If you’ve ever gotten around to following some of the famous ‘influencers’ on Instagram, you’re likely to have felt a tinge of jealousy with the way some of them are able to capture such beautiful imagery with seemingly so little effort. A lot of this boils down to their individual creativity, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to shoot awesome pictures yourself.
In fact, capturing awe-inspiring images is something you can very much practice on a daily basis, and with the help of an instant camera like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 or the Instax Mini 9, it’ll be much more fun to see the results of your efforts through the instant prints these cameras deliver.
In this piece, we’ll fill you in on some of the ways you can make the most of your Instax Mini 8 or Instax Mini 9 camera.
Avoid Exposing Your Film Packs
One of the biggest mistakes that new users of Instax Mini cameras make is to open the rear compartment cover after they have already loaded a film pack into it. Never, ever do this because doing so will expose the films inside, rendering them unusable.
Trust Your Camera’s Brightness and Aperture Settings—But Not All the Time
Your Instax Mini 8 or Instax Mini 9 camera can automatically choose from any of the 5 different brightness and aperture settings depending on the condition of the environment: Very Sunny (f/32), Sunny (f/22), Cloudy (f/16), Indoors (f/12.7) and High Key (brightest setting).
Most of the time, it’s safe to trust the setting that your Instax camera recommends since it can smartly detect the lighting condition for any given scene. However, high-contrast scenes like those created by a very bright sky and a darker foreground can confuse your camera.
It is probably best to avoid taking pictures of such scenes in the first place since Instax cameras are not capable of performing equalizing techniques such as high-dynamic-range imaging. However, if you still choose to shoot such scenes and your camera mistakenly opts for a setting like “Very Sunny” because of the bright sky, you should probably try dialing down to a bigger aperture to avoid underexposing the dark parts of the scene. For instance, consider choosing “Cloudy” or “Indoors” instead.
Use the High Key Setting for Conveying Mirth and Optimism
High key lighting is typically achieved in traditional photography by using a lot of different studio lights since one aims for images that are soft, with bright and high lights, and with the smallest amounts of blacks and mid-tones possible. This imaging technique is mostly used in professional photography to impart ethereal, whimsical, lighthearted, or youthful quality to images.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about buying expensive equipment when you have an Instax Mini 8 or an Instax Mini 9 since these cameras come with an integrated high key setting. Try it out whenever you take general portraitures, pictures of babies and dogs, fashion and beauty shots, and images of your friends laughing.
Practice Your Composition
Needless to say, the Instax Mini 8 and Mini 9 cameras are very nice instant cameras. However, they are quite limited in terms of what they can actually do technically and photographically since users can’t really control much of anything else except the aperture size—and hence—the exposure.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, since this limitation will force you to be creative in terms of other things—particularly when it comes to composition. As such, we encourage you as a user to get creative and experiment with various compositions.
Try including a focal point or placing an interesting subject in the foreground. Follow the rule of thirds, and use leading lines that direct the eyes to a main subject. Take photos of your subjects from different angles, or try to frame your subject with elements found in the environment, e.g. foliage or tree branches to frame a house in the distance. There are practically endless numbers of ways to compose your photographs to make them more interesting.
Use Different Types of Instax Films
Finally, do consider the many types of films available for the Instax Mini 8 and the Instax Mini 9 cameras. While the classic white border films spark nostalgia for the Polaroid years of old, the Instax brand offers so much more when it comes to color, patterns, and designs for its Instax mini films.
The film variants you can choose from include monochrome, single colors, stripes, stained glass, rainbow, air mail, and films featuring popular animation characters. All these allow you to create more interesting prints that you can share with your friends or keep in your scrapbooks and albums for posterity.
Your Instax Mini 8 or Instax Mini 9 camera is a powerful tool that can help you unleash your creativity in photography. Make sure that you’re using it right so you can make the most of your new gadget!