What is pushing/pulling?
Pushing and pulling is something that is done in development and in development only.  It is never something that happens in exposure or scanning and cannot be adjusted after the roll has already been developed. Pushing and pulling are done by changing the temperature of the developer, or by adjusting the time the film is left in the developer. The reason one would push/pull is if you under/overexposed your film either intentionally or unintentionally. Pushing increases grain and contrast and is far more common than pulling. We actually don’t recommend pulling C-41 film since it can handle quite a bit of overexposure. Pulling is mostly used for black & white film stocks shot at a lower ISO. This will decrease grain and lower contrast, which can be great in some high-speed black & white film stocks but is not recommended on C-41 film unless a very specific look is desired.  We can push/pull C-41 up to 4 stops and there is no limit for black & white. When you receive your scans back, your pushed rolls will be labeled with a plus sign: one push in development will be written as +1, two pushes as +2, etc.

One example of pushing would be shooting Kodak Ektar 100 and metering/rating it at 200 and then telling the lab to push it 1 stop in development:

Halee Betzner Photography | Ektar +1 | rated at 200 ISO and metered for the shadows | Nikon F100

What will my images look like if I push my film? 
Pushing film affects the highlights and shadows. It makes the whites whiter and blacks blacker. Pushing will not affect your mid-tones. It is still crucial to light your scene and subject. If you’re shooting at night and there is no light falling on your scene, pushing your image will only make it darker and may result in no shadow detail at all. If you’re shooting right next to a really bright light source, pushing your image will only become brighter and may result in no highlight detail at all. Below are some examples of different film stocks that have been pushed:

Thomas Shull | Portra 160 +1 | rated at 320 ISO and metered for the shadows | Pentax645n

We Are Origami Photography | Portra 400 +1 | rated at 200 ISO and metered for the shadows | Contax645

Heather Nan | Portra 800 +1 | rated at 400 ISO and metered for the mid-tones | Pentax645nii

Julie Paisley | Fuji 400H +1 | rated at 200 ISO and metered for the shadows | Contax 645

What is the difference between pushing in development and overexposing in camera?
Pushing in development and overexposing in camera yield different results. The best thing is for you to experiment and try them both to develop your personal aesthetic. If you’re new to film, we recommend first becoming comfortable with the nuances of the film and then introducing the element of pushing. Below is an example of two rolls of film that were shot in the same scene: the first roll was overexposed in camera via metering, and the second roll was shot at box speed and pushed one stop in development:

Maile Lani | Portra 400 & Portra 400 +1 | Contax 645


This summer has been a busy one, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! We have loved seeing so many beautiful images come through the lab. Here are some of our favorites from the month of August:

Wedding | Gabriela Ines Photo | Portra 800 | Mamiya 645AF

Travel | Ryan Petronella | Fuji C200 | Pentax K1000

Food | Jin Park | Fuji 400H | Contax645

Still Life | Shane and Lauren Photo | Portra 400 | Pentax645n

Editorial | 1778 Photographie | Ilford HP5 +2 | Contax645

Landscape | Jesse Pafundi | Portra 400 | Hasselblad500cm

Black & White | Beth Morgan Photography | Tri-X 400 | Pentax645n

Family | Elza Photographie | Fuji 400H | Pentax645n


Before you begin, make sure that your camera has double exposure capabilities. Some cameras can shoot double exposures, some can’t. Just reference your camera manual (you can google it if you don’t have a hard copy!) to see if your camera model has double exposure settings and to read detailed instructions on how to use them. Here are some things to keep in mind as you’re shooting double exposures on film:

Melese Miller | Portra 400 +1 |  Mamiya645AF

Adjust your exposure settings to ensure your final image isn’t overexposed.
Usually we want to err on the side of overexposure with film, but with double exposures, we want to underexpose each frame. When shooting two frames on top of each other, cut each exposure in half. The easiest way to do this is to stop down the aperture (take it from f4 to f8 for example) or make your shutter speed twice as fast (i.e. 1/125 to 1/250).

Melese Miller | Portra 400 |  Mamiya645AF

If you want to see a specific outline, place your subject against a blank background.
Using the sky is a pretty common option, or you can find a neutral colored wall (in the image below, the subject was photographed against the sky):

Donnie Tapp | T-Max 100 | Calumet 4×5 Monorail

Remember how highlight and shadow detail will be influenced by shooting two frames on top of each other.
-The shadows of your first frame will be filled in by your second frame
-The highlights of your first frame will be mostly lost in the second frame
Here are two photos of the same scenes just shot in different order: in the first image, we shot our model first and the blossoms second. In the second image, we shot the blossoms first and the model second. You can see how the detail in both scenes is influenced by shooting one before the other:

Chloe Mehr | Portra 400 | Pentax 645n

Like most film techniques, hands-on experience is the best way to learn, so we encourage you to get out and try shooting some double exposures yourself!

We’re excited to feature our top 9 images from our Instagram account, that had the most likes for 2016. Remember to tag #thefindlab on your images that we processed, for the chance to get featured. Now go follow these awesome photographers on IG!

Fuji 400H +1

Sweetlife Photography | Fuji 400H +1 | Contax 645

Joshua Kim | Portra 800 | Pentax67II

Alyssa Wallace | Portra 400 | Rollei

Paul Krol | Portra 400 | Contax G2

Winsome + Wright | Portra 400 | Contax 645

Kimberly Barnes | Fuji 400H | Mamiya 645 AFD

Laura Sponaugle | Portra 400 | Contax 645

Travis J Photography | Portra 800 | Mamiya 67 Proii

Justine Knight | Fuji 400H | Pentax 645n


When people hear that I shoot film on old cameras for all my family sessions I get a lotta raised eyebrows, mostly from digital shooters who come home from family sessions with hundreds, if not thousands of images. Let’s talk about the things peeps are thinking behind those sky-high brows and my top tips for successfully shooting families on film.

1. Stopping down isn’t gonna look hideous
Coming from a digital background, my first instinct with film was to shoot wide open alllll the time as much as humanly possible. My main concern was stopping down to f4 or 5…because let’s face it–portraits at f4 or 5.6 on a digital body look like pure garbage. Not so on a medium format camera! Lovely bokeh is easily achieved at f4 AND subjects are in focus! Stopping down to f4, especially when shooting manually, could save many a money shot. My rule of thumb: You’ve got two or more people who are on an even slightly different plane, f4 it is. Of course, for big group shots you’ll need to stop down even more, but the bottom line is to get unscared of numbers higher than 2.8.

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2. Don’t worry about “missing” the moment
The biggest fear I hear among photographers who balk at the fact that I shoot film for family work is that they’ll miss the shot. Kids move fast, and they are treasure troves of authenticity, fun, humor, and sweetness–so it makes sense that we would want to use gear that’s even faster than they are to truly capture all of those things. But. If you’re a digital family shooter you’ve had the experience of shooting an entire gigantic memory card of photos at a family session and delivering maybe 40-100 final images. What was going on with those hundreds and hundreds of rejects? Weren’t there “moments” happening?

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Film forces you to tell a selective story, instead of trying to capture it all and then piecing “the story” together after the fact. Film forces you to wait, to watch, and to find the one shot you want to take of a particular moment. Do I “miss” moments? Absolutely. Cuteness happens while I’m loading and unloading film every time. But letting go of the moments I’ll inevitably miss allows me to focus on the core of what I really want to say through my photos, instead of culling through images realizing that all I got was a bunch of fluff that was half-mindlessly shot and no meat. This means I’m directing more, not following kids around and waiting for them to give me what I want. This means more tricks, games, and yes, candy bribes, but it’s incredibly freeing to know what you want to say as a photographer and find ways to accomplish it instead of passively letting a shoot happen to you.

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3. I’m a slaaave…to the light
I shoot families in their homes, and the number one thing I’m looking for is great light. I’ve shot entire sessions scrunched up next to one window, and while I’ll admit that’s not ideal, the biggest tip for shooting families on film indoors is to let yourself be a slave to the light. I’ve moved furniture, cropped things out of backgrounds, shot on front porches and floors and through windows for the sole purpose of utilizing the available light. With digital you can get away with positioning a family away from a window, but with film, I’m snuggling them together next to the light source and side or front lighting the subjects when possible. Digital is so versatile that it runs the risk of making us lazy with light use, so if you’re not willing to choose light first over any other factor, shooting film in a family’s home might not be the best fit for you.

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To make the most of the glory of family and the beauty of film, the best thing you can do is get crystal clear on your vision of what you want to create during a family photo session. When you take the reins and make the magic happen instead of waiting for the stars to align, kids to listen and wind to die down, you’ll be free to make the photos your heart really longs to make.

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Brooke Schultz is hosting a workshop sponsored by the FIND Lab in southern california on November 5th! It’s one jam packed day focused on creating non-cheesy family photos that feel like you, with a slew of games, endlessly variable poses, and tips for dealing with nightmare situations like a boss while nurturing your creativity. Then, you’ll rewrite your entire website (yup!) with Brooke’s easy-to-follow recipe so your website attracts dream clients and makes it easy for them to hire you. The icing on this cake is 2 rolls of film and basic + processing from the lab, so go check out the details and reserve your spot here: http://brookeschultzphotography.com/heartful-a-family-photography-workshop-website-makeover/

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