I am a complete beginner film photographer. I just sent my 35mm film to be developed and only 1 picture was returned to me. Whilst I am a beginner, the camera is half automatic and a green light showed for some photos. So I know I didn’t completely mess them all up. So I’m confused to why they didn’t develop. Is this a problem with the camera?? Or me?

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    \$\begingroup\$ How do the negatives look like? If you did not get the negatives in return, then consider this the first lesson, to never use the that service again. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 7, 2021 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Re, "is this a problem with the camera? or me?" You have not provided enough information for anybody to answer that question. A good first step toward improving your question would be to tell us the make and model of the camera. Maybe somebody here is familiar with it and could suggest some things to try. Likewise, what kind of film? Where did you get it? How old is it?You also could say something about what steps you have taken to learn about film photography in general and, how to use your camera in particular. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 7, 2021 at 15:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello! Did you ask your developing service yet and asked whether they received all photos or if there was a problem? \$\endgroup\$
    – jng224
    Jan 7, 2021 at 16:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Following @KaiMattern question...if you did get the negs back, are they completely clear or is there something there? Or maybe completely opaque? Do the edges look uniform and can you see the frame numbers? Where was this one shot in the roll - first, middle, last? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Jan 7, 2021 at 21:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I second the previous commenters. One more thing... just on a teminology point, which is always important when trying to fix something... you said that only 1 exposure was "developed". I am sure they were all developed. You just received 1 picture back. By the way, did you receive one single print? Or was it one single digital scan that you got back? (In my experience, they won't print photos that are just entirely black. So really you are trying to figure out why the photos were not actually exposed - could be an unremoved lens cap, incorrectly loaded film, or malfunctioning old camera.) \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Jan 8, 2021 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


First. Every time you send something to be developed ask for the full film to be returned, even if all of it is messed up.

This will help you diagnose what is happening.

If you have all the film and you only have 1 print, you need to analyze the negatives.

Here is an example on a light leak on the film: These SLR developed photos are bad. Is it mine or the photolab's fault?

  • Is it actually exposed?
  • Could it be that the film got stuck?
  • Is the camera actually working? Probably the curtain never opened.

It is a bit difficult to know without having the film, but you can see if the camera is working using it with the back door open. You should see the courtain actually opening and the film gears actually rolling.


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