Ted's Guide to Instant Photography

27 March 2022

With so many advancements being made to digital cameras seemingly with every release, it may come as a surprise to some that so many keen photographers are spending their hard-earned cash on instant camera gear. With their retro-charm and mix of classic controls and modern functionality, instant cameras such as those in the Polaroid and Fujifilm Instax range make fantastic gifts and are a great treat if you are looking for a new photography endeavour.

Read on to find out everything there is to know about instant photography and see if it is a good fit for you.

What's so special about Instant Photography?

Quite simply, instant photography provides us with a hard copy of our captured images, instantly! While this idea is not new, it is still fresh and exciting, especially to those witnessing it for the first time.

Instant photography is excellent for producing all types of photography on the spot, whether that means a snapshot of a soon to be treasured memory with your family and friends or a new and inventive way to produce your own creative artworks; we think instant photography has a place in the portrait and landscape world, for example.

Ted's Guide to Instant PhotographyTed's Guide to Instant Photography

When to use an Instant camera

Ted's Guide to Instant PhotographyTed's Guide to Instant Photography

Wondering if you would benefit from an instant camera in your kit bag? Here are some common ways that instant photography has been used to benefit photographers of all skill levels.

If you are attending an event, such as a wedding or a birthday, instant cameras are an addition that not only serve the purpose of capturing brilliant candid images of the celebration but also get everyone involved and interacting.

For small parties, you can bring along your Polaroid camera and a few packs of film. As the night progresses, everyone can capture their own instant photograph and head home with a record of their enjoyment. Larger scale events, such as weddings, will commonly find multiple cameras being made available to guests, which means the happy couple have multiple wedding photographers working tirelessly to document their special day for them. You can read more about using Fujifilm Instax cameras on your special day right here.

Previously, instant photography was used to produce source images for artists who would later recapture this image with more professional camera gear or produce a painting or similar artwork. While most of these artists have moved to digital, there are still some that like the immediate hard copy provided by an instant camera

Lastly, there is no reason instant photography can't be used as a way to produce more serious artworks. The lo-fi aesthetic is as popular as ever, so it is not uncommon to see Polaroids pinned to walls in trendy art galleries, while with the growing ease of digitising images, Instax and Polaroid are common hashtags on Instagram.

Ted's Guide to Instant PhotographyTed's Guide to Instant Photography

Choosing film for your Instant camera

Ted's Guide to Instant PhotographyTed's Guide to Instant Photography

While with digital photography we make many of our artistic choices in the editing stage, instant photography, like other forms of film photography, require some decisions to be made prior to you taking a photo. We are talking about film choice.

Firstly, you can choose whether you want your photographs to be in black and white or colour, and select your film accordingly. Secondly, both Polaroid and Fujifilm provide a wide range of border choices which includes various colours and even specialised designs, so it's incredibly easy to make stylistic choices and to give your instant photographs fun and creative edge.  You can view some selections from our Instant Film range below.

It is also worth mentioning that both Fujifilm and Polaroid provide a few different ranges of film, which produce instant images of different sizes. These films are not interchangeable, so you must choose the right option for your camera. Here is a list of common instant films and their sizes.

  • Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Film -  54 x 86mm (Picture: 46 x 62mm)
  • Fujifilm Instax Square Instant Film - 62 x 62mm
  • Fujifilm Instax Wide Instant Film - 108 x 86mm (Picture: 99 x 62mm)
  • Polaroid 600/ i-Type - 4.2 x 3.4-inches (Picture: 3.1 x 3-inches)
  • Polaroid Zink Film - 2x3-Inches

Browse Instant Film at Ted's

The bells and whistles

While some instant cameras on the market today bear more than a striking resemblance to the very first models that appeared on the market all those years ago, more advanced models have been packed with unique features that help the camera to compete in the digital age.

Some examples of this include the Fujifilm Instax Evo which pairs a classic design with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to store a digital copy of files created as well as send photos to your camera for printing from your smartphone. Similarly, the Polaroid Now + 600 includes a striking retro design but it has a range of advancements to improve your user experience, including autofocus and a handy collection of lens filters to help you shape the look of your images.

Ted's Guide to Instant PhotographyTed's Guide to Instant Photography

Other advancements of note in the instant photography world include the range of instant printers that utilise instant film and printing technology but forego the photo capturing side, such as the Polaroid Lab Mobile Instant Printer, and the Fujifilm Instax LiPlay which uniquely prints a QR code on its images; this allows you to record an audio clip that can be played back using a smart device.

Pick up your first Instant Camera today

Have you finally decided to give Instant Photography a red hot go? Have a read through our guide of the top 5 Instant Cameras if you need help choosing the best option for your camera bag.

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