FAQ's

+ How do I place an order?

We cater to mail-in clients as we do not have a brick & mortar location yet. While we do have the option of in-person drop off for folks who are local to LA, most of our local clients also choose to mail-in.

Our site is set up to make orders super quick & easy! Just go to the Place Order page, select exactly what you're sending us and your desired specs, "Add To Cart," and checkout! You can pay on our site with a credit card or PayPal. You can also create an account to make checkout quicker in the future :)

From us, you can expect an order confirmation email after you've successfully placed an order, as well as an email confirming that we've received your film when it arrives at Negative! Finally, when we've completed your scans, you'll get a confirmation email & a Dropbox link allowing you to download your scans.

Your film order will be assigned a unique order number. You can either print out your order confirmation email and include it in your box of film, or you can write down your order number if you don't have a printer. This helps us track all of the orders that come through Negative!

Haven't sent your film in the mail before? See our FAQ on shipping.

+ What if I don't want to pay online?

If you'd like to pay with a credit card, please order using our online store. Otherwise, you can download a paper order form here. We will contact you via email to handle alternative billing when your film arrives at the lab.

We're happy to accommodate PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Cryptocurrency, and of course, traditional banknotes.

+ What scanner do you use?

At Negative, we specialize in using the Fuji Frontier SP3000. This is an industry-standard scanner made by one of the biggest names in film.

+ What are your scan sizes?

For now, we're offering large scans only. Our Frontier is defaulted to the biggest output sizes for all formats. For 135 full frame this is 5444x3649, for 645 this is 4842x3649, and for 6x6 this is 3637x3637. If you're curious about another size, send us an email. If you want low-res scans, we’re happy to accommodate that too.

+ Are you affiliated with Mammum Film Lab?

Yes! Negative is Mammum’s reincarnation. Mammum was founded by photographer Brumley and Wells, and his film-geek brother Matty Brooks. Mammum is now the Handsome Coffee of film labs. Mammum Film Lab will live on through Negative, under the oversight of photographer Brian Wertheim and Brumley and Wells.

+ Should I expect to edit my scans in Lightroom or Photoshop after they're delivered to me?

At Negative, we will always try to achieve your “look” for you in the scanning process — all without requiring you to pay extra for fancy color profiles. Quite simply, since we are a small lab, we can take the time to get to know your work, eliminating the need for systems like color profiles (which are logical and effective ways for larger labs to maintain consistency).

With that said, even our biggest clients usually choose to make small edits to their scans after they receive them from Negative. Email us if you want some advice on editing film scans. And if you're spending more than a few seconds editing each frame when you receive your scans, we can help dial things in closer to what you prefer!

+ Can I get my scans delivered as TIFF files instead of JPEG?

We are happy deliver your scans as TIFF files at an extra charge that won’t break the bank! Just select TIFF on the “File Format” drop-down menu on the Place Order page under any film. Why do we charge for TIFF files? Well, the files are anywhere from 50MB to 120MB, which makes basically everything slower on our end. We hope you understand! :)

+ How should I ship my film?

We recommend UPS, FedEx, USPS, or DHL. Anything with a tracking number! Put your film in a plastic ziplock bag and be sure to include your printed order confirmation. If you don’t have a printer, you can write your details and order # on a slip of paper. Place your film in a box, make sure it’s safely packed (i.e., it's not going to bounce around during shipment) and you’re good to go. A box of film makes a great present for us, but a terrible shaker. Sorry, bad music joke! Really though, your film can get damaged if it's moving around too much in the box.

You can save some money if you pack the film yourself — just hang on to those boxes next time you order something on Amazon! Make sure the film is nice and snug in the box — newspaper or bubble wrap works great.

Ship your film to the address below:

19528 Ventura Blvd. #583
Tarzana, CA, 91356
United States

Or, if you're in LA, you can drop it off during business hours to mailbox #583.

+ What are normal turnaround times?

Turnaround times for process & scan are between 5-7 days after receiving your film. All film is processed in the order in which it is received (unless you place a RUSH order — read on). Outside of wedding season, turnaround can be faster than 3 days.

Negative is still a small lab and 99% of the work that comes through our lab is scanned by one tech.

If you are sending us negatives that have already been processed (scan only), turnaround time for scans should be slightly quicker!

+ Can you RUSH my order so I can meet a deadline?

Yes! We can deliver a RUSH order in 1-2 business days after receiving your film.

Rush orders require a bit of coordination on our end — please email us at hello@negativelab.co before you place your RUSH order.

For the fastest turnaround time possible, we recommend shipping with a service that offers early morning delivery times so it can go straight to processing when the lab opens! To place a rush order, just select "RUSH" on the Turnaround Time menu when you're adding film to your cart.

As with any order, we recommend numbering your film rolls so they can be scanned in order (this helps a lot with consistency!).

+ I’m new to this film thing and I don’t understand your lingo. Can you explain processing and scanning?

That’s okay! We love working with photographers at all levels — from professionals, to enthusiasts, to first-time film shooters. The mechanics of film can be a bit overwhelming if you’re used to an iPhone or DSLR. That’s where we come in! We really believe that shooting film should be easier, more fun, and less time consuming than editing thousands of digital photos when you finish a shoot.

Film is a physical medium, unlike the 1’s and 0’s that make up your digital photos! Photographic film is, basically, a light-sensitive “emulsion” on a plastic base. Think of it as avocado on toast. The base (toast) holds the active, light-sensitive emulsion (avo). Unlike avocado toast, buying film might actually make you money — maybe even enough to buy a house! (If you don’t get that joke, then you probably weren't on the internet enough in 2017, or you don’t live in Australia!)

Nowadays, most people use film in 135 (35mm) or 120 formats. We’ll save sheet film and the variety of different formats that used to be available for a rainy day — here at Negative we’re still mourning the loss of 220 film! 135 film has sprocket holes and lives inside of a plastic cartridge. 120 film is not “120mm” — it’s actually about 61mm high, producing negatives that are 6cm tall and a variety of widths (hence names like Contax 645 — 645 refers to the size of the negatives — 6cm x 4.5cm). Your grandfather might have known 120 film as “2 & 1/4 inch.” It lives on a spool with paper backing to protect it from light. With either of these formats, light has to strike the emulsion to make a photograph. When your camera shutter opens for a fraction of a second — long enough for light to enter the lens — it “rearranges” the structure of said emulsion which will later produce a negative when placed in developer solution by your lab. "Developing" film isn't necessarily the most accurate term, because chemical developer is just one step of the process required to produce a negative on exposed film, so we call it processing instead!

Everyone knows you can’t enjoy a negative without creating a print — or a positive. Enter scanning. Most people nowadays create prints from scans, which is why it’s so important to get the best scans possible! In the past, folks used negatives to create darkroom prints with light-sensitive paper. Those days are mostly gone — but this is a wonderful, timeless process that we now offer as part of our Professional Print Services.

+ I’m a wedding photographer and I want to start shooting film to achieve that “light and airy” aesthetic with “pastel” color tones. What should I do?

If you’re a wedding photographer going for that signature “light and airy” and “pastel” wedding look, we recommend overexposing your film by 1 stop, and letting us take care of the rest in the scanning process. Density correction, a part of the scanning process, is an essential ingredient in achieving those trendy pastel color tones. Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji 400H are good film stocks for wedding photography. Try rating your film at 200 if you’re shooting Portra 400 and 100 or 200 if you’re shooting 400H. Experiment!

Overexposing is an essential starting point if you want the “light and airy” look, but we don't believe this trend is faithful to the way a negative “wants” to look. If you'd like to know more about our philosophy on density correction in the scanning process, drop us a line.

If you’re a wedding photographer that wants more of a dark & moody look, popular with a lot of wedding shooters using DSLRs these days, film can do that too! A good starting point is to "overexpose" as mentioned above, but be careful to meter for the highlights instead of the shadows, all whilst in that moody light that so many photogs love!

You can successfully achieve this look in the scanning process without pushing, but check out our FAQ on Pushing for more ideas!

+ Will you ever offer Noritsu scans?

We’d love to! In fact, we’re hoping to be able to offer this service sooner than later. Noritsu scanners have their perks, including ultra-fast turnaround times and slightly larger maximum file sizes!

Noritsu scanners are also known and loved for their ability to retain shadows and highlights slightly better than the Frontier producing a flatter scan.

+ What is density?

*“Portions of the film which have been exposed to great amounts of light yield a considerable deposit of reduced silver upon development, referred to as higher density; areas of film exposed to less light yield less silver, or lower density.” — Ansel Adams, "The Negative" (1981)

While Adams is referring to black and white negative film in the quote above, his logic also applies to color negative. A negative that is underexposed is said to be too thin, while a dense negative is the desirable result of a good exposure. Underexposing film isn’t always the best thing to do from a technical standpoint, but can produce aesthetically pleasing results. Overexposing film is the “safest” way to go, and allows for more options in the scanning process.

+ What is pushing?

Trying to steer clear of that wedding aesthetic? Some folks prefer to underexpose their film (generally being careful to meter for the shadows) and ask us to “overdevelop.” Pushing your film introduces all kinds of interesting characteristics — notably, increased grain & desaturated colors!

Pushing involves rating your film at a higher ISO than is marked on the box. An example would be shooting Kodak Portra 400 and metering at 800, then asking the lab to push 1 stop (or “Push +1”). Underexposing can be risky, but the Frontier scanner is well known for being better with underexposed negatives than the Noritsu. We don’t always recommend pushing if you’re new to film.

Pushing should be indicated on each roll of film to make it as clear as possible for the lab when it comes time for processing (i.e. “Push +1,” “Push +2,” etc.). The film is then “pushed” accordingly — which means it is left in the chemical developer for longer than normal (or at a higher temperature).

Some folks choose to rate their film closer to box speed, and still opt to push in development. This will often times serves to increase contrast a great deal, while leaving your color saturation mostly in tact.

If you’re pushing your film and are not happy with the results, we can try our best to point you in the right direction! Keep experimenting, and if you don’t already have one — invest in a good light meter. Film is a physical medium, so we can’t always fix a negative that’s lacking density. That’s where a light meter comes in handy!

+ Can you process slide film (E-6)?

Unfortunately, not yet! We hope to offer this service in the future. We can cross-process E-6 in C-41 chemistry. We can also scan transparencies, mounted or unmounted, that are already developed.

+ Do you offer bulk pricing?

Yes, we can often accomodate bulk pricing on orders over 30 rolls. Drop us a line via email at hello@negativelab.co if you’d like to know more.

+ Do you offer sit-in scanning sessions?

In some cases, yes! Please email if you're interested in setting this up.