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How To Take the Perfect Polaroid Picture

Don't want to waste your film on sloppy photos? Follow these tips on how to take the perfect Polaroid picture every time!

By Penny NewtonPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

I absolutely adore my Polaroid camera. Not only are the pictures fun to take, but I love displaying the photos all over my room. I try to bring my camera almost everywhere I go in the best camera bags for traveling in case I come across something that's worth taking a photo of.

I'll admit, I was very confused on how to take photos with my Polaroid camera in the beginning. Since it's not digital and doesn't feature a viewfinder, I had to manually do everything. My friend, Becca, also has a Polaroid camera and I asked her for tips on how to take the perfect Polaroid picture. Her photos always come out amazing, so I wasn't shy with the myriad of questions I threw at her.

If you just bought your own Polaroid camera or still don't know how to properly work it, consider trying out any of these accurate tips to make you a Polaroid pro!

Polaroid makes more than one type of camera, believe it or not. There’s the Polaroid type 600 series, the Polaroid type SX-70, the Image/Spectra cameras, and so many more. The folding SX-70 type is the most classic and elegant design that actually inspired Steve Jobs when creating Apple. The 600 series are chunkier and easier to control; they’re great for beginners, too.

This Polaroid camera, the OneStep 2 Analog Instant Film Camera, is one of the classics. It’s a retro camera with instant photography featuring lens that focuses from two feet to infinity. This camera allows you to snap high-quality images and its self-timer function helps you take group photos! It has a 60-day battery life and works with films Polaroid 600 and I-Type, making it one of the best instant cameras to buy right now.

Always take your photos close up.

Since Polaroids don't have a viewfinder where you can see how your photos will come out, you want to know that your photos are going to come out clear before taking the picture. Learning how to take the perfect Polaroid picture definitely involves close-ups to get clear images. Make sure you read up on simple macro photography tips for beginners.

If you take photos of people from a far distance, you wouldn't be able to see the subjects clearly. Remember, Polaroid cameras aren't as advanced as the most recent digital cameras. In order to get clear photos of your face, don't be shy to go up close and get personal!

Manually crop your images.

When you're using a Polaroid camera, you can't digitally crop your photos at all since they're being printed on the spot. Try to avoid areas in the frame that you wouldn't want to be in the photo by setting the frame directly to your liking. If there's someone in the background that you wouldn't want in the photo, move the frame so the person isn't in the photo.

You have to manually crop your photos during the process of taking them. If you want your photos to come out on point, make sure you know what image you're exactly taking because there's no editing or cropping later on!

There are so many different types of Polaroid film that you can use depending on the type of camera you own. Sure, the white film is the classic kind, but there’s a wide variety of film you can play around with. It doesn’t hurt to be different and get creative with your Polaroid photography!

There's film that looks like it's constructed from washi (decorative Japanese paper) tape, films with adorable swirly doodles, others with cool filters, and much more. If you're looking for advice on how to take the perfect Polaroid picture with the Polaroid OneStep 2 camera, this 36-pack of i-Type film is definitely what you need. Not only does the pack give you a hefty amount of film, but there are films in both color and black and white!

Store all film in the fridge.

If you're looking for tips on how to take the perfect Polaroid picture, it's highly recommended that you store all of your film in the fridge. I know, storing your film in the fridge is weird, but trust me, it's the only way to preserve the life of your film. Film can expire and the only way to preserve them is by storing them in the fridge.

Color film is usually the one that you really want to put away in the fridge to maintain the colors; not so much the black and white. Take out the film from the fridge and keep it in room temperature for an hour before you want to use it.

Lighting plays a major role.

Lighting definitely plays a huge role in how to take the perfect Polaroid picture. You want to properly balance out the lighting in your frame because Polaroid cameras can't adjust the lighting for you.

If you're taking photos outside when the sun's rays are beaming, then too much lighting comes into your photos and the light blocks out the subject. You want to position your subject in the frame and make sure that the lighting is balanced out where it's not too little or too much.

Be careful when handling printed images.

Once you've taken the photo and it printed on film, you don't want to grip the part of the film that's been printed on. You can easily ruin the photo if you place your fingers on the freshly-printed film. The second your Polaroid camera finished printing your photo, grip the part of the film that hasn't been printed on. You also want to set it aside to properly dry. Shaking or waving the film can actually damage the image, despite the popular image of "shaking like a Polaroid picture."

Photography compositions are important, too.

Learning how to take the perfect Polaroid picture also depends on the use of photography compositions. Photography compositions like frame within frame, leading lines, texture, patterns, and everything else can make your Polaroid images turn out professional.

You have to have precise control of where your subject will be placed in the frame as well as everything else that will be in the photo. Since the Polaroid camera frame is small, you want to be able to capture everything within it clearly!

If the background is appealing, capture it!

Lastly, if the background fits well with your subject, capture it in the frame. When learning how to take the perfect Polaroid picture, get a good background because it can tie the whole photo together. If you're traveling to diverse areas and want to take a photo of your subject in a really nice environment, capture it all.

Don't take the photo if the background is terrible, like if the background is too crowded with people. Since the frame of the film is pretty small, you wouldn't want your photos to be overly crowded with a ton of subjects.

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About the Creator

Penny Newton

Penny Newton: Dreams of honeymooning on the moon. Owns about 20 galaxy dresses and wishes to be probed by aliens one day.

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