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I have been shooting some color films (portra 400) during this quarantine time and I have to wait before getting them processed as labs are closed. I have read many contradictory opinion on that matter all over the internet.

The first two weeks I stored them in my cupboard before putting them in the fridge. It will be approx. 6-8 weeks before I can get them processed.

I read that you must add 1 stop of overexposure per month of storage of exposed film or that after one week shadow are going to start losing details. I feel a bit stressed as I expect great results of these photos.

Does waiting 6-8 weeks before getting my films processed will affect visibly my photos ? Even if they are stored in the fridge ? Should I put them right now in the freezer ?

Thank you

  • Please return whenever you do have your films developed, to report the outcome. – osullic Apr 30 at 13:20
  • @osullic will sure do and maybe share some photos :) – John Math Apr 30 at 20:25
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    @osullic Everything went fine : i.redd.it/rto4xo933x251.jpg No alteration of the image or the colors – John Math Jun 4 at 21:09
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Here is a quote from the Kodak publication 'Storage and Care of KODAK Photographic Materials':

Once you have exposed your film, paper, or material, it is important to minimize changes in the latent (unprocessed) image. For consistent results, process the film, paper, or material promptly after exposure. This is particularly important with professional color films, because they are optimized for processing soon after exposure. Storage at a low temperature after exposure will retard latent-image changes. You can keep exposed, unprocessed film in a refrigerator for a few days when necessary. Put the film in a sealed container, and allow the unopened container to reach room temperature before removing the film for processing.

However, I believe that is written for really critical situations. My experience (e.g. travelling for 25 weeks with no attempt to cold-store my film) is that the latent image in film is safe for a long time, especially in your fridge. One stop push processing per month of storage (especially if stored in a fridge) is way overkill. People always overthink this, and speak about film like it has the shelf life of a dairy product or something. Don't stress about it. It's colour negative film - any (very) minor colour changes are not going to make any big difference. More than likely when you do get these films developed (without any push processing), you won't notice any difference whatsoever. I would just store the film in the fridge (in a ziplock bag to protect against moisture/condensation) and essentially forget about it until your lab opens again. Everything will be OK.

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  • thank you ! Feel less stressed. – John Math Apr 30 at 20:25
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Latent image shifting is not much of a problem provided we are not talking about several months. After exposure, rapid latent image shifting occurs in the first 48 hours and continues at a reduced pace until processed. To mitigate, place film in an air-tight container and place in the freezing compartment of your refrigerator. When ready to process, remove from the freezer and allow 4 to 6 hours for the film to come to room temperature before opening.

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