Shooting a roll of film is one thing, but getting it processed is another. And let's face it, we need both sides of the equation. So I want to start a conversation here about options for photo finishing and share where I'm getting my rolls souped.
I'm lucky. I have a photography shop near my studio that caters to film photographers. Jeremiah's photocorner receives my film, and it's picked up there every Thursday by a lab in San Francisco called Light Waves Photo Imaging. Light Waves is a favorite among San Francisco photographers, and for good reason. They know their stuff.
The good news is, they also run a mail order business for their services. So if you're on the west coast, it makes reasonable sense to take a look at their site. All of the film images by me on theAnalogstory were processed and scanned by Light Waves. I receive the negatives and a CD (yes, a CD!) with the scans on them. Those files are imported into Capture One Pro for cataloging and metadata. I rarely apple image editing to my film shots.
So what about you? Here's what I propose. I would start by researching any local establishments that might help you with processing. In part I suggest this because not only do I want to see a resurgence in film photography, I want the local camera shop to come back too. I could send my film directly to Light Waves. But I choose to go through Jeremiah's because that way I'm supporting two businesses at once. And I love the personal experience at my local shop.
If you don't have a local store, then you're probably looking at a mail order service. I know that some outfits, such as Photoworks SF will process your film and post the scans online to a private gallery for you to view. This shortens the time you have to wait to see your images. I'm going to be testing Photoworks SF this coming weekend for the SF Street Photography Workshop. I'm using them because they will process on Saturday. I'll file a report once I return from the event.
My suggestion is that we start building a list of trusted photo finishers. If you have a favorite that you've tested, and liked, post them in the comments. I'll build a page that lists the finishers who are trusted by our community. With any luck, we'll have something for everyone before too long.