I’ve been a film photographer for more than 7 years now and I regularly used disposable cameras too!
In order to get pictures off your disposable camera, you need to take the camera to a film developing lab, where you can decide whether you want the physical prints, digital files or both. You can also usually decide what quality you would like your scans.
If you want to understand more about how to get your disposable camera film developed and where to go for it then read on!
How Do Disposable Cameras Work?
Disposable cameras are ready-loaded, single-use film cameras that usually have between 27 and 36 shots. When you take a shot you have to manually wind onto your next frame so that you can take another shot. This works by exposing the camera film to light via the lens for a fraction of a second.
Most disposable cameras also have a built-in flash that you usually have to switch on manually in order to use it. Although disposable cameras are technically single-use cameras, if you know how, you can take these apart and load them with film again.
For most of us, once we finish shooting with our disposable camera, we’ll need to send it off to a film developing lab in order to get pictures back.
How To Get Your Disposable Camera Film Developed
There are a number of different ways to get your disposable camera film developed, obviously, you could develop it yourself but this is quite an advanced thing that requires space and resources so usually you would need to send it off to a film developing lab.
There are a few options when it comes to taking your film to a lab. First, you could take your film to a High Street developing lab, in the UK which is somewhere like Max Spielmann and in the US which is somewhere like Walgreens or something like that. If you are to send your film to a High Street developer, it’s often quite an expensive way and usually, they produce low-quality scans. In my experience, you have to pay extra to get scans and prints and it ends up being a significant amount of money. This isn’t the way that I would suggest it’s definitely a bit of a beginner’s way of doing things.
Alternatively, a slightly better way of getting your film developed is to take your camera to a small local film lab, this may mean you’ll get a better price and the option to choose the quality of your scans. For instance, low-quality scans will probably be fine for most disposable cameras if it isn’t for something important like a wedding. At a small local lab, it’s likely that you can then decide if you want scans or prints and whether you want your negatives back.
One of the last ways that might be more convenient is that you can send your disposable camera in the mail to a reputable developing lab. In the UK that is Take It Easy Lab and Filmdev can provide great-quality scans at fair prices. These labs tend to be more professional and have better scanners which can provide more detailed and sharper pictures.
What To Say And Do
If you’re sending your film to a lab for the first time then you need to include a note in your package with all your details and what quality of scan you would like.
It should look like this:
1 elephant poop street
2 x medium-quality scans
Something along those lines so if there is an issue you can be contacted and if the developing lab uses your e-mail to take payment and send the files and it’s all good to go.
If you’re going into a local lab for the first time then simply go in and ask what type of service they provide, do they provide scans via transfer or disc or do they only do prints? Ask about the quality and give them your info and leave it with them.
How To Get Pictures From Your Disposable Camera Onto Your Phone
When people first start film photography a lot of people wonder how they get those photos onto their phones. Well, it’s quite simple, don’t mess around trying to take pictures of the print or anything like that. These days, most developers will be able to send you scanned files of your pictures or some developers still provides you with a disc with the files of your pictures.
You can download the pictures onto your laptop or onto your phone and if you choose to, you can use something like Lightroom to slightly edit your photos. If you have your photos on your laptop but you’re not sure how to get them onto your phone, then you can either send them to yourself on Facebook or use something like dropbox or the cloud.
If you’re just posting them to Facebook or Instagram you don’t need to worry too much about the quality since the pictures tend to be small and Instagram and Facebook tend to ruin the quality anyway.
Where Should You Go To Get Your Film Developed?
When you’re first getting your film developed it can be a bit confusing to figure out where to take it. In the UK, one of the simplest places to take it is somewhere like Max Spielman’s which is a High Street photography shop that still develops film. While this is the simplest thing you can do it’s also one of the most expensive and low-quality.
Alternatively, I would suggest searching the name of your city or town and the words film developing lab to see if there’s anything local to you. This is good because you can help a small local business and also probably get a better quality service for less money.
Alternatively, going to somewhere like Filmdev and Take It Easy Lab are great options because you can send off your film, and let them know what quality you want your scans to be and you should get it back within about five days to a week. This is a great option for someone who perhaps doesn’t live in a big town or city with a film lab. If you live in another country most of Europe will have film labs in their main cities that you can use or send your camera to.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A Disposable Camera Developed?
Standard film developing costs can range anywhere from £5 to £20 depending on where you go and what standard and quality a film you’re developing.
In the UK the best value for money that I know of is Filmdev, they are fairly cheap and they produce scans at the highest quality. Otherwise most small, local film developers will probably provide a slightly lower quality scan usually slightly higher cost.
The highest costs of all come from High Street developers and it is also usually the lowest quality. Unless you can’t find anywhere else to go I would avoid these at all costs.