Recently I saw expired film photos and I liked them a lot. I've been shooting on film for a year and a half now and I feel like trying new things.

I want to try this thing myself, but before I do, I have a question:

Can I accelerate a film's expiration date? I already have one brand-new (color) film roll at home and before buying an expired one I'd like to know if I can do something by myself.


  • \$\begingroup\$ By accelerate a film's expiration date; do you mean, make it take on the qualities of old film that as degraded from age ? Maybe heat, but for how long and how hot? Buy old expired film on Ebay. Try Lomography they have all kinds of films to replicate less than perfect looks - shop.lomography.com/en/films \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Nov 14, 2020 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlaskaMan yeah, make it have the same qualities of an old fim that has degraded, but if possible, without buying a new film roll \$\endgroup\$
    – spund3
    Nov 14, 2020 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Put the film in the trunk of your car and leave it there all summer, possibly longer. ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Nov 15, 2020 at 18:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just happen to have some film 10 years past its date in a cupboard. How much are you willing to pay for it? :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter M
    Nov 15, 2020 at 22:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that only the best images made with expired film are likely to show up online. When one comes out a mushy mess it doesn’t make Instagram. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 16, 2020 at 6:24

1 Answer 1


Film photography is imaging via a chemical reaction to light. The chief ingredient that does this trick is salts of silver. These are chemical compounds that darken when exposed to light. In the camera, we briefly expose the film to an image of the outside world, cast by the lens. This speedy exposure is insufficient to darken the film however we can treat the film with a chemical bath called a developer. This fluid takes over and finishes the job of creating a photographic image.

Photo film is a perishable. Over time, the silver salts change and become developable. Film ageing is a gradual process. Given time, all of the silver salts on the film will blacken when treated with developer. We say the film was “fogged”. Just how “fogged”, is function of time and storage conditions. This action is accelerated by heat, humidity, background radiation, and the like. You can purchase outdated film but the degree of harm is unpredictable until developed.

Now for the advice: The negative/positive film process is a two-step technique. We take the picture using a negative film. All the objects on this film are inverted as to their degree of blackening. Further, this negative image is virtually useless unless printed (forming a positive image suitable for viewing).

An opportunity for artistic alteration: You can easily manipulate this process and make images that simulate the aged look to desire. This will prove to be more satisfactory because you can control the results. All you need will be the skills needed to adjust the final image, I strongly suggest that this method is the best path for you. In other words, fresh materials and extermination to get the look and feel that is your goal.


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