A polaroid camera is quite a new addition to my travel kit. As a travel photographer, I already travel with a heap of lenses, bodies, filters, a tripod and more, so I never expected to want to add yet another piece of equipment to my bag. Yet the Polaroid camera has in the last few months become a staple of my camera bag. I find it useful in so many ways, and it’s also a fun way to capture memories on a format that’s not a heavy DSLR. I’ve noticed other photographers and Instagrammers have started using a Polaroid too, so if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, here are some reasons why I think that traveling with a Polaroid is so great, and some tips about which one to get if you’d like to try one too!
It’s a great way to give something back to people you take portraits of!
This is the reason I started traveling with a Polaroid camera and the reason I continue to today. As a travel photographer, I often take portraits of people around the world. Often, these people have never been photographed before, or don’t have any photographs of themselves or their families. I have been asked many times before if I can mail a print of the photo to them, and sometimes if they live in a remote village, then it’s just not possible. This is where the Polaroid camera comes in so useful! After I’ve taken a picture of them on my DSLR camera, I can take one on my Polaroid too, one which they can keep forever. The look on their face is often priceless. People can be so completely thrilled with the images!
Kids LOVE it!
Seriously, if adults love receiving photos of themselves, kids love it even more. First of all, they are completely bemused by this white card I have given them. Then slowly, the photo appears, along with their smiles. It’s not long before all their friends want one, and then they want the camera to take photos of each other too! Sometimes it can be dangerous (that film is pricey!) but you just can’t beat the smiles on their faces when another white slide rolls out of the camera.
It can be used as a creative way to create photographs
Another way to use a Polaroid is as a creative tool to make a more interesting photograph. I love the example by Polkadot passport in the Instagram below. She’s taken a place which is quite over photographed, and used a Polaroid to make the shot unique and interesting. It’s a simple picture but really effective!
A post shared by Nicola Easterby ✈️ (@polkadotpassport) on
It’s a perfect print in your pocket to remember great moments of your travels
Nowadays we take most of our photos on digital cameras or on our phones. This means often we never see an image as a print, something we can keep forever or give to new friends to remember each other by. A polaroid is great for this; it can be kept in your wallet or your diary and every time you find it, you’ll remember that moment or that person.
A post shared by Melissa Findley (@melissafindley) on
Creating a wall of Polaroid prints is a cool way to bring your travels home and create beauty from it
When you get back home from a trip, not only will you have hundreds of JPEG’s to sort through, but you’ll also have a pocket full of polaroids. I love displaying mine on my wall in grids. It makes great room decoration and reminds me of my travels everytime I look at it.
What kind should I get?
There are several kinds of Polaroid cameras on the market today, the most common being the Fujifilm Instax models.
Instax Neo Classic90 – This is the kind of Polaroid camera I have and love! It’s small and light and the prints are portrait in size and nice quality. The camera has different modes (landscape, people etc.) and you also have the option to control whether or not you want the flash to fire. This model costs around £120/€137. Get it here!
Instax Mini 8 – This is one of the most popular models on the market, not only because it’s cheap but because it comes in a range of cool, fun colours. While you don’t have as many modes as the Neo Classic, nor can you control the flash, for this price it’s the perfect model for someone venturing into the world of Polaroid cameras! It only costs around £60/€70. Get it here!
Polaroid Z2300 – Another model on the market is the Polaroid Z2300. I LOVE the look of this one but I haven’t been able to try it out to test the quality. It’s very cool looking though, and small too. Another great thing about this one is you can put an SD card inside so you can keep digital copies of your shots too! It starts from £110/€125. Get it here!
Go Vintage? The first Polaroid camera I ever got my hands on was an old vintage model I bought on eBay. It’s also possible to pick these up from your local flea market, vintage store or charity shops. The quality of these can vary and make sure you check you can still buy film for them!
Do you have a polaroid camera? We’d love to see links to your shots in the comments below!