Where to Develop Film in Chicago in 2022. (2023)

Where to Develop Film in Chicago in 2022. (1)
Where to Develop Film in Chicago in 2022. (2)

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While Chicago may be the third-largest city in the country, it can still be challenging to find the right spot to develop your film.

As is true in most major cities, Chicagoans are fortunate to have more than a few photo labs at their disposal; that doesn’t mean that all of these businesses will be the best option for everyone, though.

Whether you’re a black and white devotee or a large-format fanatic, a Loop-lingering local or you’ve made the move to the suburbs…we’ve got you covered.

To help you decide the best place to develop film in Chicago, check out our list of all of the options, including a breakdown of which services are handled at each lab, as well as a map of their locations.


  • Central Camera
  • CSW Film Systems
  • Gamma Imaging
  • Chicago Community Darkroom
  • Quality Plus Photo Design Center
  • V Lab
  • Map of Places to Develop Film in Chicago
Where to Develop Film in Chicago in 2022. (4)

Where to Develop Film in Chicago

Chicago is a great place for film photographers simply based on the fact that there are still quite a few centrally located photo labs.

Check out where you can still develop film in Chicago, all just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan.

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Central Camera

Location: 230 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60604

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ve got to respect a camera shop that’s been in business for well over 100 years; Central Camera first opened their doors in 1899 and have been a pillar of the Chicago photography community ever since.

If you’re interested in developing some of your film at Chicago’s oldest photo lab, feel free to bring in your 35mm and 120 medium format film, whether it’s C-41 color, black and white, or E-6 slide film.

Processing is far from the quickest (usually somewhere between 7 and 14 days depending on what type of film) and our experience getting film developed and scanned has been fine, but nothing to write home about.

What we really like about Central Camera is the great selection of used film cameras (they also run a popular eBay account to facilitate camera sales to photographers all over the country), as well as standard camera shop offerings; batteries, straps, filters, etc.

Another analog-specific gem that sets this lab apart is the selection of film for sale. While they surely carry your standard Kodak, Ilford, et al, Central Camera can help you track down rare, hard to find, film formats and special order them for you.

For more information on Chicago’s oldest camera store, check out Central Camera.

UPDATE: Central Camera was damaged severely by fire and looting during protests in the summer of 2020. The owner has remained positive as they worked to reopen the store. Read more about the incident here.

Where to Develop Film in Chicago in 2022. (5)

J&S Photo Service

Location: 660 W Grand Ave UNIT 1W, Chicago, IL 60654

Large format film shooters rejoice; there are very few labs in the Chicago area that develop sheet film, and one of those labs is J&S Photo Service.

35mm, 120, and large format film are accepted whether it is color, black and white, or E-6 color positive film.

Don’t expect much else besides some basic printing options; J&S Photo Service is the definition of “no-frills”. That said, sometimes it’s nice to just drop off a roll of film without the temptation of shiny new toys.

For a full list of services and accompanying prices, you can check out J&S Photo Service.

Where to Develop Film in Chicago in 2022. (6)

CSW Film Systems

Location: 215 N Des Plaines St, Chicago, IL 60661

Loved by locals, CSW Film Systems is consistently praised for their high quality work, low prices, and quick turnaround time. What else could you ask for?

Film processing services cover 35mm and medium format film, whether you are shooting C-41 color or E-6 slide film. Black and white film is accepted, but you should know that it will be sent out to another lab for developing.

The general consensus seems to be that there isn’t anywhere in Chicago that’ll get your film back to you faster, for cheaper than CSW.

Heads up: they don’t offer scanning services, so you’ll have to either take your negatives elsewhere or do it yourself.

If you don’t have a scanner of your own, we’d recommend checking out Latitude, an awesome nonprofit that offers scanning services, as well as rentals for their high-end lab, outfitted with top of the line scanners.

As of writing, CSW doesn’t have a functioning website, but they are listed on Google Maps and Yelp.

Gamma Imaging

Location: 222 N Des Plaines St, Chicago, IL 60661

Quite literally a hop and a skip (and maybe a few extra steps) away from CSW is another place to develop film in Chicago.

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Gamma Imaging develops 35mm, 120, and large format film, both C-41 color and E-6 slide film. You’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re a black and white shooter.

The main focus of the business is commercial printing needs, but we appreciate that they still offer darkroom services. Because of the type of work that they handle, Gamma Imaging is equipped to produce extremely high resolution scans, if you ever need that service.

To see the type of work that they do, you can visit Gamma Imaging.

Chicago Community Darkroom

Location: 1130 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

During the analog photography revival that’s been building over the last few years, we’ve loved to see the emergence of community-focussed, non-profit darkrooms in most major cities.

Unsurprisingly, this includes the Windy City, where Chicago Community Darkroom has been operating since 2011.

Granted, this spot is for a very specific type of photographer; the darkroom is for developing and printing of black and white film only, and you must know how to do it yourself.

While there are, of course, workshops and orientation sessions to turn you into a confident connoisseur of the darkroom, not everyone is interested in learning how to develop their film, and not everyone likes to shoot black and white.

Monthly memberships are offered to those interested in using the facilities, which includes 24 hour access, and there is no commitment beyond the month you pay for.

You can find more information at Chicago Community Darkroom.

Where to Develop Film in Chicago in 2022. (7)

Where to Develop Film in the Chicago Area

You’ve still got options if you’re located outside of central Chicago. Even if you’re not, you may be interested in a short trip to one of these labs to get your film developed.

PJ’s Camera & Photo Supply

Location: Trader Joe’s Plaza, Pickwick Place, 662 Roosevelt Road, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

True to the name, PJ’s supplies cameras and just about anything else you need to make photos. They’ve been in business since 1975 and film processing is one offering they’ve maintained to this day.

35mm and 120 can both be developed at PJ’s. C-41 color, black and white, E-6 slide film and even APS film are processed in house.

Standard photo lab services including prints, restoration, video transfer, etc. You can also check out the selection of used film cameras as well as darkroom supplies.

If you’d like to learn more, check out PJ’s Camera & Photo Supply.

Quality Plus Photo Services

Location: 12240 S Harlem Ave, Palos Heights, IL 60463

About 30 miles outside of Chicago is another photolab that you can visit to get your film developed. Quality Plus Photo is an unassuming spot that does a good job processing film.

35mm as well as 120 film can be developed, whether it is C-41 color, black and white, or even E-6 color reversal film.

If you’re looking to get prints of your photos, a photobook, or have any other photo/visual related needs, Quality Plus Photo will probably be able to help.

For more information, you can visit Quality Plus Photo Design Center.

V Lab

Location: 3740 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076

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While many people are attracted to black and white photography for the delicate, intentional care that goes into developing the photos, that doesn’t mean that everyone wants to do things themselves.

We’ve already mentioned the Chicago Community Darkroom, which is also a traditional black and white darkroom, but one that is for DIY developers. V Lab is a great option if you still want your film processed by hand in a traditional darkroom, but don’t want to sign up for a membership at the Community Darkroom.

V Lab develops any type of film, so long as it is black and white. For a small additional fee, you can choose which developer is used for your photos, still giving you the maximum control over your photos, even if you’re not the one in the darkroom.

On top of developing film, V Labs also offers traditional, RC darkroom prints, which are truly the most incredible way to see your photos.

More details can be found at V Lab.

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Map of the Best Places to Develop Film in Chicago

Where to Develop Film in Chicago in 2022. (11)

Anywhere Else?

Do you know any other places to develop film in Chicago? Any experience with any of the labs we listed? Let us know in the comments!


Does target still process film? ›

No, Target doesn't develop disposable cameras.

Does CVS develop film? ›

Film & Photo Developing

CVS Photo makes processing film simple. No matter what type of film requires developing, you can bring it to your local CVS Photo location for processing. Services include processing for 35mm film, disposable cameras, Advanced Photo System film, black and white film, 110 film and slide film.

Can you get film developed at Walgreens? ›

Print your favorite images from film, negatives or disposable camera with Film Roll Processing. Whether you've just returned from a tropical vacation and can't wait to relive the gorgeous sunsets, or just found that disposable camera from the wedding last summer, Walgreens Photo will bring your photos to life.

Can you get Kodak developed years later? ›

Yes. Old film doesn't go bad all at once – colors shift, contrast fades away, and fog builds up. Old film (~10+ years past the process date) will have faded, skewing towards magenta. In many cases, this is preferred and authentic to the time.

Does Walgreens still develop film 2022? ›

Yes, Walgreens does develop film. All stores with photo labs can develop 35mm film, but only selected stores develop 110 film, 127 film, black and white, negatives, APS (Advanced Photo System), and disposable cameras.

Is CVS or Walgreens faster for developing film? ›

Big-name drugstores like CVS and Walgreens still develop film, but the days of 1-hour photo processing are long gone. Today, nearly all the big box stores send the film to third-party labs, with turnaround time ranging from three to five days at Walgreens and two to three weeks at CVS.

Do drug stores develop film? ›

CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart still develop film at most locations. While these chains do offer film developing services, they send your film to another location for processing, which means turnaround time is usually around a week.

Can Walmart develop my film? ›

Yes, Walmart develops film, but it may take longer than it used to. Walmart stores with third-party photo labs can develop 35mm film, APS, 110, disk, 126 color print film, and disposable cameras. In addition to traditional film developing services, Walmart also offers several digital photo processing services.

Does Costco still develop film? ›

No. Costco no longer offers developing services for any kind of film. If you have 35mm film that is already developed, you can use the Costco Photo Center to have your negatives digitized.

How long does it take to develop film at CVS? ›

How Long Does CVS Take to Develop Films? It takes 7-10 business days from the day of drop-off to develop 35mm film and disposable camera prints, while Advanced Photo System film, black and white film, 110 film, slide film, and negatives take around three weeks to be ready for pickup.

Does Walgreens still develop 35mm? ›

Film Developing, Negatives, and Disposable Cameras - Options and Pricing. All Walgreens stores with a photo lab can accept your 35mm film. Select stores with a photo lab can also accept APS (Advanced Photo System), 110 film, 127 film, negatives, or a disposable/single-use camera.

Where does CVS get their film developed? ›

– CVS sends out the film to be processed at their district photo lab.

How long will undeveloped film last? ›

Most negative and movie films have an expiration date. This is typically about two years after the month of manufacture, which is actually a “best if used by” date. The older the film, the more unpredictable it will be in terms of quality. Another crucial factor that determines the outcome is how film is stored.

Can you develop a 20 year old disposable camera? ›

The short and simple answer is yes, you can still develop them!

How long will 35mm film last? ›

Much like food, film has an expiry date. Thankfully, it doesn't go mouldy like a block of cheese or curdle like milk! But it does have a limited shelf life. A roll of film usually has an expiration date of two years after the date of manufacture.

Does Costco develop film 2022? ›

We certainly do! We've partnered with YesVideo to convert your old videotapes, film reels, slides and photographs into DVD or digital formats.

Can you get film developed now? ›

No matter where you live, including internationally, film processing is still possible. Digital scans of negatives are the most common output, but some film labs also make darkroom prints of various sizes.

How much is it to get a roll of film developed at Walgreens? ›

They charged $16 for my roll of film and it included a CD of my photos and printed photos, but I didn't get my negatives back like i wanted. Here are some of the photos I developed with Walgreens.

How much does it cost to develop 1 roll of film? ›

Don't worry too much about cost. The stores and services listed here charge between $5 and $11 to process one roll of 35mm film. Other film formats like 120 and 220 may cost a bit more, while the fees for push and pull processing are usually charged as an extra percentage of your developing costs.

Where is the cheapest place to develop a disposable camera? ›

Where Can I get My Disposable Camera Developed Near Me?
StoreWebsitePrice per Camera
18 May 2021

Where should I develop my film? ›

10 Mail-in Film Labs for Reliable Processing and Scanning, Recommended by Professional Photographers
  • State Film Lab. IG: @statefilm | Recommended by Forrest Mankins. ...
  • Richard Film Lab. IG: @richardphotolab | Recommended by Megan Hand. ...
  • The Darkroom. ...
  • Indie Film Lab. ...
  • Negative Lab. ...
  • theFINDlab. ...
  • Darkslide Film Lab. ...
  • Reformed Film Lab.
18 Jul 2022

Where is the cheapest place to get old film developed? ›

PROS – Because most towns has a local Walmart, they're convenient to use for prints and film developing. Walmart has one of the lowest prices for developing film, about $7.49 for a 12 exposure roll, images on a CD and a single set of prints.

Does Shutterfly develop 35mm film? ›

Enhancing your photos with Shutterfly's new effects and borders. Sending 35mm-quality prints and enlargements to family and friends all around the world with a single click.

Does CVS look at your pictures? ›

Does CVS look at your pictures? We take the privacy of your photos seriously. Images uploaded to our server for printing are not viewed by CVS. Only the photo technician in charge of printing and packaging your order will see the images.

Can you still buy 35mm film and get it developed? ›

Yes, 35mm can still be developed- through magical chemical processes using processing machines, or in some cases by hand in developing tanks we can still enjoy the thrills of film photography! You need to find a photo lab or business that offers 'film developing' or 'film processing' with the option of 35mm film.

Can 20 year old 35mm film be developed? ›

Yes, old film can still be developed. I personally processed some color 35mm roll film a couple of years ago that I found in a camera that was given to me. Now, you have to remember that age is bad for film so the results were less than acceptable. Film that has expired will also give you less than good results.

Is it better to over or under develop film? ›

A correctly developed film will produce negatives with plenty of tonal range and punchy prints. An overdeveloped film produces rich black negatives that print with too much contrast and increased grain.

What happens if you dont develop film? ›

WHAT HAPPENS TO EXPIRED FILM? Film doesn't go bad all at once – it will start to become foggy, contrast will fade, and colors will start to shift. When I say colors start to shift, think of a red hue starting to take over what once was black.

How do you develop a disposable camera 2022? ›

Take the entire camera into a lab or a store to get your film developed. Depending on where you live, you might find multiple options like pharmacies and supermarkets. If you live in the US, you can go to Walgreens, Walmart, or CVS.

How long can you leave a disposable camera undeveloped? ›

Typically, a film lasts for around two to three years after its manufacture date. However, you can use it for around five to six years if you properly store it away from humidity and heat. Your disposable device integrates a battery when it produces a flash.

Do film cameras expire? ›

Yes, disposable cameras using film expire. Film is perishable which is why it has always had expiration dates printed on the packaging. Disposable cameras loaded with film will have an expiration date printed on them.

Should I keep my 35mm film in the fridge? ›

Storing it in the fridge will preserve the film for a lot longer than if it was left at room temperature. Saving your film for a date longer than 6 months away? Consider using the freezer to preserve your film for longer. Don't use your film immediately after taking it out of the fridge or freezer.

Should 35mm film keep in fridge? ›

It is not necessary to store films in the fridge, as long as where you're storing them is of a cool enough temperature. However some people prefer to, and feel it keeps their films fresher for longer.

How do I keep my film from expiring? ›

In general, manufacturers recommend storing your emulsion at 8°C /46°F or lower. The lower temperature will slow down film degradation, and the dry atmosphere in the fridge will protect film from humidity. That being said, refrigeration will not be able to reduce the effect of gamma radiation.

Can you legally film in target? ›

There is no such law. However, stores are private property. You have no legal right to take photographs of anything, including price tags, while you're on private property if the property owner says so.

Does Walmart develop film 2022? ›

Short answer: Yes, Walmart offers film development services and disposable camera development. You just have to drop off your film at the photo center dropbox, and they'll take care of the rest.

Can u get photos developed at Target? ›


Target Photo is great for all your printing services providing premium quality photo printing that captures images to be displayed in creative ways. Target Photo provides professional quality photo prints from wallet size prints to 30" x 40" photo prints.

Does Walmart let you film? ›

Out of respect for our associates and customers, unauthorized filming is prohibited and we reserve the right to enforce that policy. Are you satisfied with this answer?

Can I film in a public area? ›

Freedom to photograph and film

Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel.

Can you film in public locations? ›

Generally speaking, though, when you are in public, it is legal to record someone, video record or audio record, as long as they don't have what is called, “an expectation of privacy,” or rather a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Does Costco develop film anymore? ›

No. Costco no longer offers developing services for any kind of film. If you have 35mm film that is already developed, you can use the Costco Photo Center to have your negatives digitized.

What companies still develop film? ›

10 Mail-in Film Labs for Reliable Processing and Scanning, Recommended by Professional Photographers
  • State Film Lab. IG: @statefilm | Recommended by Forrest Mankins. ...
  • Richard Film Lab. IG: @richardphotolab | Recommended by Megan Hand. ...
  • The Darkroom. ...
  • Indie Film Lab. ...
  • Negative Lab. ...
  • theFINDlab. ...
  • Darkslide Film Lab. ...
  • Reformed Film Lab.
18 Jul 2022

Can I develop pics at Walmart? ›

All you have to do is select your photos, sizes, quantities and the best Walmart location for you. After that, head over to Walmart in an hour and grab your new glossy photo prints. Our Walmart photo app allows you the freedom to print photos whenever it's most convenient for you.

Can you get pictures developed at Michaels? ›

Order prints and photo creations with expert staff available for assistance.

What is the best place to develop photos? ›

The Best Online Photo Printing Services of 2022
  • Best Overall. Shutterfly.
  • Best Value. Amazon Photo.
  • Walmart Photo.
  • Snapfish.
  • CVS Photo.
13 Oct 2022


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