Blank Rolls


“Why are there no images on my roll” or “I got a blank roll, why?”

Let’s face it, some rolls just don’t turn out. We often call these rolls “blank” as a catch-all term. In this post, we want to unpack why this happens and also name the different types of occurrences because they are not all alike. By naming the problem accurately, you can avoid repeating it again.

Blank Rolls

A blank roll is actually a roll that is completely clear, not even with faint images. It only shows the imprint from the manufacturer along the edge (such as, Kodak 400). Those markings get developed with the images and if you can see them then the film was properly developed. 

The most common reason for a roll of film to be blank is a loading mishap or simply bringing an unused roll of film to the lab for processing. We can help you load your camera in ways that will almost completely eliminate the chance of this happening. Check out our instructional blog post about how to load a camera. 

Underexposed Rolls

An underexposed roll is a negative that has very faint images that are not scannable or printable. Old timers referred to this as a “thin negative” and it means lack of light to the film either because of exposure, camera problem, or actually no light. Disposable cameras can often show results like this.

Fogged Rolls

A fogged roll is totally black, and even the film markings on the edge are black (this is true in color and black and white films, but the opposite is true in slide film). If the film is totally fogged edge to edge or close to it then the back door of the camera was open and the amount of light that came through fogged the film. A second or so of the back door being open can cause this much damage.

Look at the picture below to see what you have. The top shows a fogged roll. The middle is a blank b/w roll. And the bottom is a blank color roll.

Don’t let getting a blank roll back in your order discourage you though because I bet you that any film user you talk to has had a roll come out blank before. It is one of the risks we take when shooting film, but don’t let it stop you from taking more film photos.

Come into PhotoLounge and have us take a look at your camera or go over how to load your camera we are happy to help you. No appointment is necessary.

Visit our blog post to learn How to Load a Film Camera so you can avoid any more blank or fogged rolls of film!


← Previous post Next post →


  • Adan - March 14, 2024

    So if it’s totally blank. Like no imprint from the manufacturer, then it would be a processing error? Old chemicals? Something else? This has happened a coupe times over the years and has always left me wondering why.

Leave a comment