What the fuck is Cross Processing or XPro?

Cross processing (or XPro) is the procedure of deliberately processing photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. The effect was discovered independently by many different photographers often by mistake in the days of C-22 and E-4 . It has been used a lot for fashion advertising and band photography. In more recent years it has become more synonymous with the Lomography movement.

The most common form of cross processing is the E6 to C41.
Taking color slide film (a.k.a. reversal film or E6) and developing it in color negative (C41) chemicals.

Types of cross-processing

E6-C41: taking slide (colour reversal) film, and processing it in colour negative chemicals. This is the most common type of cross-processing. It usually results in increased contrast with strong colour casts.

C41-E6: taking colour negative film and developing in slide chemicals. This usually results in muted pastel colours with very little contrast. As a result you may want to ask your lab to push 2 or 3 stops to increase the contrast.

E6/C41-B&W: taking colour reversal or negative film and processing as black and white. This results in a black and white negative. As colour film is usually more expensive than B&W, you may want to only use this technique if you are out shooting colour and decide you’d rather have B&W.

Different films = Different results

The largest differences in the outcome of your cross processed photos have to do with the film you’re using. Each film has it’s own unique look, and they can vary drastically.
The most obvious difference is the color cast produced during development.

For the effects of different films check out our XPRO Film Chart.


Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, cross processing is a unique experience, so what works for me may not work the same for you. You are going to have to do some experimenting, but here are some tips for things to try:

– try some different types of film, and compare the characteristics of each
– try pushing or pulling your film
– try over or under exposing your film
– combine X-Pro with other techniques: multi-exposures, filters and flashes
– get a load of expired film to use in your X-Pro experiments
– and if you haven’t got an own then find a good photo lab!

Shops with less-experienced technicians will shy away from cross processing.
You’re better off finding somebody who knows their stuff.

If you wannna do it at home, you’ll need some processing knowledge, the proper chemicals and some equipment. Chemical kits in Europe available by Tetenal

XPro Resources

Gomma Crossprocessing Guide
Kodak Crossprocessing Publication

Crossprocessing on Wikipedia

Digital Cross Processing

That is how to do the XPro effect in Photoshop.
You can simulate all type of crossprocessing.

Don’t miss that crossprocessed-look is non-constant.
Don’t believe that the palish green look is the standard, how the tutorials say that.
XPro produces different colors, contrast and saturation depends on the crossing-type, on the film and the developing. It can be green, blue, red, pink, purple, yellow, their combinations or simply without color shift.

Now I tell you how to make that “general” greenish-blue look.

Use Curves Adjustment,
Raise the highlights and lower the shadows on the red and green channel, then do the opposite (lower the highlights and raise the shadows) on the blue channel.
You can fine tuning each channel’s curve for your taste.

This is most similar to the look of the Kodak Elitechrome 100/200 crossprocessings.

You have a bunch of opportunities, don’t stay here, experiment with the channels and curves.
You could try to adjust the inputs/outputs of the channels, or add an additional color-tint layer to your document. It’s also possible to combine digital crossprocessing with another techniques.


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