Traveling with Instax

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I’ve been considering the many positives of having my instax camera ever since I got it and especially since Hawaii, which was the first time that I traveled with it. Before I left I had done a ton of research on the camera  but I didn’t really find tips and tricks that I was looking for to take my instax photos to the next level. I’ll be honest, this camera takes a lot of practice to get used to (especially with the permanent flash) but I think that it is one that is really fun and has a good outcome if the photographer knows how to use it. When I went on vacation there were a few things that I had to think about while carrying it on the plane such as needing a bit of extra space and asking to have it (and extra film) checked through security by hand, but other than those minor details, I can’t really think of any negatives.

So whether you’re traveling with instax or just picking up this camera for the first time, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind.

  • Make sure the instax photo comes out well before shooting the next one. I think this was one of my biggest mistakes. With film that costs ~$1 / shot, it’s a real bummer when shots don’t come out as you had imagined. This happened to me when we were at Diamond Head and now I have no instax from it because I just quickly put them into my bag to develop.
    • Trick: instead of throwing these shots away, I used the over-exposed shots as supplements to my minibook by just writing on them with a non-smearable marker.
  • Prevent exposure to light as soon as the photo comes out by shielding the photo with your hand. A few of my photos have not fully developed or had reddening near the edges and I have read that sun exposure can be the problem – better to be safe than sorry!
  • Don’t try going macro unless you purchase a special attachment, the image will come out blurry  e v e r y  time. Shooting 2-4 feet from your subject will have the best results.
  • Aim the camera slightly lower so that your subject will be centered, since the viewfinder does not align perfectly.
  • Make sure that you are adjusting the setting on the top of your camera based on the amount of light in the photo. Ignoring this toggle can quickly take a good image to a useless one. Once you get the hang of it, you could try play around with to to purposefully over or under expose, though it is fairly complicated with this camera.
  • Shooting right at the sun or something reflecting the sun will result in a black spot in the photo.
  • Use the FIFO (First In First Out) method for your film. This means that the first film you purchased should be the first film that you use.
  • This should be a no brainer – keep your camera clean and dry. This meant that I had to forgo taking my camera to the beach on windy days.
    • Trick: I bought a wristlet strap for mine – best accessory purchase ever. I didn’t have to worry about setting the camera down or little hands dropping it.
  • Be willing and ready for people to comment on your “alien” camera. Ever since getting my DSLR, I have had MANY people ask if I could take their group picture. I think people just see the size of the camera and assume that I can take photographs. Well, this brought out a whole new ball game! I had tons of people asking questions and telling me how cool or how hipster I was. HA!
  • Since they print out instantly, they are perfect if you are scrapbooking or making a travel journal as you go.
  • If having another camera to carry around isn’t really your cup of tea, try out this awesome new printer that prints instax from your phone!

I have quickly found this camera to be irreplaceable when looking for quick prints and fun additions to any travel journal or scrapbook. Here are some more links if you are interested in reading more of my initial thoughts or about my travel journal.


Instax Photos


For my birthday, my parents gave me the Instax mini 7s camera. Needless to say, it’s my new BFF. I have taken less than 10 photographs with it, yet I love it so much. Before I started using it, I checked out a couple blogs but all were written by fairly experienced users, mostly giving general photography tips, instead of camera specific ones.

One thing I realized very quickly is that what you see through the view finder isn’t exactly what you will see in the printed picture because the lens and view finder don’t line up perfectly. This isn’t too much of a problem, but something to consider especially while photographing people. I can say that it is defiantly awesome to have pictures right away (perfect for mini books—yay, I can’t wait)!

Anyways, here are a few that I have taken with the first batch of film:


This was the first one, extremely blurry because I was too close and a bit over exposed. At this point, I wasn’t aware that the flash was going to go off each time I took the picture. An odd feature if you ask me, but it does give exposure-like settings that allow you to switch between indoor, cloudy, sunny, and really sunny.


This was the second one. More in focus but pretty dark this time. I was indoors with a light on and the flash too!


This one has a glare from the flash, after this I read that a lot of people cover the flash with tape or their hand to get less burn out in the middle of the photo.


The first one I took outside. Love it, love the colors!


Another one that’s way too bright. For this, I accidentally left it on indoor mode even though the subject was in full sun. Silly me! Still really interesting turn out and I don’t hate it.


So I think I have the outdoor, day time photos down. This is the quad at Mizzou. So pretty!


This last one was taken during sunset. It came out a bit darker than I was expecting but I still think its pretty neat! I also took one of some of my sorority sisters, it turned out cute and a little off center! Ah well. Another I took of a lamp but I wasn’t close enough so it didn’t turn out as I had expected!

All in all, I’m loving it. It’s so much fun and since I have had a bit of practice I know what to expect next time. Obviously I made some rookie mistakes but I’m glad I used the first pack of film to try things out and I definitely can’t wait to keep shooting with it!