A Classic Analogue Trick: Expose Both Sides Of Your Film


Often, when we shake up the rules of photography, we expand the possibilities of what we can create. You might be familiar with the term Redscale. To redscale a film is to shoot your images on the reverse side of the film, having the plastic side of it hit first by light. This will tint your images in shades of orange and red.

One of the beauties of this technique is that we can create stunning double exposures by shooting both sides of the film. If you want to expose both sides, you will shoot one side first and after flip your film and do the second.

First picture has sign of light leaks. Photo by Elisa Parrino

You can either plan to shoot one side of your roll with one subject, for example, portraits, and the second one to create textures with flowers and plants. Or you can use a splitzer and divide your frames in half. It's up to you!

So how do you redscale your film? Firstly open your box of Lomography Color Negative 35 mm ISO 400 and load it in your camera. Then mark your film to see where your first frame is going to be, in both ways - a crucial note to have once you flip it.

After completing your roll, it's time to turn it upside down. This step must be done in the dark. Have a pair of scissors ready, some tape, and an old film leader to patch. Pull your film out of the canister and cut the end. Leave two centimeters of your end, to tape it back in reverse, now rewind it inside. Disclaimer: taping it backward means the emulsion side is facing you.

Photo by Elisa Parrino

From this point on, you can work in the light again. Leave a few centimeters out to see where your mark is on your first frame. Tape the leader and be careful to match your original first frame to the same exact location, to have perfectly aligned frames.

When it is time to shoot in reverse, you should take into consideration that the light will pass through the plastic side of your film first. This is what will turn your images orange, however is also a much thicker layer for the light to go through, and you should compensate by overexposing for one or two stops to achieve good shadow details.

Photo by Elisa Parrino

Patching your film in reverse doesn't imply that you must double expose. If you want to redscale your film you can do so by following the same direction we have given you. The instructions are the same: in the dark, pull the film out of the canister and reverse tape it back. Only you won't expose the film first so you don't need to mark the first frame. You will still need to overexpose your metering.

There are plenty of examples on our community of images created by juxtaposition of color and redscale frames. Be inspired and have fun to try to experiment with this technique.

It's worth remembering that when we redscale a film, we take monochromatic images. Colors are altered by the orange shades that pervade your film. It is not unusual to work with tints and monochrome, especially when we print. We can have cyan, sepia tone, solarize, and so on. Perhaps when we work with monochromatic images, we can think of it as if it was a black and white film; and consider shapes and forms with the same attention that we would have when working with black and white.

Tell us about your experiences with redscaling and how did your first time with matching your frame went, by commenting below.

written by eparrino on 2022-07-21 #gear #tutorials #videos #experimental #redscale #experiment #double-exposure #expose-both-side

Lomography Color Negative 400 (35mm)

You'll love the vibrant colors and stunning sharpness that the Lomography Color Negative 400 35mm film can give you.


  1. klawe
    klawe ·

    It would be interesting to know how much more the back has to be exposed (front 400 ASA, back 200 ASA?). For the back exposure, you can rotate the camera 180° so that the second exposure is not upside down.

  2. eparrino
    eparrino ·

    @klawe The over exposure should be of about one to two stops, but it depends on the scene. If in shade or overcast I would add 2 stops. If is against the sun or the sky 1 stop should be enough.

  3. klawe
    klawe ·

    @eparrino Thanks a lot! I'll take 400 ASA for the first exposure and 100 ASA for the second (redscale).
    When exposing the back of the film, I forgot what I photographed in the first run ;-)

  4. eparrino
    eparrino ·

    @klawe Hihihi It happens ;)

  5. manu2021
    manu2021 ·

    @klawe it's been a long time now I'm reversing my films to get a redscale and two stops is great. So, you will get the best results with 400 asa and shoot at 100. You'll love the results. Actually, a nice article from @eparrino.

  6. klawe
    klawe ·

    @manu2021 Thank you very much! I got a nice book from @equinox "a systematic redscale review" about 50 redscaled actually films yesterday in the evening - very interesting.

  7. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    Awesome 👏 too bad many film lab in my hometown don't want to process d.i.y. redscale film because the cellotape will damage their process machine. Only hipercatlab which owned by @fajaryayat who accepted redscale film to process

  8. equinox
    equinox ·

    @klawe Thanks a lot for the mention, I hope you find inspiration!!
    @hervinsyah I talked with two laboratories in Aachen, Germany about processing DIY redscale films. In my first tries, they had problems when the tape detached and once had to open up the machine to get the film unstuck. I have to add that I made my DIY redscale even more complicated by also taping in the middle, as I needed 3/4 of a film in redscale and 1/4 of a film in 'normal' for my redscale review project.
    In the end, I only used 2 big stripes of insulating tape and that worked out for the laboratories. Using more smaller tapes makes the risk of some pieces detaching bigger.
    There is specialty tape that the labs use themselves, so using that should be fine for every lab. One of my film laboratories gave me the end of a tape roll to try out, but they said that it's quite expensive unfortunately. I think it's a type of silicone tape, but I can't find the exact name.

  9. eparrino
    eparrino ·

    @manu2021 Thanks! I'm glad you like it :)

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