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The Film Portrait Experience

"a start to finish, hold-in-your-hands, immersive portrait adventure"

A dull red glow fills the room. Closing the door behind as a thick chemical aroma engulfs you and you’re transported back to high school. Slowly tilting the tray back and forth, you watch in awe as your face, by pure magic, lifts out of nowhere and onto the paper. This is hand printing a 1 of 1 unique photograph in the darkroom.

Not just for photographers, The Film Portrait Experience is for anyone who loves to know how things work. For the Dad with a shed full of tools, for the Mum with a shelf full of Lego or anyone who wants real life stories made by hand.

Join professional portrait photographer Steve Taylor-Madin in his Narre Warren studio for the ultimate film portrait and darkroom experience.

Professional Portrait Session

You are the centre of all the attention and like all of our portrait sessions, we start with real conversations. Together we build a connection and make portraits of you that anyone would be proud to hang on your wall or gift to friends and family. We shoot one  entire roll of medium format Ilford FP4+ black & white film giving us a total of 12 photographs in either our Narre Warren portrait studio or in the nearby gardens. 

  • 1 hour portrait session
  • 1 roll of Ilford FP4+ in a Bronica SQ-B medium format film camera
  • Up to 12 professional black & white portraits

Developing your film

Without hesitation, once we’ve made all 12 photographs, we head inside and develop the roll of film together. While a lot of the hard work is done for you, you’re able to be at centre stage as we mix and pour each film chemical to develop our film. Film developing takes about 30 minutes and gives us our first look at the negative images.

  • measure & mix film developing chemicals
  • hand process the film in the developing tank
  • first glimpse of negative images
film developing in narre warren
a darkroom film portrait dries in the rack

Handmade Darkroom Prints

Each darkroom print is a one-off. Absolutely no two images are the same when printing this way. See the process of exposing paper to light and watch as your portraits come to life on the paper right before your eyes.

  • 1 contact sheet (overview of all portraits on the roll)
  • Choose 1 favourite portrait to print 19cm x 19cm
  • Option to print more
  • Every darkroom print is a unique 1 of 1 edition

What's Included?

This is the full process of making a portrait including a one-off darkroom print

  • 3+ hour portrait and print making session 
  • 1 hour studio portrait session
  • 1 roll of Ilford black & white film (up to 12 portraits)
  • film developing process
  • lunch/coffee
  • option to skip lunch and spend another hour shooting digital portraits
  • darkroom session
  • print a contact sheet of all images
  • 1x 8″x8″ hand made print, signed & dated (printed on a single 8×10″ sheet of paper)
  • option to purchase more prints (up to 12)
  • option to upgrade to digital scans of the portraits

The Film Portrait Experience is the perfect gift

Give the gift of a professional studio portrait complete with hands-on print making experience. 

final results of the film portrait experience

How much does it cost?

The Film Portrait Experience starts at $749

Add-ons available are; additional portraits, digital scans for socials, larger prints from scans and more.


No. This is not a lesson. This is a behind the scenes look at making a portrait on film and printing it in the darkroom. 

That being said, it is a hands on experience and you will walk away with a greater understanding of the full film portrait process

The base package includes one (1) roll of medium format film. The camera I make your portraits with will give us twelve (12) photographs in total. It is a much, much slower process than a typical digital portrait shoot and a lot of care & fuss is taken during the entire process.

When we break for lunch, the option is available to shoot a series of digital portraits instead which will give you a few more options to choose from but they cannot be printed in the darkroom.

Ready to book?

darkroom print from a professional film portrait session in Narre Warren, Melbourne
black and white photograph of construction in melbourne photo of the day

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