Handmade Color Processing


How to process color film at home, in your bathroom.

After using an automatic photo processor (JOBO ATL 3) for about two years, I realized that I didn’t need it. Anyway, I didn’t have any choice since I left my JOBO in Québec when I moved to Halifax

All you need is a warm water-bath in which your chemistries and photo drum are maintained at a relatively constant temperature. The advantage of processing in your bathroom is that you have access to hot water from your shower hose and that you can throw your used chemistries in the toilet (except for the fixer which contains silver and that you must bring to a photo lab, or use a silver magnet, or use a silver recovery unit). By the way, always inform yourself about the toxicity of the products you’re using.

What you need:

1. A photo processing drum and film spools (I love JOBO spools)
2. Protective gloves to rotate the drum in the water bath
3. Un-powdered latex gloves to remove the stabilizer remaining on the film after the process
4. Protective goggles
5. A Funnel, used to pour sequentially the chemistry from each bottle into the drum
6. A Thermometer
7. A Chronometer
8. Two suction cups, a string and clothes-pins, to hang films for drying after the process
9. Bottles containing the chemistries*
10. Yogurt cups for the ‘stabilizer’ (C41) or the ‘final rinse’ (E6), outside of the drum
11. A watertight plastic container, used as water bath for the process (and to store all this mess after the process, away from the eyes of your girlfriend, boyfriend or roommate)

  • I use Fischer bottles for the next reasons: 1. They hold up to 700 mL which is perfect for my drum. 2. They’re glass bottles which means they’re heavy (won’t float) and keep the temperature more stable. 3. They can be closed to avoid spilling chemistry in the bath. 4. They initially contain a delicious beer.

How to proceed:

1. Prepare your chemistries (I use Kodak Chemistries). The concentration (ratio water to concentrate) is given for each chemistry by the manufacturer. Note that there are two different types of Kodak C-41 chemistries: the ‘Normal’ and the ‘RA’. RA stands for Rapid Access, these chemistries don’t need dilution with water and must be used for a shorter time.
2. Place the drum containing the films on their spool, the bottles containing the chemistries and the thermometer in the plastic container, in your bathtub. Pour hot water in the container (38-39°C) and wait about half an hour until your chemistries are warmed-up.

3. Use your shower hose every once in a while to add hot water if you feel that the temperature is decreasing. Between you and me, the precision and constancy of temperature are not as important as said. In fact, I got to the conclusion that if I feel that the water is at a temperature for a nice bath for myself (I like them a bit hot) everything is good, and I don’t use the thermometer anymore… And overheating produces nice color saturations (but burnt skies, as we’ll see later). During the warm-up you can prepare your yogurt cups for the final rinse.

4. Light a candle, prepare your chronometer and start the process. The first chemistries are supposed to be poured in the dark, but with just a candle it’s fine, your drum is supposed to be light-proof anyway.
5. Pour the first chemistry, rotate the drum in the water bath as long as needed, then empty your drum in the toilet (or in a container if you want to re-use them) and go to the next chemistry. Follow these durations for Kodak chemistries:

6. After the process, put your films in the final rinse for a minute, and hang them to dry for 1-2 hours.

7. Cut, scan and upload.

Here are some results from E6 processes:

Here are some results from Cross-processes (C-41):

Here’s a tipster within the tipster: the super-supersampler:

Here are some underwater shots from Alonissos using a canon F-1N or a Holga in a ewa-marine housing:

Here are some over-heated processes (around 40°C):

And here’s a (chronological) list of fantastic chemically-related posts with useful information:

1. Lith Printing by lovely_lena
2. Processing with coffee by lomosexual_manboy
3. Film risotto by mandi
4. film cocktail overdose by mandi
5. E6 Processing by stouf
6. Reversed X-pro by eggzakly
7. Rodinal processing by rater
8. Reversed X-pro by rater
9. B&W slides by stouf
10. C-41 processing by lomosexual_manboy
11. Reversed X-pro by eggzakly
12. Abnormal reversed X-pro by stouf
13. E6 processing with expired chemistries by stouf

written by stouf on 2010-10-02 #gear #tutorials #film #diy #developing #slide #lab-rats #c41 #c-41 #cross #drum #e6 #homemade #lab-rat #tipster #process #development #e-6 #kodak #bathtub #handmade #xpro #x-pro #cross-process #chemistry #processing #spools #chemistries #jobo #chemical #lab-rats #film-processing #top-tipster-techniques


  1. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    Great tipster! Well written, awesome gallery! Cheers!

  2. zulupt
    zulupt ·

    Great tip!!!!! Awesome job!

  3. pulex
    pulex ·

    thanks a lot for this!!! i guess ill start developing c-41 pretty soon!

  4. superlighter
    superlighter ·


  5. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Excellent!!! Should be Tipster of the Week!!

  6. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    darn - wait, i have to read it again from the top...

  7. copefan
    copefan ·

    A very cool tipster and I agree with Herbert! I'll have to try it instead of lugging all my stuff out of the garage!

  8. stouf
    stouf ·

    Yeah ! Thanks a lot everyone for the likes and comments ! I'm really proud of this post, and it's really EASY ! I am now in a state where I shoot for the pleasure to process... Weird... Anyway, thank again, and thanks to scapegoat/Jason !

  9. vgzalez
    vgzalez ·

    Great, great, great!!

  10. gnarlyleech
    gnarlyleech ·

    Very cool. I have been wanting to try this and you included several other post about processing. genius!!!!!

  11. sushi_9009
    sushi_9009 ·

    Stunning and compliment for this work :))

  12. reneg88
    reneg88 ·

    of course it had to be stouf the processing mastermind! hehe hopefully someday i'll have the materials and patience to try this out! =D amazing results!

  13. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    As usual Stouf ! GREAT WORK !

  14. ruthmut
    ruthmut ·

    Really great work! Best tipster i´ve ever read!!

  15. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    That's an awesome tipster with a lot of usefull infos!! Thanks Stouf for sharing this!! :))

  16. bccbarbosa
    bccbarbosa ·

    Oooohhh!!! Excellent!! This should be tipster of the year!!! I'll definetely be eternally grateful to you. Thanx a lot!!! =D

  17. wil6ka
    wil6ka ·

    genius ;)

  18. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    stouf does magic!

  19. stouf
    stouf ·

    Rhhooo ! You're being so nice : ) !!! Thanks everyone ! You should try it, the X-pro is especially easy...

  20. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    wooooooooowww broo! SALUTE!! SALUTE!! :))))))

  21. chuo104
    chuo104 ·

    Nice one, Stouf!

  22. cyan-shine
    cyan-shine ·

    You are the MASTER ! :D

  23. milkie
    milkie ·

    Great! Just what I needed !!!!

  24. stouf
    stouf ·

    Thanks thanks thanks !!! @cyan-shine: you are all masters to me : ) !!! Lomolove...

  25. lomodirk
    lomodirk ·

    Thanks mate, think for a while about the possibility of developing C41 at home, now I´ll do it, just need the stuff :)

  26. isammi
    isammi ·

    Very interesting,congratulations!

  27. ululchen
    ululchen ·

    shouldn't one cross-process slide films around 30°C? anyway, that's what i always do and i get great results with it, but you're right, the temperature doesn't seem to be very important as long as it isn't completely off target.

  28. coca
    coca ·

    this is great Stouf, as always. i made the E6 process in photography class a few days ago, is a great feeling see that the pictures turn out ok after the whole process :)) Congrats master!!!!

  29. stouf
    stouf ·

    Thaaaaanks for more love ! You are all making me so happy... @coca: it is indeed a wonderful feeling, hard to beat... @ululchen: Mmmm VERY interesting, I'll certainly try that ! Some 'cold' processing... But are your durations longer than those I indicate ?

  30. eatcpcks
    eatcpcks ·

    thank you a lot stouf! Hope i can try this in a fexw times:)

  31. nural
    nural ·

    wow this is so detailed!!! Maybe I'll but the chemicals next time I go to the lab and then don't go to the lab for some time, that would be nice :)))

  32. stouf
    stouf ·

    So LSI, when will we see chemistries in the shop ? 8D

  33. randorex
    randorex ·

    This article just made my year! can't wait to try this...

  34. bigphilly808
    bigphilly808 ·

    Ohhh man!! Is it bad that this article gave me a lomohardon?! Bahahaha! You da man!!

  35. stouf
    stouf ·

    Ahaha ! Glad you're feeling ... Inspired ! 8D

  36. ululchen
    ululchen ·

    @stouf: i use the same times as those indicated on the chemicals for negative films, just at 30°C instead of 38°C

  37. stouf
    stouf ·

    @ululchen: Really ? How surprising... I'll try it for sure. So I'll be maybe sweating a bit less during processes... 8DDD Thanks for the tip !

  38. takezzo
    takezzo ·

    well written, stouf. i give you a personal tipster of the week award badge.

  39. mojo_lomo
    mojo_lomo ·


  40. kylewis
    kylewis ·

    This is brilliant and you might have just tipped me over to the darkside of doing my own colour ; )) (which I have been to lazy to bother with) defo for Tipster!!!

  41. stouf
    stouf ·

    So much nice feedback from such nice people makes my head spin ! : )

  42. kdstevens
    kdstevens ·

    Very well done! The Super Supersampler shots are great!!. Thanks to you I have been processing my own film for about a year. I even tried Caffinol a few weeks back. BTW when Kodak's instruction said to do the first few steps "In the dark" they meant if you were doing tray or open tank processing. But I like the candle idea--it makes it more of a ritual. After all, it is magic. And the Fischer beer bottle idea is just right on. Ken.

  43. emvar
    emvar ·

    Brilliant! Thanks a million dude! Great article, very useful info and great shots :). Never processed any film by myself yet but hardly waiting to take the control and play with this stuff..

  44. bananez
    bananez ·

    Great job! Thanks

  45. stouf
    stouf ·

    Thanks again ! @kdstevens: I feel so proud now my friend ! Thank you so much ! Ahaahaa yes I know the tank is supposed to be light-proof, however in some cases you have to be careful, like with panchromatic films...

  46. sang_nila_utama
    sang_nila_utama ·


  47. wilfbiffherb
    wilfbiffherb ·

    im looking for a jobo so i can do this!!

  48. kylethefrench
    kylethefrench ·

    this is amazing, I wish I had access to those chemicals and the time to try this

  49. lonur
    lonur ·

    awesome! thanks; very useful tipster; now i need to actually get myself to do it..

  50. smoothlyblasted
    smoothlyblasted ·

    a very nice helpfull reading.

  51. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Really great article! BTW, I think your work looks absolutely great E6 Processed. Good scanning too.

  52. stouf
    stouf ·

    Thanks for all the nice feedback everyone !

  53. lageos
    lageos ·

    Great Tipster!
    And cool Fotos!

  54. zenline
    zenline ·

    Tu m'impressionnes Stouf ! Sérieux :)))

  55. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    stouf, you're the best !

  56. beni
    beni ·


  57. spoeker
    spoeker ·

    wow I totally missed this, thanks to the most popular selection for october to guide me the right way :)

  58. disdis
    disdis ·

    wow! How hadn't I seen this before? May I recommend your lab? You would have lots of lomographers sending you rolls!

  59. stouf
    stouf ·

    Thank you so much lomofriends... You're too good to me ! @azurblue: Coming from you this is an insane compliment ! : ) @disdis: Ahaha, I barely have time to process my own stuff...

  60. mylatehope
    mylatehope ·

    WOW, you are amazing!

  61. keeklo
    keeklo ·

    Ok, I've been lurking for a while now and it's time for me to jump in :-) I have never developed film but I'm a pretty handy person. My wife has done some B&W back when she was in college which was a while ago. We barely shoot any B&W and really want to try developing our films ourselves. Is it really stupid or unsafe for us to start directly with color? I was thinking of using a Tetenal C41 Press Kit (sold for $19.99)...

  62. stouf
    stouf ·

    @keeklo Well, that's the surprising part, in my opinion B&W processing is trickier than color processing. So go for it ! And sometimes, mistakes give nice results too...

  63. -adrien-
    -adrien- ·

    SO COOL!!! i was looking for it!! Thank's a lot!

  64. roberdown
    roberdown ·


  65. lightblue
    lightblue ·

    THANK YOU FOR THE TIP! Congrats!!! it's an great article!

  66. fabba
    fabba ·

    I will think seriously about!! Txs and besos

  67. slumbrnghok
    slumbrnghok ·


  68. stouf
    stouf ·

    UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: I now bring all my used chemicals to a photolab. they deal with it, and I feel less guilty. : ) ... Thanks a lot everyone for your super comments !

  69. olgats
    olgats ·

    thank's , looks easy enough to do it ! fingers crossed :-)

  70. paytenpurdy
    paytenpurdy ·

    thank you sooooo much for this! best tipster yet! mahalo-P.

  71. ihave2pillows
    ihave2pillows ·

    I love that tipster-inside-a-tipster :-P

  72. marcruinspants
    marcruinspants ·

    Is there a tipster for going from here and transferring the exposures to a larger photo surface?

  73. stouf
    stouf ·

    @marcruinspants I am guessing you're talking about printing? This involves an enlarger, chemicals and photosensitive paper... Another whole story that I promised myself to figure out during retirement... : )

  74. marcruinspants
    marcruinspants ·

    @stouf YES! Printing! Sorry, still new round here, don't know exact terminology. But yes, printing, That's my main focus (when it comes to out of pocket expenses) because I would really like to show my work in galleries after I get good enough, and I figure fairly large pieces is where a great deal of my money would go if I went to someone else to do it. The less money it costs me, the better.

  75. stouf
    stouf ·

    @marcruinspants I think the cheapest way would actually be to process and scan your negatives. Printing jpegs is cheaper than the proper photographic printing...

  76. nock
    nock ·

    This tipster? Jedi level!

  77. wwllaaddaa
    wwllaaddaa ·

    AWESOME :)

  78. aguillem
    aguillem ·

    I finally did it myself! I developped 4 films so far, and everything went fine :) (except when I opened the tank, but that's because I'm stupid...)
    Here are the 2 rolls I uploaded already:

  79. stouf
    stouf ·

    @aguillem And you did it wonderfully! : )

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