Pushing, Pulling, Cross-processing – What?

6

Certainly you have already heard of pushing, pulling and cross-processing. But what exactly is it? And how does it work? In this tipster I want to present you different ways of developing films.

Pushing: Pushing is a development technique for intentionally underexposed films. It is possible to change the sensitivity of a film. This way you can make an ISO 100 film an ISO 200 or even an ISO 400 film and gain two exposure values – in other words, I can shoot with a smaller aperture or a faster shutter speed. This technique comes in handy when you are outside and the weather changes. For example when the sky clouds up or you only have an ISO 100 film with you but the light is insufficient. You can expose the film as if it was an ISO 400 film, hence push it two stops. All you need to do is change the ISO-setting on your camera to 400 and expose the film. It will be respectively underexposed.

Credits: elvismartinezsmith, brommi & nanigo

Pushing is often used in black and white photography. Off the shelf, B&W films have a maximum sensitivity of 3200 ISO and can be pushed up to 25000 ISO. In colour photography the most sensitive films have a value of 1600, when they are pushed even 3200.

Pushed photos result in higher contrasts that make the picture look “grainier”. This is because dark (or only little exposed) places on the negative will of course remain “dark” whereas light places like light sources will be emphasized even more. Colours will also look more vibrant and grain will be more visible.
In order to achieve an increase of sensitivity the underexposed film must be specially developed. Exposure time is longer than usual when “pushing” a film. If you want to have your CN film developed, make sure to write “Push-development” and the number of steps your film should be pushed, for example “Push 2”, on the bag.

Pulling: Pulling is the opposite of pushing. The sensitivity of overexposed films is lowered. A 400 ISO film is exposed like a 200 ISO film, hence pulled one step. For the foto lab it is important that you mention “Pull 1” or “Pulling, 1 step” on the bag. When pulling, there will be less contrast and the picture will be more fine-grained.

Credits: primula & russheath

Altogether, pushing is more popular than pulling. Both procedures are interesting if you want to influence the contrast and grain of your photos. What is more, you don’t need to worry about sudden weather changes or the wrong film choice anymore.

Cross-processing: When cross-processing a film (also called “X-Pro”) you let your films be put into the wrong developer chemicals. There is a certain type of developer for every type of film: for colour negative (C-41), black-and-white (there are lots of different black-and-white developers) and for slide film (E6).
The procedures C-41 and E6 are standardized mechanical processes that differ in the temperature, development time and chemicals used.

If you want to “cross” a film, it is best you take a slide film and expose it with your camera. Then this film will not be developed in E6, the standard process for slide films, but in C-41. Make sure to tell your photo lab that the film should be developed in C-41. If you do not tell them, they will handle your slide film as such and it will end up in the E6-process.

Usually it is enough to write “Cross-process” or “C-41″ on the bag you handle your photo lab.
The result: instead of a positive image (which is what a slide actually is) you get negatives that you can scan. The photos often have vibrant colours, pretty grainy and usually also have a higher contrast.

Vice versa you can also cross-process a normal CN film in E6-chemicals, but you will only get tinged slides.

Credits: grad

Altogether it can be said that pushing, pulling and cross-processing are interesting ways of influencing your photographic results. Especially by pushing or cross-processing slide film you can receive photos that show colour shifts and have a high contrast. It is important to tell your photo lab what is your desire. Normally it is enough to write them onto the photo bag.

In my experience all three of those processes are conducted by professional labs and other bigger photo labs. It often takes longer than standard development though.

Which experiences have you made with pushing, pulling or cross-processing?

Information for this article are from Foto-Seminare, Fotografie-Lexikon, Fotografische.

written by frauspatzi on 2012-09-06 in #gear #tipster #e6 #cross #c-41 #x-pro #how-to #pull #push #developing #cross-process
translated by sassa_b

6 Comments

  1. nuo2x2
    nuo2x2 ·

    thorough description (and explanation) of the basic of pushing, pulling and Xpro, nice :)
    I just usually ask my film enthusiast friends in the country to help me with the process, I don't think all of the labs here provide those development techniques (except for Xpro)

  2. rbrtkrskmp
    rbrtkrskmp ·

    I have read several times that it's preferable to deliberately underexpose a slide flim, if you intend to cross-process. Otherwise you'll get burned highlights.

    True or false, or depending on the film one uses?

  3. elvismartinezsmith
    elvismartinezsmith ·

    @rbrtkrskmp true. When willing to cross process a roll, you need to always push it one step when shooting, because when the lab cross processes they automatically push one step. Then, if you want to push it further (a 100iso slide shot at 400iso instead of 200iso) you'll need to ask your lab to push 2 to 3 steps in all. It means 1 step for xpro + 1 to 2 steps for extra pushing :)

    @frauspatzi is it possible to push negative films? I was told by my regular lab that it was useless. You may push isos on the cameras but they told me pushing when developing has no point, that it's better to push yourself when scanning. What's your experience on this?

    thanks for sharing and for the article (and for using my pictures:)

  4. rbrtkrskmp
    rbrtkrskmp ·

    @elvismartinezsmith Thanks for you explanation. Very helpful!

  5. litumai
    litumai ·

    such crystal clear explanation! thanks!

  6. kschraer
    kschraer ·

    Bueno! Gracias!

More Interesting Articles

  • Change the Destiny of Your Film

    written by emrekskn on 2014-10-07 in #gear #tipster
    Change the Destiny of Your Film

    The scale of what Tudor and Fuji film can offer you is certain. But have you ever thought about pushing the boundaries?

    1
  • The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-03-06 in #gear #lifestyle
    The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    What exactly do I feel while waiting for my Lomo'Instant photos to be developed? I have to say I get a mix of "Surprise me, dear Lomo!" but also some "Did I capture it as I wanted?" kind of thought. No matter the school of thought, with the Splitzer you can add so many cool effects to your photos you'll definitely embrace it!

  • Wide-Angle Photo Tips: Size matters!

    written by dopa on 2014-07-15 in #gear #tipster
    Wide-Angle Photo Tips: Size matters!

    In your daily photo practice, a slight difference in focal length can have a huge impact on your images. Does it adjust everything in the photo? Do I get that entire steeple on the image without having to go so far back and then shooting in the sun? How exactly does a fisheye lens work? Read on and find out the answer.

  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • Camera Summer: What is 'Sunny 16'?

    written by dopa on 2014-08-12 in #gear #tipster
    Camera Summer: What is 'Sunny 16'?

    As an analogue photographer, you have probably already heard someone speak about the "sunny 16" rule when it comes to determining the correct shutter speed and aperture combination. But what's this about? Read on and I will tell you.

    5
  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 2

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-03 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 2

    I’d only heard rumors of the Magic Tree. I had no idea if they were true and, honestly, I’m still half disbelieving of it despite the story I’m about to tell you. If you have faith in what I say, I’m grateful. If you don’t, I bear no ill will towards you. But either way, please shout out in the comments what secrets or sophistries you think I found through its twisting branches.

    18
  • Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant

    written by tomas_bates on 2015-01-21 in #gear #tipster
    Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant

    Perhaps you’ve already had chance to try light painting, multiple exposures and long exposures with your Lomo’Instant, but what can you experiment with next? Well, that’s exactly the thought I had which led to giving this Tipster a go. I wanted to shoot Lomo’Instant photos which felt a bit “messier” than what I’m usually used to and to use a technique which would open up new possibilities with the kinds of images I could create with my favorite instant camera. Well, here I go!

    2
  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Photo of the Day by miket

    written by cheeo on 2014-09-04 in #news
    Photo of the Day by miket

    Overexposing your film is a big no-no to some but not for miket. It's exactly what he did, along with cross processing to drench this photograph with eye-catching colors and wild grain!

    1
  • Photo of the Day by akula

    written by cheeo on 2014-10-07 in #news
    Photo of the Day by akula

    Burning your negatives sounds like a radical and crazy idea but akula certainly knows how to make it work. Let this photograph of a stuffed raccoon with colorful, candle-burned edges show you how its done!

    5
  • My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-11-12 in #gear #tipster
    My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    I backed the Kickstarter project for the Lomo’Instant earlier this year and was thrilled to receive it last week. I love how the camera naturally encourages you to experiment with its different features, whether it’s through flashing your multiple exposures with different colors or trying different creative techniques after your shots has been ejected. Here are a few tips from what I’ve discovered from playing with the camera so far (and a couple of tips I want to try out in future)!

  • Shop News

    LomoKino Basic Package Services

    LomoKino Basic Package Services

    Process your LomoKino films the right way! Get scans, movie and negatives. This is the easiest way to turn those movie rolls into completed masterpieces! Check this service now!(Service availability depends on your markets)

  • 12 Months, 12 Projects: March Of Caffenol

    written by Maaike van Stratum on 2015-04-12 in #world #lifestyle
    12 Months, 12 Projects: March Of Caffenol

    My list of resolutions for 2015 consists of 12 projects, one for every month. March was for caffenol. You have probably heard of the amazing fact that you can develop black and white photos with coffee, sodium, and vitamin C. I had tried this before but with less than stellar results. Somehow, there's always something going wrong. Time to devote a few rolls to caffenol to finally get the hang of it.

    1
  • Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    written by cheeo on 2014-12-05 in #lifestyle
    Handmade Cameras by Cedric Chatterley

    Shooting with film can be considered a labor of love. From carefully loading the film and adjusting for lighting conditions to the darkroom process, it’s a laborious process but certainly a fulfilling experience. What more if you created your own cameras?

    1
  • Solo Biking Routes: Exploring Jezersko and the Greenest Lake You'll Ever See

    written by lomofrue on 2014-07-23 in #world #locations
    Solo Biking Routes: Exploring Jezersko and the Greenest Lake You'll Ever See

    My bike is my best friend. It's not the best one you'll ever see but I love it anyway. It takes me to work and back, and it also takes me exploring new places. What more could I possibly want?