Home Developing Color Negatives

No holding back. Now is the time.

I've been developing my own black and white negatives off and on for quite a few years. But I had never ventured into the world of developing my own color negatives. Everyone always told me it was complicated, involved a ton of chemicals (different and more complicated ones than for black and white), and that it was finicky.

Eventually, though, what it took was for me to start listening to a podcast. I was searching for some motivation to start shooting more film and, vwalla, I discovered All Through A Lens Podcast. They were talking A LOT about developing film.... they were trying all kinds of strange and unique ways to develop their own film... and it seemed like they were enjoying themselves! And that's when I decided to jump into the deep end!

Since I already had a dark bag, thermometer, and Paterson tank/spool set, all I needed was the chemicals. With a google search I found an "all in one" C-41 developing kit from Unicolor for about $30. It has all the necessary dry ingredients. All you do is mix them in water to make 1-liter batches of developer, blix, and stabilizer.

Overall, the process is very similar to developing black and white. The main difference is the increased temperatures required (102F for Pre-soak and Developer, between 95-105F for Blix, and room temp for Stabilizer).

Things didn't go completely perfect for me though. Being my first time with color, and the directions not saying anything about a wetting agent, I didn't use one purely out of the mindset, "I'm going to follow these directions to a T!" And so I ended up getting pretty bad water speckles and spots (you can see them pretty well in the piano shot). So, next time, I'm definitely gonna use a wetting agent! Thank goodness for clone stamping!

And that's that. I encourage you to give it a try! Hope you enjoy the results below!