Two local film photographers are opening the first professional film lab in Birmingham in years, and we got a sneak peek! Keep reading to learn more about Jake Patrick and Jordan Higgins, the founders of Electra Film Lab—The Magic City’s only operating film lab.
Meet the team behind Electra Film Lab
Although film photography is not as widespread as it once was, there are still many photographers who enjoy the analog photography process. Just ask Jake Patrick and Jordan Higgins, two friends from Pinson who share a love for film photography.
“There are some real tangible benefits to film such as color depth and color gradation. But really, I just like the workflow. I like that every frame is a little bit more precious.”Jake Patrick, Co-owner, Electra Film Lab
“It’s a cliche at this point, but film really slows you down and forces you to think. With digital you can take 30 pictures in an instant, and maybe one of them is good. Film forces you to slow down and focus on being in the moment.Jordan Higgins, Co-owner, Electra Film Lab
Since there hasn’t been a proper film development lab in Birmingham for many years, Jake and Jordan are taking matters into their own hands.
“There isn’t a film lab in Birmingham, and it’s been frustrating to send our photos off to get developed since there is a long turnaround and it is pretty pricey. I’ve been developing my own film at home for a couple of years, so one day I came up to Jake and said, ‘Let’s start our own film lab.'”Jordan Higgins, Co-owner, Electra Film Lab
What you can expect at Electra Film Lab 🎞️
Developing your film with Electra Film Lab is simple, quick and easy.
Once you’ve finished your roll of film, you can drop it off in person or send it through the mail. Bonus: Electra Film Lab will have a dropbox on site, so you can drop off your film at any time.
From there, the Electra Film Lab team develops, scans and delivers your images via digital delivery. If you’d like to keep your negatives, you can pick them up in-store or have them mailed to you.
Electra Film Lab begins by offering both black and white film and C-41 development in the common 35mm format. C-41 is a chemical process used to develop most color films available today.
However, the Electra Film Lab team hopes to expand to additional chemical processes and film formats in the near future.
“We plan to add E-6 development, the process used to develop slide film, in the very near future. We’re working on sourcing those E-6 chemicals now. We can develop any format from 35mm to large format right now, but we are still looking for a scanner for medium format and larger.”Jordan Higgins, Co-owner, Electra Film Lab
In addition to film development and scanning, Electra Film Lab plans to offer other services and products to their customers.
“We’re planning to carry and sell film at some point in the near future. There’s really nowhere to buy film in person in Birmingham anymore, which can be frustrating for a film photographer.”Jordan Higgins, Co-owner, Electra Film Lab
Why shoot film?
If you’ve made it this far in the article, you likely already shoot film—or you’re interested in getting started. There are many reasons film photography has increased in popularity in recent years.
“Today, everything is all digital—instant gratification. I think people are wanting something tangible. I like physical media myself, and with film you have an actual physical representation of that moment, rather than a digital file.”Jordan Higgins, Co-owner, Electra Film Lab
“People our age, and especially people younger than us, have been swimming in digital technology their entire lives. I think a lot of people are wanting a break from that. In fact, I have a monthly conversation with a coworker about trading out our smartphones for flip phones. I think there’s a move to step back from technology, and I think shooting film resonates with a lot of people that feel that way.”Jake Patrick, Co-owner, Electra Film Lab
If shooting film is something that interests you, the Electra Film Lab team has the knowledge you need to get started.
“My advice is just get a camera and try. Just do it. You’re going to mess things up, but that’s how you learn. Film cameras have been going up in price due to the resurgence in popularity, but you can still find some good cameras at a decent price. Of course, we would be happy to answer any questions you have along the way.”Jordan Higgins, Co-owner, Electra Film Lab
Although they don’t have a firm opening date set, Electra Film Lab hopes to open and begin offering their services to Birmingham in the very near future. Follow them on Instagram @electrafilmlab to stay up to date!