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Who are Take It Easy?

Take It Easy Lab is a mail order service founded by Liam, Joe and Nick (Liam and Joe are cousins!) and ran by a team of eight friends who have a passion for film photography, and making sure everyone gets the best film experiencing possible. 

We understand getting film developed might be daunting enough to put you off shooting film in the first place, but we want to build an inclusive community that share a love of film photography wherever you are on the spectrum of dipping your toe, to pro.

Take It Easy doesn’t want to just provide a service that ends with you getting your photos back. We want to create a space where amateur, pro and anything in between can come together, learn and share experiences through exhibitions, events and resources.

We’re two guys lucky enough to have creative careers that allow us to pursue our photography passion daily, and we want to help others pursue theirs and keep learning!

For us, the film lab isn’t just the final step of shooting a roll of film. We do not take for granted how lucky we are to be the first people to set eyes on your photos, and we want Take It Easy to be both a service and a celebration of all things film and the people who shoot it.

How Take It Easy started

The idea of Take It Easy Film lab began in January 2020, but our history goes back way longer than that.

In 2008, I (Liam), graduated from Leeds University with a degree in Photography, and luckily got a job interview the next day at Snappy Snaps on the Headrow. I worked there for around 3 years, developing and scanning away, until one day we found out that the Leeds franchise was closing and I’d be losing my job. I was pretty gutted as I loved the job and it was the first place i’d worked that I both enjoyed and related to my passion and education.

During that time working at Snappy Snaps I managed to forge some great friendships and start a range of really exciting photo projects with film photographers that I met as customers.

One of those customers was Nick Baines (aka Peanut of Leeds royalty, Kaiser Chiefs). He started shooting film in 2007 on his travels around the world and brought all his films into us for processing and scanning. Over the years of chatting to him in the lab, we reached the point where Snappy Snaps was closing and I randomly asked him if he was up for starting something. I mean, I needed a job, and we both needed a place to get our film developed for free… Nick was up for it!

In the week leading up to the closure of Snappy Snaps, I asked the owner if he’d be interested in selling me the film developer (Noritsu V30), and to my surprise he was. A deal was done and we were away! The next port of call was my cousin Joe, who was just as passionate about photography and film as Nick and I. Joe was totally on board for starting up an indie film lab, so we were pretty much ready to go (apart from a building and all the other important things you need to start processing and scanning film!).

Fast forward a few months to 2011/12 if I remember correctly… We were setting up shop in a building alongside a friend’s film company, who were kind enough to give us the space rent-free and help us on our way. At the time of starting the lab, I also ran an art and photography blog called No Culture Icons, and decided to name the lab No Culture Icons Developing as the two projects tied in perfectly.

We had a great six months or so, but due to a culmination of things happening in our lives at that time, we had to end the service prematurely and put the film developer into storage. Although it was a sad time having to stop a project we had so much passion for and our customers were enjoying using, I’m glad we stopped it when we did, because Take It Easy wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t!

Fast forward nine more years (that poor film developer) and here we are in 2020. Back in January Nick was talking about clearing out his storage unit and mentioned the film developer, which got us thinking again… We had a chat, and decided, why don’t we make a proper go of that film lab we started all them years ago?! You have to remember, this was JUST before Coronavirus came along and changed everything for everyone. I think if we had been speaking about this a few months on, it just wouldn’t have happened.

Due to everything that was happening in the world, it took us months to make any proper progress on the lab, but slowly we got it all together and oh man, it felt good to be doing this again!

Joe, Nick and I officially opened Take It Easy Lab for business in September 2020 and have honestly been blown away by all of the support and encouragement we’ve received so far. I work in full time employment at another company, so take care of all the admin / social side of things in my spare time, as well as working Sundays at the lab.

At the beginning of October, we opened the lab up to four days a week, with Joe leaving his previous job to focus on the lab full time!

Update - At the beginning of 2021, we employed 5 part time members of staff, and Liam went down in his full time job to part time. 

The team continues to grow!

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