How to use the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 – a winter photography project

how to use the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

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.

How to use Fujifil Instax Mini 8Luckily 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.

Tips for using Instax Mini 8

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!

How to take good photos with Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

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.

How to use the Fujifilm polaroid camera

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.

Winter polaroid picture project with Instax Mini 8

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? 

Tips for taking better photos with an Instax Mini 8. Read this before you get snapping!Picture examples with 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.

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19 Comment

  1. Jodie Allen at Makeup to Motherhood
    February 12, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I love the idea of these cameras so much, the instant polaroid pictures look so cute. However I have never actually bought one as the refills are so expensive and I know I would run through 20 shots in a day. #PicknMix
    Jodie Allen at Makeup to Motherhood recently posted…Haircare RoutineMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      February 12, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      I do love to have it as a bit of a novel addition – the films are definitely expensive though. Hopefully I will get better at using it soon so I won’t waste so many shots! 😉 x

  2. wendy
    February 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    I would love one of these, I have always loved these kind of cameras, we had big one when I was little. I am rubbish at getting photos printed so it would be amazing to have them seconds after they were taken. I think I would probably go through a film in about an hour the amount of photos I take. You have taken some really gorgeous photos with it, really pretty shots.xx #picknmix
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    1. Mum in Brum
      February 12, 2016 at 11:18 pm

      Thanks Wendy. It is so much fun to have an instant camera – but yep it’s so easy to get through the shots, it’s a shame they’re so expensive! xx

  3. sarah admissions of a working mother
    February 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Always loved polaroid instant photos, great for weddings! This looks like a good one! #picknmix

    1. Mum in Brum
      February 17, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      I’d definitely recommend it – even if only for the reason that it looks cute! ha x

  4. Robyn
    February 13, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    This would be a really great hobby to get into. I never really thought before about how different using an instant camera is to using a digital camera. I bet there are some really cool things you can do with them, it’s like a whole different media. Love the last couple of photos you’ve shared in your post, they’re really interesting to look at because they’re well-taken but not in any way ‘fake’ like many digital pics 🙂
    Robyn recently posted…THAT TIME I LOST THE WAR ON POOPMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      February 17, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks Robyn. I do like how you can’t ‘fake it’ with an instant camera – Instagram for instants would look a whole lot different without all of that editing! xx

  5. My Mummy Likes
    February 17, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I love these cameras, would always love to try one out but don’t think I would keep up with buying the refills. Great review. x
    My Mummy Likes recently posted…An Update from Baby S // 9 weeks oldMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      February 17, 2016 at 11:01 am

      I know what you mean, I haven’t bought a refill yet! x

  6. Lindsay At Newcastle Family Life
    February 17, 2016 at 9:32 am

    My daughter got a one of these cameras for Christmas, in blue. We have not really used it yet but these are some great tips for when she does get around to using it xx #sharewithme
    Lindsay At Newcastle Family Life recently posted…Other Bloggers Family Lives Featuring North East Family FunMy Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      February 17, 2016 at 11:00 am

      I do love the pretty colours they come in – such a cool Christmas present. Hope she enjoys using it xx

  7. Janine
    February 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    I have the same camera just the pink pastel version of it. I got it for Christmas. It takes beautiful images but sometimes it can be hit and miss. I am still learning though. I am hoping to use it at my wedding.
    Janine recently posted…Siblings {February}My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      February 22, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Yep, I definitely found that it could be hit and miss. I imagine it would be great to take to a wedding for those ‘unstaged’ pics that you’ll treasure forever x

  8. Stephanie Couch
    February 18, 2016 at 7:13 am

    I used to love cameras like this when I was younger, my photos were awful but like you said they were actual moments plus as I took less photos, the ones I took meant more to me.

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x
    Stephanie Couch recently posted…Photos of Cornwall – Mummy TravelsMy Profile

  9. Jenny
    February 23, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    What a lovely review. I have wondered how good these are. Love the old fashion captures. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great roundup! #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Baking, half term, and the kids’ first apronsMy Profile

  10. Ju
    May 14, 2016 at 10:42 am

    This is really helpful! I bought it a couople of days ago and my pictures aren’t clean enough. When I aimed to take a picture of a shell It already looks like a potatoe… Well, I’ll do my best to improve my skills by taking instant photographies! Tha,k you!

    1. Mum in Brum
      May 15, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      So glad it’s helpful – I found it it quite tricky in the beginning and it’s difficult when you don’t want to waste lots of film practicing – good luck with your photography!

  11. Dan
    October 22, 2016 at 5:14 am

    thanks a lot for the tips,
    regarding the photos’ brightness – I’m not sure I fully understood your recommendation. The pictures my kid is taking tend to be too dark. How can we change the settings in order to improve that? thanks again

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