The First Ten Photos – (instax mini 9 tips and review)

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.

Tip #1:
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.

Tip #2:
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.

Tip #3:
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.

Tip #4:
Flash a-ah!

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.

Tip #5:
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.

Tip #6:
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.

Final verdict

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.

Bonus tip
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.

New Year, New Books

A lot of people will make lists full of self help books around this time of year. And those books can be great, but at lot of times they aren’t really that life changing so instead of filling the little free library with books that might slightly changing someone’s point of view I decided to think of any book fiction or non-fiction that drastically changed how I go about things about life and the world around me. No need to count down from ten, because this short and sweet list won’t keep you long!

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

You know how titles are meant to encapsulate the whole book’s theme? Boil everything down to a moment or message? Nothing does that as well as More Happy Than Not. It’s a beautiful and sad book about identity and reminds me of a YA version of The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. But unlike the story, I actually repeat this title back to myself on rough days. I remind myself if I’m more happy than not, then my troubles are just troubles. There isn’t anything that needs fixing.

The Dictator’s Handbook

Did I give you whiplash with that sharp turn? This non-fiction book subtitled Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics is something I think back on a lot these days. Every time something weird and “un-presidented” happens I think about the stats laid out in this book and what it can mean for (us). If you can’t afford a copy right now, check out these two video summary of sorts: Rules for Rules and Death & Dynasties.  No matter what party you are, no matter what country you are from this book will change how you view political power and how those with it gain it and often keep it.

This chart stuck with me the most after reading the book. Maybe it was timing, maybe it was wishful thinking. Either way I find it such a simple and interesting stat collection. Other gems in the book is discussing how the Art of War shouldn’t be your reference for non-war things.