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Photographic and film processors  (NOC 9474)
Centre-du-Québec Region
Description |  Titles |  Duties |   Related Occupations
Included Cities in Region | Service Canada Offices

Education and job requirements can vary by region. Workers in regulated occupations require a licence to work legally. Workers in non-regulated occupations do not require a licence, but employers may have other certification requirements.

Employment Requirements

Employment requirements are prerequisites generally needed to enter an occupation.

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • For employment in film processing laboratories, completion of a college or other specialized photography program or Extensive related experience is required.
  • For employment as a film printing machine operator in retail outlets, on-the-job training is provided.

Regulation by Province/Territory

Some provinces and territories regulate certain professions and trades while others do not. If you have a licence to work in one province, your licence may not be accepted in other provinces or territories. Consult the table below to determine in which province or territory your occupation/trade is regulated.

Table of job opportunities for your chosen occupation at the provincial or territorial level.
Province and Territory Regulation
British Columbia
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island

Education Programs

Programs in the order in which they are most likely to supply graduates to this occupation (Photographic and film processors):

Essential Skills

How Essential Skills Profiles can help you!
The essential skills profiles can:
  • Help determine, based on skill sets, which career may best suit a particular individual.
  • Assist job seekers to write a résumé or prepare for a job interview.
  • Help employers to create a job posting.

Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.

Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.

Photographic and Film Processors

Photographic and film processors process and finish still photographic film and motion picture film. They are employed in film processing laboratories and retail photofinishing establishments.

  • May read notes in logbooks indicating prints previously developed and the conditions and chemical mixes used in developing them. (1)
  • Read internal memos on topics such as new procedures, materials or promotions. (2)
  • May read photography and trade magazines, to stay current with new trends in film and photographic processing techniques. (2)
  • Refer to photo-finishing process manuals to determine the temperature, chemical-mix and timing for photo-finishing processes and for tips to avoid common problems. (3)
  • Refer to Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) information and Material Data Sheets provided by suppliers, which provide safety information, emergency procedures and information on the storage of photo-finishing chemicals. (3)
  • Refer to several equipment manuals for repairing photo-finishing equipment. (3)
  • May use computer software manuals to find out about software operations, when retouching or restoring photographs. (3)
Document Use
  • Identify film type, usually in numeric code. (1)
  • Read icons, menus and instructions on computer screens. (1)
  • Keep a daily production record, noting the number of prints and processing rates charged. For example, the number of prints processed at the "one-hour" rate. (1)
  • Read labels on chemicals to ensure safe use. (2)
  • Read instruction charts or operation panels on machines. (2)
  • Read and may create price lists. (2)
  • Read order forms or envelopes, which record customer requests for size, quantity, matting, frames, reprints and other special instructions. These consist mostly of boxes to be checked off. (2)
  • Read timetables, indicating when film processing and enlargements must be done. (2)
  • Read tables summarizing temperature, timing and mixing requirements for various chemicals. (2)
  • Complete sales receipts, invoices and packing slips. (2)
  • Read schematics and exploded diagrams in equipment manuals. (3)
  • May use imaging histograms on the computer to determine colour gradients on photographic images. (3)
  • May read and interpret process control charts to plot information onto them. (3)
  • Complete order envelopes or forms which record customers' names, addresses, the size and quantity of prints requested and any special instructions. (1)
  • Write reminders for themselves or notes to co-workers, particularly those on the next shift. (1)
  • Make notes in logbooks to record information about particular orders, such as the quality of the prints, the conditions and chemicals used in development and any unexpected or unusual results. (1)
  • Keep records of procedures used in special orders, such as colour balancing and chemistry mixes. (1)
  • May produce itemized reports for work done for commercial accounts. (2)
Numeracy Money Math
  • May handle cash, cheques, charge-card slips and use a cash register to receive payment and make change. (1)
  • May calculate taxes and prices to prepare a customer's invoice. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May monitor inventory figures to track items being used, such as photographic paper. (1)
  • May determine the amount of developing chemicals to order for the next month. (2)
  • May monitor prices on chemicals and equipment to find the best value, taking into account time and travel costs. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • May measure and weigh chemicals to create photo-finishing solutions. (1)
  • May measure the pH level of photographic chemicals by placing a strip of litmus paper in a sample and checking the colour change against manufacturer's recommendations. (1)
  • May measure the temperature of chemical solutions to ensure they are right for the photo-finishing process. (1)
  • May measure the length and width of the negative and multiply the size by a percentage to obtain the size of the enlargement. (2)
  • May measure the density of colour in particular areas of a photographic image using computer software. (2)
  • May scale pictures on computer screens using software systems. This may include translating old photographs in unconventional sizes to new sizes requested by customers. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • May plot densitometer readings on a graph in order to balance or correct colour saturation in slides and photographs. (1)
  • May, using numerical values of colour tones, calculate the average tone value for a particular area of a photograph to select the correct replacement tone. (2)
  • May monitor chemicals' concentration and specific gravity to maintain an efficient process. This involves conducting daily and weekly tests, plotting the results on a graph and intervening if the values fall outside of the "acceptable" range. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • May estimate the time needed to develop particular negatives, considering such factors as water and chemical temperatures. (2)
  • May estimate the time and cost of particular retouching jobs. (2)
Oral Communication
  • Talk with suppliers to order supplies and to check back orders. (1)
  • Interact with customers to take orders and determine their requirements and preferences. They describe processing procedures and give information on rates and products. (1)
  • Interact with co-workers and supervisors to exchange information about orders and discuss customer preferences and film developing procedures. (1)
  • May instruct customers on how to use their cameras. (2)
  • Communicate with suppliers to discuss machine repairs, the performance of various products and new advances. (2)
  • May participate in staff meetings to discuss orders, ways to improve service delivery and efficiency. (2)
Thinking Problem Solving
  • Machines may malfunction, such as a jammed film-processing machine, a power failure or a filter in a slide duplicator that has been offset. Photographic and film processors determine whether they can fix these problems. (1)
  • Occasionally, prints do not fit into a certain frame. Photographic and film processors decide how to make it fit or contact the customer. (2)
  • A miscalculation may cause a print to come out with the wrong colours. Photographic and film processors determine how to improve the colour. (2)
  • Photographic and film processors resolve problems with customers who may not be satisfied with services or photographs. They may re-do the job, give the customer a discount on other services, reduce the price or give a refund to the customer for the work done. (2)
  • Film-processing solutions may have chemical imbalances. Photographic and film processors determine whether the solutions can be corrected. (2)
Decision Making
  • Decide which method of photo-finishing to use, so that the customer's wait is minimal and the company's resources are used efficiently. (1)
  • Decide if the colour and density of dye are correct, by checking visually or checking against a reference print. (1)
  • Choose the chemicals, type of paper, filter and developing times which will yield the desired results. (2)
  • Decide whether the quality of prints is satisfactory. (2)
  • Make superimposing, lightening and darkening decisions to complement photos, based on customer requests and cost considerations. (2)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Photographic and film processors determine the order of their tasks, based on due dates, the need to serve customers and ordering tasks for greater efficiency. Their work may be co-ordinated with others and they may receive some direction from supervisors about the importance of various tasks. They may handle multiple tasks simultaneously, such as when they work alone in a store and must balance customer service and film-processing tasks. Interruptions depend on the job site. For example, if one-hour prints are accepted, these must be accommodated, throughout the day. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the location of all utensils and solutions before turning off the lights in the darkroom.
  • Remember which lens is used for which job.
  • Recall how to mix chemicals and how to perform chemistry tests.
  • Memorize procedures to start the developing equipment.
Finding Information
  • Contact customers directly, to clarify information about an order. (1)
  • Contact suppliers to find out information about new products. (1)
  • Refer to manuals for information on how to service machines. (2)
  • When having problems processing a film, look in manufacturers' publications for suggestions to correct the problem. If problems persist, they may call manufacturer service representatives for information. (2)
  • Obtain information about how to perform a particular task most efficiently by reading manuals, trade magazines and other literature about photography and computer technology or talking with others in the industry. (2)
Digital Technology
  • Use computer-controlled equipment. For example, they may operate automated film processing machines. (1)
  • They may enter account status information for various customers into a bookkeeping program. (2)
  • They may manipulate shapes and foreground images when restoring photographs. They may use computers to do digital photographic restorations. They use a scanner to scan an old photo and use software to enhance the image. The new image is used to develop a negative, which in turn is used to develop a new print. (3)
Additional Information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Photographic and film processors mainly work independently. They may sometimes work alone. They may have a helper. In larger work sites, they may be part of a team working together to satisfy customers.

Continuous Learning

Photographic and film processors have an ongoing need to learn. To keep current with the latest technologies, they may read periodicals and industry and trade magazines, published for the computer and photographic industries. Some attend seminars or upgrading sessions, at colleges or sponsored by manufacturers, on such topics as new techniques in processing or quality control or new products and equipment.

Apprenticeship Grants

There are two types of Apprenticeship Grants available from the Government of Canada:
  • The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) is a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year, up to a maximum of $2,000 per person. This grant helps registered apprentices in designated Red Seal trades get started.
  • The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a taxable cash grant of $2,000. This grant helps registered apprentices who have completed their training become certified journeypersons in designated Red Seal trades.
[ Source: CanLearn - HRSDC ]
Information for Newcomers

Fact Sheet for Internationally Trained Individuals

Are you an internationally trained individual looking for guidance on foreign credential recognition in your profession in Canada? This occupational fact sheet can help you by providing information on:

  • the general requirements to work in your profession
  • the steps that you can take to find the most reliable sources of information

Environment (PDF Format - Size: 726 KB)

Credential Assessment

Provincial credential assessment services assess academic credentials for a fee. Contact a regulatory body or other organization to determine if you need an assessment before spending money on one that is not required or recognized.

The assessment will tell you how your education compares with educational standards in the province or territory where you are planning to settle can help you in your job search.

Please consult the Centre-du-Québec Region and Québec tabs for more useful information related to education and job requirements.
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