Film Photography Tutorials


Cross-processing (or x-pro if you’re down with the kids, like me) is addictive and makes film photography an even more exciting adventure than it already is, I love it a lot! Want to know more?

xpro - weeds
Zenith 80 + Fujifilm Velvia 100 film

The science bit

The most familiar and popular format of colour film you can buy; the sort you can pick up in your local chemist or supermarket, is colour negative film – this film is processed using C-41 chemicals.

Another less common format is colour slide film (also known as colour reversal film or colour transpareny film) – this is processed using E-6 chemicals.

Because negative film is so widely used, most photo labs will only process using C-41 chemicals – however, what you can do is get them to process your slide film using these negative chemicals and you will get what is referred to as cross-processing. Ta-da!

xpro - ice cream van
Olympus XA2 + Fujifilm Velvia 100 film

The effects

Processing film using the ‘wrong’ chemicals can give very dramatic and often unexpected results – the most obvious effect being the shift in the colours, but there is also the increased contrast and grainyness that all adds up to increased awesomeness!

xpro - boat
Olympus XA2 + Fujifilm Velvia 100 film

Different makes of film will change colour in diferent ways (and the mix of chemicals from lab to lab will make a difference too). I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the followimg colour casts, but these are how they apparently usually turn out with fuji films:

  • Fujifilm Velvia 50 – greeny blue
  • Fujifilm Velvia 100 – redy, orange magenta
  • Fujifilm Sensia 100 – reddish
  • Fujifilm Sensia 400 – bluey green
  • Fujifilm Provia 400 – greeny yellow

Tips and tricks

Some people find that images can look over-exposed when cross-processing slide film – if this is the case for you then you can ‘trick’ your camera into under exposing your shots by one f/stop by telling your camera the ISO speed is double what it actually is (so, if you are using ISO 200 film, tell your camera it is ISO 400).

xpro - shopping trolley
Zenith 80 + Fujifilm Velvia 100 film

X-pro works the other way too – you can process regular colour negative film in E-6 (slide film) chemicals, but the results aren’t half as dramatic, although you do get a nice shift of the whites (the clear areas) to a salmony colour. Also, it can be trickier (and more expensive) to find labs who process using E-6.


I have a wonderful photolab near me who are more than happy to cross-process film – you may find that high-street chemists/supermarkets and even some some labs may not offer this service (cross-processing can create lots of ‘gunk’ in the chemicals).

If you’re really struggling to find a local lab to do this for you there is bound to be someone online who will do this – hooray for the internet!  Lomography now offer photo processing including cross-processing.

xpro - jetty
Olympus XA2 + Fujifilm Velvia 100 film

There are lots of reasons why I could love cross-processing but the biggest reason for me is the surprise – film processing is aways surprising anyway but ad in all the whackiness and unexpectedness of x-pro and you’ll definitely need to be sitting down when you open that chunky, chemically-smelling envelope from the lab!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    19 October 2011 at 19:19

    i often wondered what the ‘xpro’ filter meant on my phone’s camera – now i know!

    • Reply
      19 October 2011 at 19:20

      Hi Eva – glad I was able to demystify! :)

  • Reply
    20 October 2011 at 09:01

    Angie, I just wanted to say how happy I am I came across you and your blog. Your enthusiasm is delicious and your knowledge without bounds. You are fab.

    • Reply
      20 October 2011 at 14:33

      Thanks so much, Cass! That means a lot coming from someone who takes such wonderful photos!
      You are fab too :) x

    Leave a Reply