While taking pictures with your smartphone is convenient, the sheer fun and novelty of the pictures you take with disposable cameras is difficult to match.
Disposable cameras are pretty cheap to buy. But, buying them is only half the process, you’ll need to get them developed in order to see the photos you took.
So how much does it cost to develop a disposable camera and where to do it?
On average, it’ll cost about $15 to develop a disposable camera. You can easily develop your camera at convenience stores, but you might want to consider a few factors before you pick a service.
In this article, we’ll tell you the detailed cost of developing your disposable camera at each store and all the other different ways you can go about the process. Let’s dive in!
What’s a Disposable Camera and Why Use one?
Disposable cameras are cheap, compact, single-use alternatives to film cameras.
The resulting photos are incredibly unique without the need for expensive equipment. The images are bright, sharp, and saturated, making for gorgeous, vintage-looking photos.
Plus, they’re also incredibly easy to use. The disposable camera does all the work for you. All you have to do is point and shoot. So, you don’t need to control any focus, exposure, or flash controls.
Once you’ve taken all the pictures, you don’t even need to take out the film. In fact, this will completely ruin the film. Instead, you’ll just need to send the camera to the nearest photo lab for development.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Disposable Camera?
Developing a disposable camera might cost nearly as much as the camera itself!
That doesn’t mean it’s an expensive process. After all, these cameras are incredibly cheap, and the bulk of what you spend is on developing the photos, not the cameras themselves.
Most disposable cameras contain 24 to 27 exposures. This means that, on average, you’re looking to pay about $15 to develop your photos.
Where to Develop a Disposable Camera?
Generally, anyone that has developed a black-and-white film camera can develop a black-and-white disposable camera. The process isn’t any different than developing a regular film.
There are many locations where you can develop your disposable cameras. Yet, the simplest choice is to visit the nearest department store.
Alternatively, if you want your photos in the hands of professionals, you can choose online photo labs. Though, this might be an inconvenient option as it’ll take too long to get the photos back.
Let’s take a closer look at the options.
Walmart is undoubtedly popular when it comes to its great photo print service. It allows you to upload the pictures you want to print from the comfort of your home. Then, you can pick them up on the same day. So, naturally, their developing service is also great.
In most cases, developing your disposable camera film is the cheapest at Walmart since they offer unparalleled prices and services, even for double prints.
However, there are some drawbacks to choosing Walmart. For one, the turnaround time is quite long, meaning that you’ll need to wait a while before getting your pictures. Additionally, you won’t get the negatives!
Unlike their online photo prints, to develop your disposable camera, you’ll need to drop the film at their photo kiosk. If you don’t have a Walmart nearby, you can mail the camera to Walmart. Then, you’ll have to pick up the prints after 7 to 21 days.
Here is the cost of developing your disposable camera at Walmart:
All Walgreens stores have a photo lab that can develop your pictures for you. Mostly, they accept 35 mm film, which is the one found in disposable cameras.
Walgreens might seem pricier than Walmart. However, you can pick up your developed images after only three to five business days!
You’ll also get a free digital copy of your pictures. Yet, like Walmart, you won’t get to keep the negatives.
The price of developing depends on the number of exposures. Each additional 12 exposures cost $3.00 per set. The prices of the first set are as follows:
CVS is also one of the best places to develop your disposable camera and any 35 mm film. Even though not all locations have a photo processing option, CVS came up with a solution.
You can just bring your disposable camera to any local CVS/pharmacy, and they’ll send it to their photo location. Then, you’ll be able to pick it up in around 7 to 10 days. Unfortunately, CVS also doesn’t return any film negatives.
When it comes to pricing, CVS is slightly more on the expensive side. Here are the prices for developing your disposable camera:
There are many online photo-developing services for you to choose from. Though, these might not be as convenient since you’ll have to wait and pay for shipping yourself.
On the other hand, most online photo labs are incredibly professional. For example, the Darkroom’s prices start at $15, and they return the negatives to you!
Other online services that can develop your disposable camera include Process One, Shutter Junkies, and Richard Photo Lab.
How to Develop a Disposable Camera at Home
What makes the process of using disposable cameras so easy is that the photo kiosk will develop them for you, and you won’t have to bother taking out the film.
Still, there are some instances where you might want to develop your disposable camera at home. Plus, since these cameras are cheap, you can definitely use them to practice your photo-developing skills.
If you’ve worked with film before, you probably already have a darkroom. In that case, you should just develop the disposable cameras as you normally would.
Note: I would only recommend developing a black-and-white disposable camera at home as the process for developing color film is much more complicated.
Here’s how to develop a black-and-white disposable camera at home:
- You’ll start by preparing the developing solvent, the fixer, and the stop bath so that they’re immediately ready to use.
- Remove the film from the disposable camera away from any light source.
- Load the film into the developing spool. Make sure you’re only touching the edges of the film.
- Add the film into the developing tank, then add the developer and wait for the amount of time instructed on the bottle while shaking every 10 seconds.
- Remove the developing solvent, then add the stop bath and wait for a few minutes.
- Remove the stop bath and add the fixer solution and wait as instructed.
- Remove the fixer and rinse the film a few times with distilled water.
- Let the film dry for at least three hours.
- Now, you have the negative ready to be printed or scanned.
So, how much does it cost to develop a disposable camera, and where do it?
Typically, it costs around $15 to develop 24 exposures, depending on where you do it. You can develop your disposable cameras at many stores around you, including Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS.
Additionally, some online services can develop your disposables, like Darkroom, Shutter Junkies, and Photo Lab. You can even do it at home if you have the right equipment and skills!