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.