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Tips on Expired Film

When shooting with expired film, you never know what you’re going to get. You may even find your own unique style in photography. If you’re new to shooting expired film, here are some tips that could help you ease your way into it!

Storage
If you are not going to use the expired film yet, it is best to store it in a freezer until you’re ready to shoot. Storing expired film in cold temperatures will slow down the degradation process. For a quick guide, see the information below:

  • Low temperatures slow down film degradation.
  • High temperatures speed up film degradation.
  • Freezing stops the film degradation.
  • Humidity speed up film degradation.
  • Dry storage minimizes film degradation.

Load Immediately
Load the expired film into your camera immediately after removing it from its package. If the film is expired, there is a greater risk in exposing it and you may end up with blank prints. If your film came from the freezer, thaw it in room temperature first before loading it in the camera.

Some Tips
There may not be much difference between using fresh film and expired film as long as the expired film was stored properly. Expired film stored in the freezer can last for decades and you can still have great images. Below are some tips that you could use when shooting with expired film:

  • Use expired film with slower film speeds as they do not degrade as fast as higher film speeds. If you want an extreme outcome, higher film speeds are your best bet.
  • Avoid harsh lights when shooting since this can lead to distortions or light flares on your photos, unless that is what you’re after.
  • Cross-process for magical results!

Here are some community photos that were taken with expired film:

These are just a few tips to get your started. Do you have other tips to share? Leave a comment below!

written by jeanmendoza

4 comments

  1. welland

    welland

    I have just bought some Ilford colour film, not that unusual except ilford are B&W specialists oh and it expired in 1952. I can't see an iso on it, it only says Daylight. What do you reckon?

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  2. ginny

    ginny

    Stupid question: if you keep your film in its canister in the freezer, doesn't the humidity of the freezer affect it?

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  3. jeanmendoza

    @welland, I think the turnout would depend on how the film was stored. I've also stumbled upon some photos that were taken with film that has expired for decades and the results had a vintage look, though they don't always turn out that way. I'm excited to see what you come up with using the expired film that you have! :) @ginny, freezers have a relatively low humidity level, which is ideal for film storage, so your films should be fine inside the canister! :)
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  4. superkulisap

    superkulisap

    @welland months ago, I used a roll of Kodak Ektapress ISO1600 that expired 1992, a colour film, and I only got a few recognizable pictures. I think 20 out of 24exp were underexposed. I should have pushed the exposure to 4 to 7 stops to get the proper exposure. In your case, you'd probably have to push more since it says Daylight, maybe the ISO of the film you have is between 100 and 400. It still depends on how your film was stored. How many rolls did you buy anyway? It would be best to try shooting one roll first.

    This picture http://www.lomograph(…)os/14850977 was taken using a flash and the ISO was pushed to 2 stops over but still underexposed

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