tips for polaroid beginners

I'd like to say I take Polaroids all the time, and I'm quite skilled at it, but only recently have I been lugging my camera around. I took several on my trip to SoCal, and thought I'd share some tips on how to take great Polaroids I've learned since then. 

Behold, my Polaroids from this trip. Most of them turned out well, I didn't get any unsalvageable ones, but definitely wish I took more. In Polaroid form, many boring scenes get that "je ne sais quoi" usually reserved for amazing ones.

Out of the 10 or so photos I took, I would say these two were the least successful for these reasons:

1. There wasn't much sun after sunset (obviously) and I've found Polaroids don't develop too well when there isn't bright light. Also, shooting into the light causes the brightest part of the photo to turn black (you can see it in the middle of the photo, to the left of my head). This also happens if you attempt to take a mirror selfie (which I did when I first got my camera).

2. It was too dark in the setting, and although I used the "lighter" setting, it obviously didn't help much. Instax cameras don't seem to do well when there are different lighting situations in one area (dark in the redwoods, light falling behind).

Some of my mundane, landscape shoots. Clockwise from top left - LA city hall observation deck, Balboa Park, La Jolla Cove, Getty Villa, and Greystone Park.

For better photos like the ones above, I'd suggest:

1. Shooting while it's light outside for better exposure. The colors also seem to develop faster and better.

2. Putting the shot down as soon as it comes out of the camera. Often, if you hold onto it, you risk having the colors bleed as shown below.

3. Not trying to focus on things close up. It may just be my camera, but once I tried to focus on a flower with a busy background, and it just didn't want to happen. It's easier to stick with farther and simpler subjects (aka a bigger aperture).

4. Simple compositions. My camera takes the photos slightly to the left, so if I don't account for that space, sometimes it can cut off vital parts of the photo. Simpler is better and easier.

Be very careful not to touch the image part while it's still developing. I've found that even holding onto the white tab can cause bleeding, as you can see in both pictures on the left side.

I think I accidentally touched the photo above, and my finger print is on the photo in magenta. Not sure of the science behind that, but I'm not a huge fan of how it looks now. 

I like displaying mine, so I stuck my Polaroids onto my wall with plain tape. You can also get an album especially made for these (Urban Outfitters has some cute, but pricey ones), or a scrapbook if you have one of those as well!

I haven't updated the wall in quite some time, but hoping to add more soon!

Do you guys have instant film cameras? What would be your tips for getting successful ones? What are your favorite things to take photos of? 




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