Photographer in Perth, Scotland

Photography Tips – Cross Processing

Happy New Year.  And did you do well at Christmas?

Perhaps, like someone I know you got given a gift of an old SLR camera that takes film because:

a/ They never use that camera now and probably rarely did, now they use a small compact.

b/ They know that you are just getting into photography and these digital SLR’s are just so expensive.

Well here’s a tip where you can have some good old fashioned fun and in the meantime learn about colour processing chemistry and how to do it, or in this case, how not to do it.

Get yourself over to eBay and buy some out of date film.

Back in the day, long before digital, late 1980’s to be exact, I was fooling around at college and using E6 film I would process this in C-41 Colour negative chemistry. This would produce negatives even though you had used transparency film. The result was increased colour saturation or contrast, a cross curving effect in the colours in which a blue cast was achieved in the shadows and a yellow cast in the highlights. Of course you can do this effect in Photoshop these days with digital, but the effects were more surprising and fun when doing with film.

You could also buy some colour negative film which would normally go through C-41 chemistry and put it through the E6 process to get slides. This achieves an altogether different effect. Highlights are blown out to a pinkish colour and the shadows blue-ish but it would depend a lot on the exposure and the film you used, so room for experimenting here.

So go on, take that old Olympus OM-10 for a test drive with some film, put it through the wrong process and get some interesting effects and smooth skin tones without even going near Photoshop.

Top! Simon Murray 2019
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