I am by no means an expert on film photography if anything I know how blessed I am by the accessibility of digital photography and the tech that already exists in my pocket. The DSRL camera I had years ago is outmatched by my phone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss film. So as an early Christmas gift I got to pick the camera of my choice.
Here’s a record of my first ten shots, and tips to help you not waste that limited film.
The instax mini 9 flash resets every time
This camera is super low tech and because of that when you push the lens in it also doesn’t keep what settings you had and automatically is set to indoors once again. That’s why those two white-washed photos happened.
The viewfinder is a liar
In the second blunder of a photo above, I had lined up a shot that would have been a top to bottom flowers but since the viewfinder is higher and to the right, every photo you take is up lower and to the right of what you saw.
Focus on what now?
There’s no availability to change where the camera focuses. Mix that in with the lighting and viewfinder placement and it’s often tricky to capture the details you really wanted. It’s best to take photos of an object a bit in front of you with a landscape in the back.
I tend not to use flash because I don’t like the reflection it can cast but because the camera doesn’t allow you to turn it off you always have to consider what the flash will do. Christmas lights? Faded. Glass ornaments? Weird black dots. While you can’t turn the flash on, I did find an article of tips about this flash specifically.
Go on a photoshoot
I enjoyed this camera the most when I just went to the park and walked around. For the forgetful flash setting problems I mentioned, the suggested setting normally does work out well. The camera comes with tips so you can play around with it but I love this trio of photos and I think I’d love most that are taken with similar lighting and distance to my object which is about 3 feet or more.
Leftovers are important too
The photo on the left I didn’t take. I actually found it on my honeymoon just in the wild, but it gave me the bug. Knowing what I do about this camera this photo was probably a mess up given how white it is but I love it. Send your not completely horrible mess ups to someone in the mail or leave them for a stranger to find.
On the right is the empty film cartridge, pull out the black plastic bits and black tape on the bottom and it holds a dozen photos and even can stand on its own as a frame. Given that this sort of thing is usually sold as an accessory it’s a free bonus.
In retrospect, I might have gotten a bit higher end one, but there’s value in stripping everything back and making me pause to think about the shot and then hold my breath and hope it turns out just like I planned. Since none of these are going to rival a serious professional camera maybe we shouldn’t pretend they will and simply have fun with film again. With you want to get experimental, find one of this type that will easily allow you to do double exposures.
Check out bags in person
I ordered all of this online on a Black Friday sale, so when I ordered the bag I didn’t get to see much of it besides what it looked like. And it does look cute, I’ll give it that. It’s just extremely badly designed. To take a photo while in the case one has to do this.
I already feel silly enough taking photos in public, this would end me. You are able to remove the front flap and it had snap on clips which don’t make it easy swap back and forth. Magnets. The solution would be put magnets instead.
I know this camera is treated like a toy, but I’m an adult which means I want to keep my toys nice. It’s definitely a gift that is going to keep giving as I load in that second pack of film.