black and white film processingBlack and White Film Processing

Black and white film processing is a timeless classic loved by analogue enthusiasts around the world. Black and white film can add a touch of class to your images. Whether you’re striving for mid-tone shots full of detail or striking contrast to separate subject from the background, your choice of film type plays a big role in black and white processing.

Perhaps you experimented with processing a roll of black and white film as your first photography assignment at school or college. Chances are you had a go at loading your black and white film onto a spiral in the dark and processed your film in a tank, agitating every 30 seconds.

Processing Black and White Film

Some things never change, usually because it’s the best way to do it. Here at I am Analogue we still process black and white film by hand, in the dark room. With such an abundance of black and white films available, chemical dilution and timings are critical.

Your black and white film processing is booked into our system (once we receive it) and grouped with films of the same type and speed (HP5, FP4, TMAX 100 etc..). One of our clock watching dark room boffins will establish the correct ratio of chemicals and then, the lights go out. After retrieving the leader, each film is wound onto a processing spiral and placed in a processing tank. Then, the alchemy begins.

Remember that you can bring your analogue film into the 21st century by selecting a scan and digital transfer package. This offers the best of new and old by providing your digital files as soon as they come off the scanner. Fantastic for short deadlines, mitigating items lost by Royal Mail or simply scratching that instant gratification itch.

Black and White Processing

Mood and character are words closely associated with black and white photography. Once the ‘distraction’ (?) of colour is removed, it allows you to concentrate on the interplay of light between subject and background. Negative and positive form and shape can be suggested in subtle ways or with dramatic results. As mentioned above, black and white provide a rich choice of film types that cater for widely different applications.

Before choosing a film speed most photographers will have an idea for the brand, or range, of film to use to achieve their required look. Some films, like Ilford FP4, offer an even range of mid-tones producing a low contrast negative whilst other films such as TRI-X provides a high contrast, granular result.

Your initial choice will most likely be the speed of the film, are you shooting inside or outside? Unlike E6 or C-41 film, black and white chemistry is available from many different manufacturers and in some instances may be optimised to work with a specific film product. Chemistry options include pushing a film which can exaggerate the grain producing a ‘grungier’ look whilst also increasing contrast.

Black and white developing

When it comes to developing your black and white film, we are truly analogue. We process in the dark room, by hand, in tanks which hold up to 4 films at once. Tanks are agitated every 30 seconds by hand to ensure an equal coverage of chemistry moves across each film in the tank. Dilution and chemistry type is critical when developing black and white films, which is why we prefer a hands-on approach. Films are washed and dried before moving on to other services, such as hand printing or scanning. Finally, films are cut and sleeved into professional negative sleeving.

Please note that Digital Ice, the professional dust and scratch procedure performed by the scanner, is not compatible when scanning traditional black and white films. This is not the case with C41 equivalent black and white films such as Ilford XP2.

Our Favourites Black and White Films

With the abundant choice of black and white films, it is difficult to select even a handful of favourites. For a rounded shoot, we would likely pack several rolls of Ilford FP4 100 for its midrange and fine detail together with Kodak Tri-X for increased contrast/drama or push through the developer for even greater effect.


Film Formats & Chemistry

Vist Shop >
Film Type
Black & White
Cross Process
35mm C41 E6 ID-11 C41 > E6   or   E6 > C41
120 / 220 C41 E6 ID-11 C41 > E6   or   E6 > C41
5 x 4 N/A E6 ID-11 C41 > E6
10 x 8 N/A E6 ID-11 C41 > E6

Processing Services

35mm Process Only£5+per roll
  • Ready in 24hr (postal service) or 2hr (collection)
  • Most Lomography films and formats supported.
120 Process
£5+per roll
  • Ready in 24hr (postal service) or 2hr (collection)
  • Most Lomography films and formats supported.
220 Process
£10+per roll
  • Ready in 24hr (postal service) or 2hr (collection)
  • Most Lomography films and formats supported.
Sheet Film
Process Only
£6+per sheet
  • Ready in 24hr (postal service) or 2hr (collection)
  • E6 ‘dip and dunk’ scratch free processing.