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How To Pack Your Film

As you can imagine we get quite a bit of mail coming through our doors (in fact we may or may not be best friends with our local postman). And during the five years that Carmencita Film Lab has had its doors open we have seen a lot of wrong ways to mail film to your local lab. So we thought we would put together a post on the do’s and don’ts of preparing, packaging, and sending your film off to your lab. So here goes!


  • First off, fill out the Order FormThis step is crucial for us in order to know who sent it, what was sent, what your scan preferences are, and any and all comments you may have about your project (seriously, lay it all out, we want to hear it = )


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  • Secondly, we highly recommend placing those precious film rolls in a resealable bag. The reason for this is your film will more than likely be subjected to a variety of weather elements. This can include rain and snow, so to eliminate the possibility of your film rolls getting wet or from getting sand in them we recommend taking a moment to place them in a plastic resealable bag to provide extra protection for the journey that is to come.


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  • Thirdly, we recommend protecting your film with some bubble wrap. For those who want a more eco-friendly option, old newspapers or plastic bags (like those found at your local grocery store) will also suffice. This ensures that if our local friendly postman plays a little game of soccer with your package, it will arrive safe and sound, cushioned by the protective elements you placed inside.


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  • Fourthly, boxes are your new best friend. Get rid of those flimsy paper envelopes! They will not hold up or provide much protection when tossed around or sat on or who knows what. Don’t take the risk. Place your precious film goods in a box to eliminate the possibility of us having to make that dreaded call to you to let you know that a roll or two arrived in a not-so-good condition and …sigh… it looks like you now have light leaks on your rolls. We hate making those calls, so please, put them in a box.


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  • Fifthly, when paying for shipment, pay for tracking. Yes, this does cost a few extra euros/bucks but the peace of mind is worth it (also if anything should happen, it’s much easier to track down). Also, while on the subject of shipping, we recommend checking out the deal DHL offers through our partnership :). Not only can you book your pick-up from your home, but it will only take 24 hours for your film to journey from your home door to our lab door (within the EU). Outside the EU, shipping might take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours to get to us, but it’s equally as safe!


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  • Lastly, in our experience of successfully running a film lab, we have found that chocolate, candy, and sweets add an extra layer of protection to your packages. We haven’t quite figured out how and why that is, we just know that it is. So we encourage you to throw in your favourite candy for the sake of your film. As Charles Schluz said “All I really need is love, but a little candy now and then doesn’t hurt.” And we certainly agree with that.


Other things to know about shipping film:


We truly and sincerely encourage you to use the comment section on your order form to convey any pertinent information regarding the rolls you’ve sent us. We sometimes find that the comment section is underutilized and so we want to take a moment to express to you that we have that comment section there for a reason, and that reason is for you to tell us anything you would like about your film rolls! There is never too much information* when it comes to understanding how you shot those rolls or how you would like them processed.


Additionally, it is totally fine to add more than one project in your package. Do you have three separate family sessions you want to send us? Maybe you’re sending us some rolls from two separate trips you’ve taken? Feel free to put it all in the same box! You can put one project all in the same resealable bag with the relevant order form inside, and then put your second project in another resealable bag with the relevant order inside. Place both projects in your box with some padding and send it off! We’ll handle the rest!


While most packages are x-rayed during the shipping process we’ve never had any problems with them. The x-rays that are used for shipping have a lower intensity than the ones used on planes. However if you want to be on the safe side, Kodak has handy-dandy downloadable “Do Not X-ray” labels you can print out and place on the outside of your box. This will let the postal worker know that there is magic inside that should be handled with care during the shipping process.

Do Not Xray Label


The whole X-ray topic could cover an entire post by itself, so to sum it up, your film is specially vulnerable when it is underexposed since the emulsion is not as dense and the flaws of the film can appear, there is several effects that derive from X-ray, and we’ve only seen them on packages that have traveled on the check-in bag of an airplane, there’s an article from Kodak that sums it up quite well**, but be ready to enter the internet from the 90’s when you open the link.


We know that it can be stressful letting your film rolls leave the safety of your hands. But, hopefully with these tips, we’ve given you a little more peace of mind and a little more confidence in sending off those precious rolls to our lab so that we can bring to life those memorable moments contained inside!


Still got questions? We’d love to answer them!

* we once received a letter attached to the order form that was 3 pages long, and yes that was a little too much information.

** the Kodak article focuses a bit more on slide film which is even more sensitive to X-ray damage than color negative film, but the artifacts are similar.


Contax645 KodakPortra400 CarmencitaFilmLab PashaLutov


Traveling Light 2017 · 2 spots giveaway!


You’ve probably heard about Traveling Light, the film photography gathering that is being held in the surroundings of northern Barcelona, at the heart of Costa Brava. We feel really close to the project in many ways as we have always wanted to connect photographers and make film photography go further. That’s why we created the Carmencita Meets, and the experience has been so positive through the last 3 years that our founders wanted to take it a step further, and not limit the experience to 15 people but rather to 150 photographers 🙂



10 Conferences & 8 Workshops

So, what’s it gonna be about? There’s 10 Conferences from different photographers that move in various fields, the 1st day it’s going to be orientated towards editorial work & business, and the 2nd day will be focused on photography itself and the relationship with film. The schedule has recently been launched and you can see all the details!

It’s gonna be a very unique chance to learn and network inside the film community because there has never been this many film photographers under one roof in Europe or elsewhere. Traveling Light is meant for you to take a break during the after-season, away from the big city life and create a space to connect and share without fears. Some of the speakers will also host an optional full day workshop during Saturday 4th, some of them are already sold out but if you are interested make sure to check it out since many of the speakers do no offer workshops regularly. Oh and all of this by the side of the mediterranean catalan coast.


Spot giveaway!

Interested? Wanna be part of it? Now is your chance. We’ve partnered up with Traveling Light to giveaway 2 spots for free among all the people that are interested in the Facebook event! How it will work:

  • Mark “Interested” in the Traveling Light 2017 Facebook Event
  • On the 12th of July we will randomly pick 2 names from the list of those interested
  • The first 2 names to pop up will own a Traveling Ticket 2017 worth 295€*

Easy? We think so! Also we will be there to meet and greet the winners. Probably not all the Carmencita family (since there’s 30 of us nowadays) but for sure a good bunch of us!


*If for some reason either of the winners won’t be able to attend we will pick another name randomly from the list.


We are lucky enough to be working side by side with some the big names in the European film photography scene nowadays, and we are even luckier to be able to call them friends. We believe they are great photographers not only by the images they create but also by how they push film photography further and make it available to other photographers, how they shaped the industry in the last years and how using traditional techniques they’ve been able to set themselves at the top of their game.

We feel it’s a very exciting time to be a photographer nowadays and there are hundreds of interesting people that choose to express themselves behind a camera and make us see the world in a new way. We love them and we want to add our grain of sand in this community of analog dreamers : )

All the info at:


See you there!