Polaroid Beginners Guide

When Polaroid announced that they were going out of business in 2008, it really caught me off guard. At that point I had lost most of my passion for photography and had some expensive digital cameras collecting dust in my closet. Immediately I went to Trademe (New Zealand's version of Ebay) and bought some film, and a few days later a camera which I drove a total of 6 hours hours to pick up! 

When I popped the film in the camera, the first picture I took was of a free range chicken from the side of the road. I had to stalked to the chicken for about 5 minutes and I am sure I looked like a completed fool to passersby. The camera made a lot of noise and then spit out an off white piece of plastic. I held the print and my girlfriend and I watched it slowly change form. I remember we both declared "That's Amazing!" when saw the chicken appear on the film. In my 20 years of photography, I had never taken a Polaroid picture, and I was hooked.

Though I shot 35mm film when I was younger, it lost its appeal because I couldn't see the picture until I got it developed. Though I had digital camera, I almost never printed the photo - almost destined to remain digital format. The pictures I took were far from perfect, but they had character. They were grainy, occasionally blurry and dreamlike - far from the sterile precision of digital photography. 

What I have here is a rough guide to taking Polaroid pictures. Its absolutely free to use and print out. I can't say that I am Polaroid expert nor even a professional photographer, but I have compiled here everything thing that I've learned since taking that first Polaroid shot. This manual isn't intended to be ueber technical, but hopefully its a pragmatic guide to start you on your instant film journey.

Hopefully most of the basics are covered and I've tried to provide as many links as possible to additional resources.