Polaroid Camera Tips and Tricks for Perfect Pics
Taking photos is a great way to share memories with your friends and family. However, in this digital age it’s rare to actually have physical copies of a picture. Nor are you able to have them right away. That’s where the polaroid camera comes in. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about this instant device, how it works, and some tips and tricks for getting the perfect set up.
What is a Polaroid Camera?
A polaroid camera is an instant camera that uses self-developing film to create a chemically developed print shortly after taking the picture. “Polaroid” is the name of the brand that created consumer-friendly cameras that could be used by the public. However, most people call any instant camera a polaroid regardless of its manufacturer. It’s like how we refer to petroleum jelly as “Vaseline”, bandages as “band aids”, and tissues as “Kleenex”. The words also refers to the individual pictures that the camera rolls out.
The polaroid camera was at its most profitable in the 90s, but saw a disparaging fall in sales in the 00s. But, thanks to the ever changing cyclic nature of fashion and trends, it saw popularity again thanks to its promotion from influencers and VSCO girls alike.
How Does It Work?
So we know what polaroid cameras are, but how do they work? Here’s a step by step of what’s happening when you snap a picture:
- To set up the camera, a pack of sheets of plastic negatives covered in reactive chemicals is loaded in. When the picture is taken, one “negative” is rolled to, and held in front of, the camera lens for an instant.
- Polaroid cameras work like all analog cameras. When a picture is snapped the camera’s shutter opens to let in a pattern of light that reflects the photographed image. The negative is exposed to this light which is covered in three layers of silver compounds. Each of these chemicals absorb a different primary colour of light: red, blue, or green.
- The rollers then eject the photo. Whilst doing so, they also press down to release the reagent chemical held in the white borders of the film. This chemical covers the surface and causes the reaction that produces the photo.
- Once out of the camera, it takes a while for the film to turn from black to grey to colour. Polaroid advises against shaking the film during this process.
Tips and Trick for Perfect Polaroid Pictures
Polaroid cameras can be quite fickle. It’s possible to capture pictures which are too shadowy or too blown out from overexposure to light. Here are some tips to make the most of your limited film supply:
- Store you film somewhere cold. This keeps the ingredients working properly. Be sure to let it return to room temperature before you use it.
- Light and bright colours are you friend. This type of film responds the best in well-lit environments and with the use of flash. Some instant cameras have certain light dials that will light up with the cameras suggested setting. It’s best to pay attention to what your polaroid camera tells you to do.
- Shoot with the light behind you. Direct light is what blows out the photo.
- Keep steady, especially in the dark. This has to do with shutter speed: its open longer in darker settings.
- Embrace the uniqueness of each photo! No two polaroids will be the same — lean into the unpredictability.
- Be patient with the picture. It takes about 10-15 minutes for a coloured photo to emerge. While this is happening keep the picture somewhere warm and shield it from light until the photo has fully developed. You can keep it in your pocket or face down on a clean, dry surface. Remember, as tempting as it is, don’t shake your polaroids!