There’s something special about a polaroid camera, something nostalgic and magical about these unfiltered, imperfect moments in life that my camera captures.
When I first got my camera, I kept taking underexposed photos. I realized there aren’t a lot of in depth guides online to how these cameras work and I’m the type of person who is intrigued by how things work! I decided to write this guide that incudes everything a beginner needs to know about taking pictures and getting magical results! I know that the film is expensive, but as long as you are aware on how to use it properly (It’s not that hard!), a polaroid camera is most definitely worth the price.
Getting Started: How to set up your camera
This is the packaging your film should come will look like! Inside, the film is inside what looks like a black box.
As you can see in this picture of my camera, pull down the tab on the back and insert the black box. After that your camera should be good to go! When beginning a new pack of film, there will be a “test shot” in which a black slip of paper will come out, after that you can start shooting!
The number “5” indicates that I have 5 shots left on this roll of film!
All About Exposure:
It’s time to learn about shutter speed! Shutter speed is a measurement of time that a camera’s shutter is open—allowing light, usually after it has passed through a lens and through the aperture diaphragm, to strike a photosensitive surface, like film or a digital sensor.
The settings indicated will dictate what shutter speed you use, or how to capture the best possible quality of image. The camera with automatically select which lighting it thinks is best, indicated by a red dot. But if you disagree, you can easily change it!
Little house- Indoors, night (F12.7)
Cloud- cloudy, shade (F16)
Small sun- Sunny, slightly cloudy (F22)
Bright sun- sunny and bright (F32)
The Hi-Key option will allow your photo to have a “softer impression” it can be useful at times, but in my opinion it washes photos out.
Under Exposed vs Over Exposed
Sometimes if you chose the wrong setting, your photos can end up taking in too little or too much light, and looking less than satisfactory:
Overexposed “Too dark” :This means you chose a shutter speed that is too slow and let in too much light, causing your photo to appear dark.
Underexposed: “Too Light”: This means you chose a shutter speed that is too fast and let in too little light, causing your photo to appear very bright.
How to Organize your Pictures:
I like to keep my photos in a fun scrapbook, using scrapbook corners to keep the photo in place without damaging it! There are many other fun things you can do with your photos such as:
Hanging photos on the wall using clothespins add a cute touch to any room and is super easy! Here is a link to a set at Urban Outfitters, or there are many DIYs online!
I’ve truly enjoyed learning how to work my Fujifilm Instax Mini 8. I’m no longer concerned with running my photos through a series of reality warping colors. “What makes me look the most tan? How can I look slimmer?” are questions that I no longer find myself asking because these photos capture the true beauty in reality, not fiction. There’s something breathtaking about capturing a sunset the way that nature made it be. I find myself being more choosey about what I chose to photograph, picking genuine moments as opposed to artificial. Most importantly, when I look back in my album, I am flooded with memories of fun, not an excessive length of editing time for a picture of “candid laughing”.