would like to get prints sent by the lab of your photos. If you don't want proof prints you can always order prints later from the lab of your choice.

One for One:

The Find Lab participates in the one for one plan. Click the link for more information.

Negative Archive:

this is where you will choose how and if you want your actual film negatives back. {I usually send mine to unicorn heaven}

Finishing Touches:

Everyone has their own set of preferences:

Color: You can choose for your photos to be warmer {which is my preference} or you can choose neutral  or cooler.

Exposure: do you like brighter photos? or darker? or neutral {which is usually my preference}

Contrast: do you like a lot of contrast? then high is for you. Maybe you like very little contrast, then low would be for you. {I typically get either high or neutral depending on the session.}

Then Notes: 

This is where you would put your "first roll free" if this is your first time. Sometimes I leave the lab little notes, but not always.

Now onto PhotoVision!

below you will find their order form.


Most of their options are the same, so I will go over what isn't.

PhotoVision will give you a client number when you send in your first roll. Remember that number!!!

For file delivery, you can choose to receive your files either by dropbox or by a disk!

You have a few options as well when it comes to your negatives are shipped back. You can have them held for 2 weeks, a month, sent at the end of the year or your own option.

Push/Pull: you have an extra option here of NORMAL. If you aren't pushing or pulling your film, choose the normal option.

Scan sizes:

Normal - 35mm - 2400x3600/8.6 MP    120/220mm (645 system) - 2700x3600/9.7 MP

Large35mm - 2600x5400/19.4 MP    120/220mm (645 system) - 3600x4800/17.3 MP

You have the ability to set up your color profile for PhotoVision here. It isn't listed on the order form, and you can also submit reference images, which will be associated with your client number I mentioned above.

Also PhotoVision doesn't offer different types of scans like The Find Lab does. All of the photos scanned and developed by PhotoVision are Premium scans, but they do not provide critique.

Kodak Max 400 rated at 200 | Developed by PhotoVision | Noritsu Scanner

I hope this helped everyone some!! Don't hesitate to send me questions via email at, or through my contact form, I would love to hear from you.

Until next week!