As a photographer, you may have heard the term “push processing” before.

But what does it mean, and how can it benefit your photography?

In this article, we will explore the concept of push processing, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to do it effectively.

What is Push Processing?

Push processing is a technique used in film photography to increase the effective film sensitivity.

It involves developing the film for a longer time than recommended by the manufacturer.

For example, if you have a roll of ISO 400 film, you can “push” it to ISO 800 or even higher by developing it for an additional amount of time.

This technique is often used in low-light situations where a higher ISO is needed for proper exposure.

By pushing the film, you can achieve a faster shutter speed or a smaller aperture, which can be crucial in capturing the desired image.

Advantages of Push Processing

One of the main advantages of push processing is that it allows you to shoot in low-light situations without having to use a flash or a tripod.

This can be particularly useful in situations where you need to capture a moment quickly, such as in street photography, concerts, or sports events.

Push processing also allows you to achieve a certain look or style in your images.

The increased film sensitivity can result in a grainier, more contrasty image, which can be desirable for certain types of photography, such as black and white street photography or portraits.

Disadvantages of Push Processing

While push processing can be a useful technique, it also has its drawbacks.

One of the main disadvantages is that it can result in increased grain and loss of detail in the shadows and highlights.


This can be particularly noticeable in color film, where the colors may become more muted or distorted.

Another disadvantage of push processing is that it can be unpredictable.

The amount of extra development time needed to achieve the desired ISO will depend on a variety of factors, such as the type of film, the developer used, and the temperature of the chemicals.

This means that you may need to experiment with different times and methods to achieve the desired results.

How to Push Process Film

If you are interested in trying push processing, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Firstly, you will need to choose the right film for the job.

Some films are better suited for push processing than others, and it’s important to do your research before you start.

Once you have your film, you will need to decide how much to push it.

As mentioned earlier, this will depend on a variety of factors, such as the lighting conditions and the desired effect.

A good starting point is to add one stop of exposure for every stop of push.

For example, if you are shooting with ISO 400 film and want to push it to ISO 800, you would need to overexpose by one stop.

When it comes to developing the film, you will need to use a developer that is suitable for push processing.

Some developers are specifically designed for this purpose, while others may require special techniques or adjustments.

It’s important to follow the instructions carefully and to keep track of the extra development time needed.

Push Processing In Photography – Wrapping Up

Push processing can be a useful technique for film photographers who want to achieve a certain look or shoot in low-light situations.

While it has its advantages, it also has its drawbacks, and it’s important to do your research and experiment before trying it out.


If done correctly, push processing can result in some stunning images that capture the mood and atmosphere of a particular moment.