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My mother might find it strange, but it’s undeniable that Polaroid/instant picture film cameras have been making a big comeback.
In today’s world of social media, smart phones, tablets, and everything digital… Polaroids are the best way to combine that wonderful feeling of instant gratification with a vintage and warm feeling twist.
However, with the world of camera phones and DSLRs, it can take some practice to master this one shot, no edit, no zoom, no review method of taking pictures.
Here are some quick tips for Polaroid beginners that will make sure you all get the most out of your pictures!
When you’re taking a Polaroid picture you’re going to want to make sure that your subject is well seen, especially if you have one with such small film like mine! While the camera does have a powerful flash, you can easily lose the background of the picture if there isn’t enough light on it.
Meanwhile, make sure that the image is not too overexposed like in this picture of my friend and I in front of the castle at Disneyland! While I do still love this picture, it was very bright at that time so it is pretty difficult to make out the castle in the background.
If you are using a camera like mine, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, you might notice that there are little indicators on the front. There is a light on these indicators that changes dependent on the light where you are taking the picture. Before you take the image make sure that you set the indicator to where the light lands to ensure that the brightness of the image is optimal!
Make it a Close Up
Chances are, that your Polaroid film is pretty tiny. The film that I have is only 62 x 44 mm.. and that includes the frame around the actual image.
Make sure to use this small space to its full potential! Get your subject to fill the frame as much as possible so that you can actually see it in the small space.
This picture here of my friend and I with Mater the Tow Truck is a little too far back so we are difficult to see. I would have loved if it was taken a little bit closer so that we fill the frame and the flash would hit us better since we are in the shade!
Unlike our smart phones and digital cameras today, Polaroids don’t have an option to crop out the excess portions of the image after it is taken. Make sure that everything you want to see in the image is in it.. and what you don’t want to see, isn’t!
My friend and I had a Disneyland cast member take the picture of us above by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We absolutely love this picture so once it developed we ran back to show the cast member how it turned out. She thought it was super cute as well, but was a little bummed that she didn’t think to cut off the top of the frame for the picture so that it looked better.
Chances are that your film is pretty expensive. The film for my camera costs $10 for 10 pictures.. that’s $1 for every picture! I don’t want to waste this, so I’m really careful that every image I take is one I want to keep.
One important aspect of this is making sure that whatever is in the background, behind your subject, is still as appealing at the subject itself. Is there a pile of laundry sitting around? A blurred person walking behind you? Someone photobombing? Check that everything is the way you want it before you press the shutter!
I love the picture to the left.. but if you look closely you can see a person walking directly behind my friend… and two trashcans photobombing us as well!
Though white film may be classic, clean, and gorgeous, it’s fun to change it up! There are a ton of different films out there that you can purchase.
There’s some that look like they’re made from washi tape, ones that have cute swirly doodles on, ones with fun filters, and so much more!
Have fun with it and get creative.
Showing Off the Final Product
Nowadays sharing Polaroid pictures on Instagram is something really hot. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Sharing vintage film.. digitally!
There are two great options for doing this:
1. Taking a Picture of the Picture
Laying the picture out on a flat surface, giving it a background of cute fabric and buttons, or even holding it in your hand and blurring the background.. all great options for showing off a Polaroid or two!
Using a scanner, often attached to your printer, is the best way to ensure that every detail of the Polaroid is visible. Scan them all in on one run, and then crop them out separately using a photo editor. (Even Microsoft Paint can do this!)
Pro Tip: Put a piece of colorful construction paper (I used blue and pink for mine!) to help the Polaroid “pop” off from the background.
Pick Your Camera
I use two different instant picture cameras – this blue Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 and this yellow Fujifilm Instax Mini 8. Both are great cameras and I’ve gotten some great use out of them! Looking for a camera of your own? Below are some suggestions:
Pick Your Film
One of the things that I love about the Fujifilm instant cameras is that there are a ton of options for creative and fun kinds of film! Here are some ones that I love:
Do you have a Polaroid camera? Do you want one?