This winter I’ve been trying to understand how to use the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 – getting snappy for a winter photography project I was asked to take part in. Throughout the project I’ve learnt a thing or two about instant photography, so I thought I’d share some tips with you, whilst showcasing some of my winter pics!
I’ve always loved the novelty of instant photos – when I was younger I saved up my pennies for weeks until I finally could afford to buy a Polaroid camera. It looked like a breeze block and was just as heavy, but being able to print out instant photos was so much fun – especially in those days (how old am I sounding??) when you had to wait at least 24 hours to get your photos developed.
Luckily photography has moved on, and so has the instant camera. The Instax Mini 8 is pretty compact and comes in a range of super cool pastel shades. Admittedly, it did take me a while to get used to the photographs, which are often under/over exposed and generally of a quality which is not comparable to the images I’m used to taking with my mobile phone or digital camera. But I soon got over that once I started to embrace the ‘instant factor’ and realised that I was completely missing the point.
how to use the fujifilm Instax Mini 8
1. Capture memories, not perfect photos
Instant photography is an expensive hobby. One film of 20 instant films will set you back £12.99, so you won’t be taking images to test out your instant photography skills. I think the best thing about instant photos is that it takes away our obsession with getting the perfect shot – 20 shots later on our digital cameras and we have our Instagam-perfect picture. But the moment has passed and we’ve forgotten what made us want to take the photo in the first place.
Pick your moment for an instant photo and make sure it’s one you want to remember. It doesn’t matter if the photo’s not as good as what you’d take on your SLR, all that matters is that you captured a precise moment in time that was special.
2. Use the brightness adjustment dial
Once you switch on the camera, the camera will automatically determine which setting you need to use depending on your environment and will light the relevant setting. For my first couple of pics I was simply pointing and shooting and my images were coming out over-exposed. Make sure that you turn the brightness adjustment dial to the lit lamp to ensure your photos aren’t too light or too dark. This picture of max in our garden one frosty morning unfortunately didn’t come out quite right!
3. Get in close to your subject
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 photo films are only 62mm x 46mm, so you need to get as close as possible if you don’t want your subject to get lost. Also don’t plan on capturing a lot of detail as the small focal range of the camera just won’t pick it up. As you can see on this photo of our fireplace, I was trying to capture too much and the detail on the crate is completely lost. This up-close photo of the stag cushion on our bed is a much better image.
4. Don’t shoot directly at a reflective surface
The Instax Mini 8 has a built in flash which automatically shoots with every shot. The brightness adjustment dial compensates for this in brighter surroundings, but if you take a shot of a reflective surface the flash will always white out part of your image. As was the case when I took an image of this glass frame on our mantel piece. Instant photo fail.
5. Get crafty with your film!
There are some great craft ideas on Pinterest and the web of cool ways to display your Instax Mini images. I love the idea of creating an instant travel journal on the go, or this DIY photo display frame.
6. be prepared to use one pack of film to learn the ropes
As you’ll have worked out from my winter photo project, you will need at least a handful of images to use as testers before you get to grips with how the camera works. One thing which I did find a little disappointing is the enclosed instructions which take just as long to work out as the camera itself! It can be hard to let yourself press the shutter button when each photo costs 65p, but you’ll need to be prepared to have a play around with your new toy before you start capturing half-decent photos. I’m definitely still learning, so if you have any tips I’d love to hear them!
Do you have an instant camera? Would you add any other tips about how to use the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8?
Disclosure: This Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 was sent to me by Ocean Loans to celebrate our home and garden throughout the winter months.