In a traditional photographic lab cross processing (xpro) is the practice of purposefully processing film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. As particular chemical solutions are optimized for specific kinds of film, you will get unpredictable and interesting results when they’re combined differently.
Generally color cross processed photographs are characterized by unnatural colors and high contrast. However different films and chemicals would produce varying results, but typically you would see increased contrast and shifts in color. Of course, the results of cross processing differ from case to case which makes experimenting super fun and surprising.
Color negative film uses C-41 chemicals for processing. You get negatives as a result to these. Color reversal film uses E-6 chemicals for processing. You get “slides” as a result of these. When you cross process, you use the chemicals for color negative film with color reversal films, and vice-versa. If you process negative film thru the slide chemicals E-6, you will get slides. Although the colors will not be as crazy, you will just get a kind of slide film where the color shifts are subtle. If you process slide film in the negative chemicals C-41, you will get negative film, but with the lomographic burst of color. This is because the color layers of the film were not optimized for this. As a result, the photos turn out saturated or grainy or with high contrast and you get all kinds of unexpected results.
Digital cross processing is a technique that simulates this practice and can be used to produce some stunning color shifts. Cross processing effects can be simulated in digital photography by a number of techniques involving the manipulation of contrast/brightness, hue/saturation and curves in Photoshop etc. But that as it may, these digital tools lack the unpredictable nature of regular cross processed images. However, our latest preset pack Looks N°3 Cross Process Film Emulation does not, and are perfect for natural light, fashion, lifestyle, portraits and landscapes.
Cross processing your shots is a cool way to add a bit of mystery and extra imagination to your photography. So go grab your camera, shoot, upload and enjoy the surprising fruits of your labor with Preset Shops latest editing tool Looks N°3, for Lightroom CC/6 and Photoshop CC/6 ACR.
Before and after samples: