Mail In Film Developing Common Questions

Our Lab
Photograph of mail worker walking down a street in Philadelphia

Photograph by Student Ambassador Emma Hahn

Finding a film developing lab near you can be hard which is why so many film labs offer mail in film developing and now that includes PhotoLounge! We make it super easy for customers that are across the county or just outside of Philly to mail us their film. Though we know that a lot of film users have questions about mailing their film such as, is it safe, is it reliable, does it cost more? As a way to ease everyone's worries or doubts about mail in film developing we have answered some of your questions below. 

Is it safe to put film through the mail?

Yes it is! The metal canisters your film is rolled up in is light safe so you don’t have to worry about your film being exposed to light. When you mail us your film using our pre-paid shipping label you are also able to track the package through USPS.

How to package it so it doesn't get damaged?

When possible, place your film in the plastic canisters that come with the film, if you still have them. They will protect your film even more as they are crush proof and liquid tight. Disposable cameras don’t require any additional padding.

Should I use a box or envelope?

Either is fine, but please consider the environment and try to not use excessive packaging material. Unless you are sending many rolls of film, do make sure your package is no larger than the size of a piece of 8.5”x11” piece of paper. If you use a box, keep it very small. If you use an envelope, make sure the envelope is taped well so it won’t rip or use a tear proof envelope.

Will I get negatives back?

Yes, we will send you your negatives back if you ask for them to be shipped back in the order form. We will also ship back prints of the scans if you choose to order prints. Scans of your images will be shared via a link to Dropbox sent to your email.

Does it cost extra?

No! Shipping your film to us does not cost you extra at all when you print our pre-paid shipping label. A link to make the label will be sent to you in the confirmation email once you order film processing.

How long does it take for mail in film to be processed?

The prepaid shipping label gives you First Class Package status which takes 1-3 business days to arrive. Once your film arrives in our lab, we will update you by email. If your color film comes to us before 3pm during the week you will receive the scans the following evening. If it arrives after 3pm scans will be sent to you a day later. Black and white film takes longer for us to process so once it arrives you can expect to get the scans a week later.

Who do I ship it through?

Our prepaid shipping label goes through USPS so once you package your film you can drop it off at your nearest mailbox. If you rather ship your film through another shipper at your expense please mail it to the address below:

3rd Floor
130 South 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

If you need help figuring out how to place a mail in order through PhotoLounge visit our Film Processing by Mail blog post. Or if you still have questions about mail in film processing feel free to email us at

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  • Shammy Peterson - September 25, 2023

    I found it helpful when you said that you can protect your film when you place it on plastic canisters that come with the film. Many film photographers will find this tip helpful in order to keep their outputs protected from getting damaged due to different elements. I could imagine how they could partner up with a film photography service that offers affordable services to help them have their outputs properly developed.

  • Ted Settle - May 30, 2023

    I have many rolls of unexposed 35 mm film and want to mail them to a family member. Whats the best way to do this to make sure the film does not get exposed?

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