Ten Reasons to Love Cross Processed Film


First of all, film is great. You guys are probably going to get sick of hearing about film from me over the next couple of months — I just bought two more film cameras (yes, both are Minoltas) and a gob of film to run through them.

I'm fairly new to film, but I'm already starting to set a few personal preferences. I've shot two rolls of color film: one roll of Ektachrome cross processed and one roll of Velvia not cross processed. I should've cross processed the Velvia too.

Don't get me wrong, standard color film photos have their place and I'm not knocking them. But for my own artistic preferences, I find the cross processed photos to be more interesting and captivating. Here are some reasons why I love cross processed film — and I'm not talking about the Photoshop Cross Processing Technique — this is the real deal!


Combine cross processing with the quirks and character of an old camera and glass, and you've got a winning combination. These photos can have such a classic look to them, often appearing as if they came from a different era altogether.

kim cathers
Creative Commons License photo credit: kk+


Cross processing tends to darken the shadows of some photos while really pushing the saturation up. This results in a very rich image with deep shadows approaching pure black. A great way to add a dark mood to your photo.

Aiming high
Creative Commons License photo credit: bricolage.108


Colors become brighter and bolder than usual when cross processed. Blues, greens, and yellows tend to stand out the most. Additional color casts can also produce wild and unnatural results.

One sign fits all
Creative Commons License photo credit: neil-san


Not all cross processed photos have massive color shifts, huge amounts of contrast, or extreme colors. Sometimes they turn out very subtle. That's the fun of cross processing — you never know exactly what you're going to get.

Creative Commons License photo credit: auer1816


On the other hand, some cross processed photos turn out with extremely heavy color shifts and very obvious tints. Some even appear to be duotone in nature.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mentitore


The green shift is very common, and it's a classic cross processed look.

Hell's Angel
photo credit: Chick Dastardly


Blues are also pretty typical, giving a slightly different feel to the photo. Blues and greens can often be found together.

Calcio malato
Creative Commons License photo credit: boskizzi

8: RED

Reds are less typical, but can be produced by using the right films and chemicals. Magentas also usually tag along with the reds.

west pier sunrise
Creative Commons License photo credit: slimmer_jimmer


I see even fewer yellows than reds, but the effect can be brilliant.

Creative Commons License photo credit: johnnyalive


The coolest thing about cross processed film is that you can take a photo of something fairly ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. The new textures, colors, and contrasts bring a whole different view to the image.

Creative Commons License photo credit: bullish1974

So seriously, if you're like me and you start shooting film after digital, grab a few rolls of different color films and have them cross processed. You're not likely to be let down by the results!