Preventing Film Wasting In Large Format Photography

I originally posted this tip in October 2012. In the three three years since of utilizing it, I’m yet to waste a single sheet of film due to mixing up my film holders. I’m calling this technique a win and am reposting it as a sort of victory parade.

One thing I’ve learned this year shooting with an 8×10 camera is that mistake that ruin a sheet of film hurt much more than 4×5. One little tactic to reduce the chance of wasting a sheet that I can’t believe I’ve never thought of in years past is to simple put a piece of tap over the film holders L-lock.

Save ruined sheet film with a little bit of tape.


  1. Missing tape is now your sign of an exposed sheet. Saves you when you accidentally reinsert the dark slide with the wrong side out.
  2. Prevents accidental double exposure if you do put a slide in backward.
  3. Lets you know which holders are loaded with unexposed sheets if you don’t shoot for a while.
  4. Provides a place to mark film speed on the top of the holder. Useful to find an unexposed sheet of the speed you need if your bag only shows the top of the holders.
  5. Prevents accidental dark slide pulling while removing the holder from your bag due to a loose L-lock swinging out of place.

There you go large format photographers, start saving your film from needless doom.