Grabbing a film developing kit to start developing your photographs at home can be a very rewarding and inspiring activity. But it can also be very problematic if you don’t start off with the right gear and method. That’s why it pays to get it everything right from the beginning rather than trying to rush into it like I did! The amount of shots I wasted as a result of poor developing practices would make your head spin, I was just too eager to get started!
A couple things you’ll need in order to start developing your own film at home, be it black and white or color:
- A completely dark room or change bag
- Developing cylinder
- Developing trays
- Clips to hang your film
- Squeegee to remove liquid residue
- Chemicals (developer, fixer, ….)
- Temperature probe
- Cotton gloves
- And a few jugs or buckets to make the mixtures
My recommendation would be to start out with a beginner developer kit and work upwards from there. Something like the one below contains almost everything you’ll need to get started.
You can pick this exact kit up for under $100. The only thing it’s really missing are the cotton gloves, squeegee and developing chemicals.
To complete the development you’ll need to get the right chemicals for the type of film you’re developing. It’s recommended to start with black and white development as it’s a bit easier than color.
For the developer you might want to start with D76 – it’s a highly versatile developer that can be used across a range of different films.
I’ve been photographing for 13 years and have a penchant for 35mm and medium format film. Black and white street photography is my go-to. My work has been featured in online and print media through a few publications like Shutterstock, Brooklyn Resource Mag, Off The Rails and Collective Quarterly.