For today’s post, I want to share with you some tips that I’ve found help me with my polaroid photography. I know quite a few of you are also into this, so I thought I’d compile a post and see how I go. they say the best way to learn is to actively teach, so maybe I’ll help myself while I’m at it!
As you’ve probably gathered, I’m no expert, but I enjoy the medium. It’s a bit old school, bit nostalgic. just a little bit magical. It’s that instant satisfaction, I suppose.. you can’t beat it sometimes!
I’ve got the Instax Mini 9 model. I’m pretty sure it’s still the latest, even though I got it a few years ago now. 2017, actually. I guess this sort of technology doesn’t get many updates!
The only difference really is that my model has a selfie camera- I can’t really say I recommend that. I tried taking one with a friend once and it didn’t turn out all that well. Overall I’d say that unless you’re a massive selfie person, this feature is kind of a miss.
Be careful with your film.
One of the first things they tell you when you get an instant camera is to be careful with the film- this is important because there are indeed a raft of ways you can ruin it. Spilling water, exposure to the sun, touching.. all big no no’s. Just in general, take care when handling your film. It’s expensive- $2 a photo!
Don’t expect perfection!
This is another big one. I know that I had all these expectations as to how my photos should look and I was disappointed when they came out looking nothing like. I was so concerned with being a good photographer that my photos felt like an insult. It has been a while now but I still get disappointed when a shot doesn’t work out. I have a real perfectionist streak that means that even good isn’t satisfying.. it has to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t really work though, especially not with polaroids. It’s old technology. You simply won’t get high definition, high clarity photos. Sometimes all you’ll get is a blank polaroid.. over exposure is a real thing! As I said at the start though, it is a bit of a lost art and can be a lot of fun. Something different, you know? There’s a real charm to it once you get past the fact that not every shot will turn out how you imagine.
Be selective with what you photograph!
As a rule, Instax make their money not from you buying a camera, but instead from film purchases. Every pack of twenty will set you back around $30. It all depends, but it certainly isn’t cheap. I used to take photos of anything I saw that I even remotely liked. I wasn’t thinking in terms of “Is this worth the picture?” and so I chewed through a lot of film and didn’t get many high quality shots.. just a lot of sub par florals. Good times!
And that brings me onto my next point..
Take your time.
I find that when I give little thought to what I’m taking a photo of, I get sloppy. I might capture a bad angle or include something that I was trying to miss into a photo! There was a time when I was visiting a beach in Melbourne and saw the most amazing vintage car. It was an absolute dream. The photo didn’t turn out so well though.. I got a bin in the shot. The lighting wasn’t great. I ended up throwing the photo out. The point here is that you want to avoid being impulsive. It just doesn’t pay off in most cases!
Know what shots will and won’t turn out.
Generally, you can get pretty nice photos with landscapes, interiors, portraits and the like. What won’t work is photographing sunsets, sunrises, close ups and anything with small details or poor lighting. Natural light is your best friend. Be selective when using flash also! This can brighten your photos but also makes them look washed out sometimes. You may also need to change up your angles or avoid taking photos at certain times of day or in some locations. Some people say that a great setting to use is HiKey, which gives your photos a soft look. It works particularly well indoors and gets rid of all those annoying shadows and dark spots!
The default settings aren’t always correct.. adjust accordingly.
For the longest time, I simply assumed that the camera knew best. The way the Instax works is that it has an adjustable dial that allows you to choose how much light you want the camera to let in when you shoot. It does first guess at your lighting conditions, using sensors, but I’ve found it to be off sometimes. If you think the light meter is off, use your best judgement and work according to that, but know the basics. If you choose the full sun setting, for example, the camera will let in very little light so as to avoid overexposure. If you choose cloudy, more light will be let in so it doesn’t turn out too dark.