Should I shake a Polaroid Picture?

Today we are tackling an urban legend that originated in the popular OutKast video “Hey Ya!” where Big Boi and André 3000 are singing: “Shake it like a Polaroid picture…”

But, does that actually make sense? Or does it affect the developing process and even destroy your precious picture?

We did some research and now we are able to present you the cold hard truth.

But first, we have to admit, that shaking Polaroid pictures seems natural and is a fun thing to do. And actually, it made sense in the early days of Polaroid where there was the so called peel-apart film.

Polaroids - To Shake Or Not To Shake?

Peel-apart Polaroid film

Nowadays we us integral film. This is the kind of film we are using and you are probably familiar with. Mainly because the pictures have the iconic white Polaroid frame.

Polaroids - To Shake Or Not To Shake?

Integral film

Peel-apart film left the camera wet from the chemicals and had to air-dry – so shaking actually fastened the drying process. Which was a good thing.

Integral film on the other hand isn’t exposed to air at all. Your image is developing behind a clear plastic window. Therefore shaking doesn’t help speeding up the development process. It actually – if done in an excessive way – might ruin your beautiful shot!

Polaroid even had to write a statement when OutKast was leading the charts in 2004. You can read it here.

Conclusion: We are using Polaroid Originals instant film. For this kind of film we recommend the following:

  • Take the shot. Your Polaroid picture is leaving the camera.
  • Without the need of haste put the picture in your bag or in a box or something like that. Try to avoid bending the picture. Read more about how to protect your pictures from sunlight
  • Please also try to limit the pictures exposure to direct sunlight, as that might affect the outcome of your picture.
  • Your picture will be fully developed after about 20-40 minutes. Development time is affected by temperature and will be shorter if temperatures are high.

Now you can tell everyone: No Polaroid picture shaking please. But if you cannot resist – please shake it with care! 😉