Pictures are a great way a great keepsake. They capture the essence of the occasion, and bring back the memories associated with it whenever someone sees the photo. Although, sometimes these photos
People who develop film on Reddit share the craziest thing they've seen on a customer's camera. Content has been edited for clarity.
Surprising Mom In A Not-So Good Way
“Worked for a few years in a shop that developed films and printed digital photos.
Lots of disposables from school trips etc, and a lot of the film was fairly normal.
Digital prints were where the fun was. Aside from people who couldn’t put files onto useable medium for printing, there were the people who had lots of photos on useable medium.
I remember this one lady who wanted some wedding photos printing. Her son had given her an SD card with the photos on from his phone. Unfortunately our machines loaded every image file it could find. Mother was not pleased to find her son’s adult collection, in the middle of a shop, with a young’un helping her load then up.”
What A Sweet Story!
“Oddest one I saw was a bunch of pictures of a gas station. Inside, outside, bathroom, freezer, pumps. The pics were all cropped horribly, and needed color correction. We usually only did this by request, but I was bored so I just did it. When the middle eastern guy came to get them he had very poor English, but explained that he was trying to send pictures to his wife and son in Iran. He came to the country to start a business so he could afford to bring them over.
He drove 12-hour shifts for a taxi company in New York for five years to buy his first gas station, and he wanted to surprise them and let them know they’d finally be together. I ended up giving him the pictures for free and asked if I could take a nice picture of him to send along with them as well. Two months later he came back and introduced me to his family and invited me to dinner at his place. Been friends ever since.”
“Right Thing To Do At The Time”
“I work at a tech store where we have self-serve photo printing kiosks. This poor lady came in, saying she needed to print photos and had no idea what she was doing. So, I started helping her download and use the app on her phone to send photos to the kiosk. I handed the phone back to her to select her photos and send them; it wasn’t until they started appearing on the screen (it runs through a slideshow of the pics as they’re loading) that I realized they were of bruises, cuts, black eyes etc.
I panicked and tried to stand in front of/shield the screen from other customers while she started looking visually (and understandably) distressed. Our machines also keep cycling through the photos when they freeze. After a couple of very awkward minutes, I realized that was exactly what was happening. We don’t have a manual input ‘out the back,’ so all photos have to go through these very publicly visible machines, but obviously I didn’t want her to have to go through what just happened twice. While the machine was rebooting, I asked if she had anything else to do in the city today and she said she still had to get lunch. So I got her to reselect the photos from her phone and I emailed them to the store’s private address and said I’d take care of the rest while she ate.
I went out the back and put the photos on a USB (printing from USB bypasses the slideshow stage – photos just appear in a small grid), then took my lunch. I have to say, sneaking out to print photos of domestic violence was one of my more sobering breaks over the years, but I think it was the right thing to do at the time. She was appreciative of being able to discretely collect her photos without being ogled at by half the store, but it was definitely one of those days I regret not doing more or acting quicker.”
His Poor Wife
“I worked in the Walmart photo lab (2007) when a mid 40s looking man and his wife came up to the counter to have a couple rolls of film developed. He talked the wife into going ahead and continuing shopping, and said he’d wander around the electronics department (right next to photo) until the pictures were ready. This guy literally watched his wife until the second she turned the corner out of sight, then reached into his pocket, pulling out an SD card, and called for me to the instant digital print kiosk. He didn’t know how to work the kiosk and wanted my help.
This gentleman (using the term loosely) explained had just gotten back from a military trip of some kind to Asia, and had taken an SD card full of pictures of him sleeping with a very young, what looked to be Taiwanese girl. My guess based on the look and attitude of this guy it was a lady of the night. With all kinds of pride, he went through each one, almost as if he was expecting a high five from me. I explained how the kiosk worked then walked away.
After a bit, he gathered his pictures in an envelope and walked off into the store. I couldn’t hide my disgust when a little later he and his wife returned after to pick up their photos from the rolls she turned in. She was laughing and obviously happy with her husband, not knowing he had an envelope full of pictures hidden in his inside coat pocket. It’s been about 13 years, and that day still sticks with me.”
“I Felt So Uncomfortable”
“A couple of years back when I was 18, I was a trainee at a small local photography shop. They developed films, but also had those PC stations where you can print or develop your digital pictures. As I was just the trainee, I had exhausting job to help the customers with the procedure because it’s a bit confusing. Most of the time those were just elderly women who wanted to develop pictures from their last family gathering or vacation. But once it was a really creepy older man.
At first, he seemed nice and polite and he looked like a well-kept elderly Business man. But after plugging in you could see all pictures saved on the medium (like a SD card or an USB Stick). He wanted to select two innocent flower pictures or something, and we had to look trough like 2000 files? But well, he had an amateur photo shoot or something like that, because there were many low quality pictures of him undressed or half undressed, with masks or leather lingerie for men. I politely stood next to him and scrolled trough the pictures for him, because my boss advised me to do it that way, except the customer didn’t want to. But he simply watched me with a creepy smile and didn’t say something. I felt so uncomfortable and insecure and I never told my boss.”
Should Have Done A Better Cleaning Job
“I worked in a Walgreens photo lab for 4 years.
I was just learning to develop rolls of film when this very nice suburban mom comes in to drop off cameras her teenage son ‘had in his room.’ She was doing this to be nice, she really was a sweet lady. So I take the rolls and tell her it will take a little while, because I am being trained. She decided she would come back later with her son to get the pictures and pick up her prescriptions. I start working on the pictures and the first two cameras are normal enough, just some shots of his friends and him at school from what I gathered it looks like he was going to be a senior this year. These pictures clearly depicted younger kids maybe freshman and sophomores in high school so they had to be older. Next camera was him and his friends smoking weed and getting trashed in full juggalo makeup; looks like our little man grew up fast. Last camera was very obviously more recent. This was graphic, it involved this young man engaging in a three-way with two young ladies all in full juggalo attire. From every angle you can imagine, I mean it was wild, this kid must have been watching POV adult movies since he found the internet. Of course, the entire lab was laughing. The best part of all of this is this lady asked for doubles, in case she wants to send some to family members. So I had to print two sets of this little amateur director first outing.
Fast-forward to the end of the night, I was getting worried I wouldn’t be around for this lady to pick up her photos. It hits about 8:15 and my shift is over in 15 minutes. This lady walks in all smiles with her son. This was the greatest thing I have ever seen, this kid looked like ICP threw up on him. They get to the counter, and she is still amazingly pleasant and asks for her pictures. We have a standard routine of asking people if they would like to see the prints before they pay. She says yes and I now know this kid has no idea what his mom developed. He immediately starts acting like a little brat and complaining that, ‘This is going to take too long.’
She asks him to behave and opens the first envelope. This is a normal camera of him and his friends in their younger years, he takes one look and turns white and asks “Mom, where did you get the film for these pictures?’
She answers “In the drawer in your old desk. You said you cleaned it out because you didn’t want it anymore, and I found these cameras.’
Silence. You can tell his mind is racing, he can’t form full sentences and just sits there in horror as his mom picks up the third envelope. This is where her disappointment sets in as she sees the smoking, drinking, and partying. She glares at him but isn’t too flustered, she has to know her son is a moron. Time almost comes to a full stop for this young man when he notices the fourth envelope. His eyes are darting, his flight or fight has been engaged, he almost looks like he can’t breathe. She pops the tab and pulls out the photo set and the first photo on top is two girls in full juggalo makeup sucking his member His mothers jaw drops.
She continues to look through butt and private area shots for two minutes. Puts them down. Thanks me. Pays. All without acknowledging he is even still there. The entire time this kid looks like he is about to throw up.
She turns to walk out and says turning back, ‘I’m sorry you had to see all of this.’
She looks at her son, and says in the sweetest voice ‘Get your butt in the car it’s time for your dad to go through your pictures.'”
A Huge Misunderstanding
“Many years ago, I was the property master for a dramatic TV series that dealt with paranormal events. For one episode, I had to create an extended series of 8×10 forensic photographs of murder victims, in which the main characters would discover clues that later allowed them to determine the nature of the paranormal threat that was killing people.
The photos involved healthy people who suddenly and inexplicably die. The director asked for specific setups, including a executive slumped over his office desk, a woman lying on her laundry room floor, a trucker hanging out of his cab, a homeless person laying half out of their tent, a fry cook lying on a diner kitchen floor, and so on. Consequently, the stills day became very elaborate, as it required the involvement of construction, locations, set decoration, costumes, hair, lighting, grips, extras casting, and – especially important – some elaborate SPFX death makeup. I was fortunate enough to persuade one of the union’s top stillsmen to help out. It took several hours for us to shoot all the stills, and at the end the photographer handed me two rolls of C41 exposed film.
Later that afternoon I went on a location survey, and as was my habit, I took two rolls of film of the locations we were to use next episode. I did this so I could show my crew what they were in for, what kind of restaurant and kitchen facilities they’d be dealing with, the plate and glassware we’d have to match with acrylic, and so on.
On my way back to the office, I stopped at the local supermarket and handed in the two rolls of location shots for one hour development, intending to drop off the much more important ‘death shots’ at a professional lab the next morning, for custom processing and printing.
I was working in my prop lockup that evening when I heard two sets of heavy boots climbing the stairs to our production office, and I heard someone asking if I worked there. I shouted, ‘I’ll be right out!’ and finished what I was doing.
When I walked into the office, I was more than a little nonplussed to see two uniformed RCMP officers patiently waiting for me to show myself. One of them carried two fat photo envelopes, so of course I instantly understood what had happened and why they had come, and began to apologize profusely.
Apparently, that particular supermarket’s photo labs got a lot of homemade inappropriate children movies, and so Head Office had established a protocol that involved immediately calling the police and running off extra prints for them. The poor girl who was running color correction on the machine when my film went through took a look at all the very realistic corpses in my photos and absolutely freaked out. So manager triggered their pedo-protocol and called it in.
When the responding officers looked up the contact phone number on my envelope, it came up as something like ‘Spooky Studio Productions,’ with a studio complex as the street address, so they actually weren’t too worried that something nefarious had happened. But still, a file had been opened by the photo lab’s call, and questions had to be asked before it could be closed. So they had to get a reasonable explanation out of me about how I had come into possession of so many very realistic photos of dead people.”
A Disturbing Pattern
“I manage a store which also develops film and digital photos. We were trained that when printing pictures to not look through them in order to protect privacy. However, we would flip through them quickly just to make sure there was no “adult pictures” (that was literally the only thing we could refuse an order for).
Anyway, this older guy, around 50-years-old, used to come in every couple weeks or so and get pictures made off his phone. And nothing about them seemed off at first, besides the fact they were incredibly blurry and of low quality. We would always ask customers with pictures like that to review them before purchasing, and he seemed perfectly okay with them.
This goes on for a couple of months, and then we notice he’s coming in more frequently. We start to pay more attention to him because he’s piqued our curiosity, if nothing else. The pictures he starts ordering are finally starting to make sense. We see a mailbox in one, a car in a driveway in another, and then we start seeing pictures of a house up close. What got us creeped out was when pictures started printing out looking through a window of the house. You could see the panes and blinds, making it clear he was outside looking in, taking pictures of a woman in various stages of undress.
Needless to say we (the technician and I) were pretty floored when we realized this man was stalking a woman — possibly this whole time — and getting pictures printed publicly that seem to prove it. We broke protocol and alerted the police, who came and took a copy of pictures as evidence, and we did this the next time the guy came in to do it as well to not tip him off. Since then, I haven’t seen the man or heard anything about him, but it’s still the creepiest thing I’ve seen at work.”
A Truly Life Changing Event
“When I was 15, I worked part-time at a small-city photo lab that provided services for multiple shops. A notorious murder had been discovered, and the time in my smallish city, our police chief was well known as a media darling. He was making the rounds talking about the case. This was early to mid 1990’s.
My job was to do the initial prep for the film to be put through a commercial developer, and then after a more senior person developed the photos, to do some basic quality control, and package the prints up with the negatives. I was at the time a fairly big news addict. As I was processing the finish packages one day, I recognized the name of the alleged killer who was in the news being talked about buy our media loving police chief.
I did my QC, but sent it back to the developing tech and told him the quality was spotty and to have him run a second set. I kept the original prints off to the side, in my desk drawer and destroyed the slip of paper noting it had been of poor quality and to do a new set of prints, holding onto just the proof sheet, a few calibration copies that the machine spit out, and of course the prints. I really don’t know why I did this, it just seemed like I should make a second copy.
I went to my supervisor, told him I thought I had ‘law enforcement sensitive’ prints which was something we had been trained on if we saw anything illegal, anything involving kids that was troublesome, etc. There was a form to fill out, which he did, and I did my part, we both signed it, and then he called it into the police.
Anyways, it turned out that the police did come, pickup the prints and the negatives, interviewed my supervisor. One of the prints was a photo of the victim at a party in the killers home a few days before she was killed. She had a big beaming smile, and was quite the vision.
I didn’t think anything of it for a long-time, but then a year or so later, during the trial, it came out that the police had lost some evidence, including the last known photo of the victim, which was bad for the case but also, agonizing for the parents. The mom was on TV complaining about it. At this point, it was the summer of my junior year of high school, I had just gotten the internet, so I poked around and found an email address for the mother, who worked I think for a city run nursing home. I emailed the mom and told her I was a photo tech who processed the photos and I had ordered a second set and had an original copy of the photo she was looking for, if she wanted to give me her address I would mail her a copy.
It was probably like two hours before I got a call from my boss, who had got a call from the police, and who wanted me to get the photo, and come into the police station with it immediately.
In the end, the mom got the photo and I got to testify in court about the chain of custody for that photo. The defense attorney took a poke at my to suggest maybe I might know the victim and I was secretly obsessed with her. He tried to establish that I didn’t have an alibi for the time of the murder, but the prosecution reminded them that I was 14 at the time, and lived in a different town, and not on trial.
So I didn’t see anything weird in the photo, but it was a neat experience. And it led me to take an interest in the law, which is one of the reasons why I’m a lawyer now.”
“Pit Of My Stomach Dropped”
“I worked at a retail telecommunications store as a rep about a year and a half ago, and was temporarily moved to one of the biggest stores in the city until our store was remodeled.
There are many people that come in to this location to get repairs on their devices with the designated technicians, alongside the regular customers.
Amidst the busy day, a contractor-looking man in his 50s with a worn plaid shirt and dusty-looking jeans asked me to transfer photos from his old phone to his new device. I told him to come back in 15 minutes while the transfer took place, and brought it back to one of the technicians.
One of the first things we do before giving the phone to the technician is check if the software is up to date, and the photos are backed up to a cloud service before transferring data so nothing gets lost if there’s a corruption.
Between the technician and I was a pane glass window with a hole where we slide the phones in for repairs. Before I handed off the phone to the technician, I noticed it had Google Photos, and opened the app to see if photos are backed up there, which could be seen as soon as it’s opened.
To my shock, the most recent photos were about six shots of dead bodies, severed limbs and heads, and rows of point-blank executed people. All of the other photos visible were normal family photos. The pit of my stomach dropped as my mind attempted to justify what could be the reason they are on his phone.
I thought Maybe he’s one of those people that saves creepy/edgy photos on his phone… but usually they’re not old men. Or What if it’s real, and he’s in some kind of gang or part of the Narcos (this is in Texas)?
Wordlessly, I turned the phone to the technician, who mirrored my shock. He stuck his hand through the glass hole and took the phone to get a better view. I asked him how we should handle this, and he shrugged saying it’s never happened to him before.
I rushed to the back of the store to get the store manager, and asked her to meet me in the tech room for an urgent matter. The technician showed her the phone and she managed to mutter an ‘Oh Lord’ before looking back at me.
Asking her what we should do, she said ‘I am not getting involved, and you shouldn’t either. That’s all I’m going to say,’ and walked back out to the sales floor.
Just then, the man returned walking aimlessly in the store. Realizing the transfer hadn’t started, I took a snapshot of the photos, and told the technician to start the transfer.
I rush back to the customer and shortly reassured it was being worked on. He stared blankly and nodded wordlessly. After a few minutes, he got his phone back and left.
After he left, I checked with the manager to see if she was okay with me reporting it, and she said since he knows where we are and who I am, I wasn’t allowed to for the time being. One of the major regrets I have is not reporting that, even if it is someone that hangs on to photos of dead people for ‘recreational’ purposes.”