How To Use Polaroid Camera In 2023? (Tips Explained)

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how to work a polaroid camera

Imagine going on a trip with your friends, taking nice, beautiful pictures there, and having the time of your life. But unfortunately, your mobile runs out of memory space, and you have to delete some of those pictures.

Don’t you wish there was a way of saving those beautiful memories physically? But going to a photo studio to get your pictures printed is a hassle. Don’t you worry because polaroid cameras are here to save the day!

Not sure what a polaroid is? Or how to work a Polaroid camera? No problem, because today I will teach you how to use a Polaroid camera and how you can take stunning pictures with it.

Read this blog till the end to learn what a polaroid camera is and how it works, and how you can take amazing pictures with it and share them with your friends.

What Is A Polaroid Camera?

Polaroids are a type of instant camera that uses self-developing films to create chemically developed prints. Because Polaroid Corporation pioneered and held patents for early generations of instant cameras, these instant cameras became known as Polaroid cameras.

Image of a Polaroid Camera

Polaroid Corporation produced these instant cameras until 2008. In 2008, Polaroid Corporation declared bankruptcy and ended the production of instant cameras and films.

In 2009, the Polaroid brand was acquired by PLR IP Holdings LLC, which used the Polaroid brand to market different instant cameras and accessories related to them.

How Does It Work?

Polaroid cameras work on a principle much similar to traditional analog cameras. A special chemical-covered film is inserted into the camera.

Once you click a picture, one film is placed in front of the camera lens, and the camera shutter opens and allows light to enter. A negative film is exposed to this light.

Image of a Polaroid Camera With a some images

Once the negative is exposed to the light, the shutter closes, and the film is ejected. Now, this is the point where the difference between a traditional analog camera and a Polaroid camera comes in.

A traditional camera film would have to go through different stages of development, whereas the Polaroid cameras have a built-in printer in them, which allows films to be printed instantly.

Polaroid films contain special chemicals that allow these prints to be developed on their own over a few minutes, omitting the entire studio development process.

How To Use The Polaroid Camera: Everything You Need To Know!

The very first thing that I do is prep my camera. I open the lower flap and load my cartridges with the dark side facing up.

A dark slide pops out of the camera. This shows that the camera is working fine and is ready for use. The next step is to wake the camera up.

This depends on the camera model, but most either have an on/off switch, or their flash bar needs to be opened and then closed or in some cases, flipped to start taking pictures.

The next step is to set the exposure on your camera. This also depends on the camera model and the film used. Some films are more sensitive to light than others, and their exposure needs to be reduced.

I usually take a few test pictures first to find the best exposure settings. Now you are ready to click pictures. Stand at least 4 feet from the subject and, once the picture film is printed, cover it from light so that development chemicals can work properly.

10 Polaroid Camera Tips and Tricks

Now let me tell you about some important tips and tricks I use to capture amazing photos on my Polaroid.

  1. I always try to maintain a minimum distance of four feet from the object I am trying to capture. This helps with focusing on the subject.
  2. I always try to center my subject to avoid any distortions.
  3. It will be hard in the beginning, but try not to cover your lens or flash with your fingers.
  4. Sometimes I use the double exposure feature just to be a little creative with my photos.
  5. Always store your films somewhere cold. This keeps the chemical working correctly. But be sure to let the films come to room temperature before you use them.
  6. While shooting, I always try to have the light source behind me. Direct light causes the photos to be blown out.
  7. While shooting in the dark, I stay steady a little longer. This is because the shutter stays open longer in the dark.
  8. Be patient after capturing the picture. It takes around 10-15 minutes for the picture to develop completely.
  9. Try shooting in well-lit environments to get the best results.
  10. Try contrasting subjects with their background.

Is It Worth It To Buy A Polaroid Camera?

Personally, I would totally recommend to everyone that they get themselves a Polaroid camera. For people who like to store their pictures in physical form, Polaroid cameras are a real game-changer.

Image of three polaroid camera boxes

Polaroids can also add an aesthetic look to your home, dorm, or workplace decor. With a Polaroid, I can share my memories with my loved ones in physical form.

Polaroid cameras are much easier to use and much more convenient than traditional analog cameras. And their compact size makes them perfect for carrying around in your bag.

Few more readings:


All in all, Polaroids are a fun way of sharing physical memories with your loved ones and adding a little aesthetic and retro look to your pictures.

I use these Polaroid prints to decorate my work desk and my room. This way, I get to enjoy all my memories over and over again – with the added aesthete!

Personally, I really like the compact and portable design of these cameras. Carrying them around is super convenient, which is a big plus!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

#Q1- What is the best way to take Polaroids?

Answer: The best way to use a Polaroid would be to use it from a minimum distance of 4 feet. Keep your subject in a well-lit environment and at the center to avoid distortions. And protect your prints from light, so they can properly develop.

#Q2- What to do with a Polaroid picture after it prints?

Answer: Once the picture is printed, cover it with a dark piece of paper or keep it in a pocket to protect it from external light. This will help the print develop properly without any distortions.

#Q3- Do you shake a Polaroid picture?

Answer: Shaking your polaroids after they are printed may seem very intriguing and cool, but the manufacturer highly advises against doing so.

Shaking polaroids does not help develop the film quicker by any means, and in fact, doing so ruins the quality of the picture.

#Q4- How to use a Polaroid Now camera?

Answer: Using a Polaroid Now camera is the same as any other Polaroid camera. Simply turn your camera on. Insert the film pack.

If you’re shooting in dull light, turn on the flash. Position yourself at least 2 feet away from the subject. Aim and click your picture. Remove the print and let it develop.

#Q5- How to use Polaroid camera settings?

Answer: Polaroids offer a number of aperture settings. The aperture determines how much light enters the camera. If you’re planning on taking brighter pictures, go for a larger aperture. If you want your pictures to be more sharp and crisp, then go for a smaller aperture.

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  • Celebrating childhood in photographs and emotions through photos. My aim is to transfer all my photography experience by sharing useful camera-related guides and individual reviews so you can get an idea about everything before buying.

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