Film processing ranges from simple digital photograph processing, which can be done without much training using computer software, to traditional darkroom 35mm film developing or x-ray and radiology film processing. No formal degree is necessary to develop film of any kind, but you will need experience working with different types of film.
You can gain experience as a film developer by following step-by-step instructions for basic processing, and expand your film processing education and training through training manuals, classes and even advanced degrees. Photography degrees typically involve at least one course that uses traditional film developing equipment.
Begin your film processing education and training with the following sources:
- Use step-by-step instructions to learn film developing basics.
- Attend classes, seminars and workshops to learn hands-on film processing skills.
- Enroll in formal degree programs for broader education in the photo processing business.
Get instructions for the basic process to develop filmIf all you need is to develop basic 35mm film in color or black and white, instructions are easy to find. While a minimum level of equipment and chemicals is necessary, these materials are widely available from art supply and camera specialty retailers.
Learn about film processing methods from courses and seminarsFilm processing skills can also be learned in courses and seminars. Many photography programs and schools offer individual courses that meet online or in person to help target specific skills needed to be a film developer.
Get extensive training to be a film processor through advanced degreesMany colleges and technical schools offer 2- or 4-year degrees in photography, which typically include at least one course in film processing. Technical programs may place an even heavier emphasis on film processing equipment operation and technology. While an advanced degree is not usually necessary for film processing, it can provide a good background where experience is lacking.
Catawba Valley Community College is one of several programs in the United States in photographic technology, with an emphasis on both traditional and digital film processing. Other colleges and universities with large photography departments, like Columbia College in Chicago, also offer coursework in film processing as part of their degree requirements.
- While a degree is not necessary for film processing, several other types of informal qualifications are important in developing film. Manual dexterity, attention to detail, mathematical skills and experience using computer equipment are all useful qualifications for a film processor.