Are you ready to join the hottest trend in photography? Or maybe have some cute photos to post in your room? It’s time to pull out your instant camera! Let’s get to work learning how to take the best pictures possible and wow your BFFs.
One of the most important things you should know when it comes to using an instant camera is that you’ve only got one shot. Yes, that’s right. Only one shot to get it right. Unlike digital photography or taking photos with a phone, you have one shot. So take your time to get it right the first time. Slow down. Instant photography is special because it makes you consider what it is you want in every shot. You start to really focus on what kinds of images you want.
Tips for Awesome Instant Camera Photos
An instant camera is fun because you snap the picture and it prints immediately. That means you can do a lot of fun things with the photos themselves. You want to make sure your photos are fantastic. While using an instant camera can be simple, there are some things you can do to get a better quality photo. Here are some tips for getting just the photo you want.
Have as much light as possible
Photography is all about light so make sure that you have as much light as possible before taking your picture. The light from a flash isn’t very flattering. If you are taking photos of your friends, try to take pictures of them outdoors for the best results.
Prepare your group before you take a polaroid
Make sure everyone is ready to go before you take the picture because there are no retakes. An instant camera isn’t like a phone or digital camera where you can take 100 photos in a row to get it right. The last thing you want is someone to fix their hair last minute and mess up the photo. Coordinate ahead of time to get the picture right the first time.
Check your distance setting
The minimum focusing distance is the shortest amount of space that the camera needs in order for the image to be in focus. You need to find this out on your own camera. Don’t get closer to your subject than this. Be back a little ways from that minimum focusing distance in order to be safe. Most polaroid cameras do best in about 2-8 foot range. If you are too close, it will be blurry, if you are too far away, it will also be blurry. Find the sweet spot.
Use different lenses to mix up the style
A close up lens allows you to zoom in. Other lenses can change the color or look like a filter for your images. It is fun to try using different lenses for a more exciting look. Lenses are usually sold separately from the instant cameras themselves.
Try using different types of film
Most instant cameras come with different film choices. Not only do you have color, but black and white, and sephia. Plus some films have fun and colorful frames. Or choose to decorate your frame on your own with markers, stickers, or washi tape. This brightens up your photo and helps you get more creative.
Buy your film in bulk
Buying more than one pack of film makes your film cheaper. You can get a prepackaged set for a better price. Plus, you can mix and match different types of films with your friends for an even better deal!
Add contrast with your pictures
An instant camera doesn’t do a great job of capturing contrast, so make sure to add contrast with your pictures. This means to shoot light on dark or dark on light, rather than a lot of things the same color or that blend together. Instant camera film has a more retro look, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t have bright, colorful images.
Fill up most of the frame with your subject
Because the films are pretty small, fill up most of the frame with your subject. This will help you see details a lot better. It might take a little practice, but your photos will be better if you do it.
Develop your photo in the dark
To get the best colors, develop your photo in the dark. This can be turning your image upside down, sticking in a drawer, or leaving in a dark room. 10 minutes should be sufficient for it to develop. If the sun hits it while it’s developing, it can mess with the colors.
Ignore the camera and follow your instincts (be creative)
Sometimes you might want to ignore what the camera is suggesting because you have your own personal style. Be creative. If you want your photo to be brighter, choose “house” or “cloud”. If you want it to be darker, choose one of the sun settings. This can be confusing, but remember, that if your camera thinks you should choose a sun setting, it is because it thinks there is a lot of light already coming into the camera so it will be blocking out some of the light. Play around, but think before you do to minimize wasting film.
For pictures without flash, block the flash with tape, not your hand
If you are going to cover the flash because you know you have a lot of light, don’t cover it with your hand. Cover it completely with something like tape. Otherwise your color will come out yellow because light has “leaked” through your hand.
Shoot both vertically and horizontally
You can shoot both vertical and horizontal. Make sure that your flash is always on the top of your camera and that you aren’t shooting upside down. This is especially important if you are shooting horizontally.
Take a “test” picture before you open the case
Always make sure that you take a “test” picture before you open the film case. This way you know for sure that you are out of film and ready to open the case. Don’t just point and shoot anywhere. Prepare like you are going to take a real picture. If it’s empty, you’re okay. If it isn’t, you have another great photo to add to your collection!
Mistakes to Avoid with an Instant Camera
Of course you want to get the best possible photos with your camera. Knowing what not to do can be just as important as knowing how to use your camera. Make sure you avoid the following mistakes to ensure great quality pictures.
Don’t be afraid to waste film
Most film runs at about a dollar per sheet, but don’t let that scare you from taking pictures. You have to learn how to use the camera, so just get out and start shooting whether it is a still shot or action photo.
Don’t open the back of the camera
If you accidentally open up the back of your camera (or your little brother does), don’t worry. Close the door as soon as you can. You may still be able to recover some of your film. The first film will most likely be ruined, but if you are careful enough, the rest of your film should have stayed protected and should develop properly.
Don’t forget to adjust your settings before taking a picture
Your lighting can change quickly, especially if you go from outdoors to indoors. Always check that your settings are right so you don’t get a badly exposed photo.
Watch out for those pesky black dots in your photos
Instant cameras don’t handle super bright light very well, like the sun or reflection in a mirror. If you shoot these, the images will develop with a black spot. Do not shoot directly into super bright light. Instead, turn to the side a bit to make sure the sun or bright light isn’t coming right into the lens.
Make sure you are frontlit, not backlit
If your subject is backlit, you will have a black photo. Take care that all of the light is coming from the front of the subject. This can be from both the flash and regular light. If light is coming from behind them, you won’t be able to see anything but darkness.
Take each picture as a lesson to learn
Practice, practice, and practice some more. You will get better as you go along. Be patient and be willing to try some new things with your photo taking.
Be intentional with what you want to capture
Working with instant cameras is one of the best ways to get better with your photography. You don’t have the luxury of taking 100 photos and deleting 99 of them to get the best one. You have to be very intentional with what you want to capture.
Develop your own photography style
The best way to get photos you love is to develop your own photography style. Play around and choose what works best for you. You will learn quickly if you want to shoot only black and whites, portraits, or landscape photography. Try something new every day until you find your sweet spot.
Take pictures of your subjects close to background
Is your background dark and black? If your subject is set apart from the background, they will be getting all of the light and your background will be black. Try taking a photo up against a wall or closer to your background in order to get the whole photo to be lit up.
Share your photos with others
Finally, make sure to share your photos with someone else. Sharing your photos is one of the funnest parts of using an instant camera.
Using an instant camera can be so fun. It lets you capture exciting moments you are sharing with your friends and family. By using the tips and tricks listed above, you can improve the quality of your photos and have even more fun taking and displaying them.