What is a parallax error and how can I work around it?

 

Today’s tip is will teach you about the parallax error, what it is and how to work around it. The Polaroid 600 type camera will take the picture through the lens, but you’ll see the scene through the viewfinder next to the lens. This results in a so-called parallax error. This error is bigger the closer you are to your subject, it’s less visible the more far away you are.

Polaroid Photo-Tip 6 - The Parallax Error

Polaroid 600-type camera

Polaroid Photo-Tip 6 - The Parallax Error

Parallax error

If you are for example framing your subject in the middle of the viewfinder, your camera in fact “sees” it closer to the left, upper corner. To work around that we recommend avoiding full frontal framing of your subject. Rather go for a side angle. You could also frame the subject a little bit more to the left, leaving space on the right side of the viewfinder. Another note: Your camera doesn’t show you the full scene it’ll capture in the viewfinder. It’ll add a little bit on all sides. This makes the parallax error seem smaller.

In short: We think it’s very hard to successfully work around the parallax error. Our tip: Don’t worry too much about it – rather embrace the imperfection 🙂

Watch our video for more info on the parallax error:

 

Check out our other tips:

How to prevent blurry and shaky pictures from happening

 

Today’s tip is about how to avoid blurry Polaroids. Hold the camera steady until the picture leaves through the exit slot. This is especially important when there isn’t much light available. In dim light the camera shutter stays open longer than in bright light. Any movement (of the camera) while the shutter is open will result in a blurred picture.

We therefore recommend holding the camera in your left hand, your palm on the bottom of the camera.

This will simulate a tripod and give your camera extra stability. Be careful to not block the film exit slot at the front of the camera! Press the “flash override shutter button” from the bottom. There’s the most space for your finger!

Polaroid Photo-Tip 5 - How to NOT Blur Your Pictures

This is how you should hold a Polaroid 600-type camera

Pressing the shutter at a Polaroid camera

Press the shutter button the way it is depicted

Watch the video for more tips on how to avoid blurry Polaroids:

 

Check out our other tips:

Shooting Polaroids when it’s cold

 

Today’s tip is about what to do when it’s cold outside. When it’s cold outside (below 13 degrees Celsius or 55 degrees Fahrenheit) it is crucial to warm your camera and your pictures. You can achieve this by carrying the camera inside your coat (preferable) or in your bag.

In addition we highly recommend putting the Polaroid picture as close to your body as possible once it left the camera, at least your coat’s inner pocket.

Be careful to not bend the picture. The warmer you keep the picture the better the colors and contrast will be.

Here are a two samples of what can happen when you do not warm your pictures:

Polaroid Photo-Tip 4 - Shooting in Cold Weather
Polaroid Photo-Tip 4 - Shooting in Cold Weather

The following picture shows that even in winter it’s totally possible to create beautiful Polaroids:

Polaroid Photo-Tip 4 - Shooting in Cold Weather

Watch our video to learn more about how to shoot great Polaroids on cold days:

 

Check out our other tips:

How to shoot Polaroids when it’s hot outside

 

Today’s tip is about what to do when it’s hot outside. When it’s hot outside (more than 28 degrees Celsius or 83 degrees Fahrenheit) we recommend keeping the picture out of the sunlight and/or at a cool place (i.e. in the film box next to a cold beverage in your bag) once it exited the camera for development. This will help minimizing unwanted orange or red tinted pictures.

Here are a few samples:

 

Check out our other tips:

How to get the correct exposure on a Polaroid 600 camera?

 

Today’s tip is about getting the correct exposure. Your exposure for pictures without flash is set by an automatic electric eye from your camera. It defines the shutter speed and lens opening according to the light conditions.

If the scene is unevenly lit, then the picture will be unevenly exposed, being either too bright or too dark.

Try to take pictures where the lighting is even – about as bright on the background as on the subject.

If the background is a large part of the picture and is brighter than the subject, the electric eye will set the correct exposure for the background, not your subject. The subject will be too dark. To avoid this we recommend getting close to the subject.

If the background is a large part of the picture and is darker than the subject, the electric eye will set the correct exposure for the background. The subject will be too bright. This time getting close will prevent your subject from being too bright in the final picture.

Check out our video for more info:

Here are a few sample pictures:

 

Check out our other tips:

Backlit subjects and how to shoot them with your vintage Polaroid camera

Today’s tip is about how to shoot subjects that are backlit. Avoid shooting right into the sunlight. Try to have the light fall on your subject to come from behind you or from the side to prevent the loss of detail and highlights.

If you shoot into the light-source the contrast between lighter and darker areas is getting bigger and you’ll end up with a silhouette of your subject.

Check out our video to learn more about this:

Here are a few examples:

Check out our other tips:

Traveling with film and how to prepare

Our last instant photography tip was all about storing film. Now it is time to empty your film fridge and take your camera on the road! Because film is for shooting and not hoarding, isn’t it?

Polaroid Film & Travel

Film fridge – Instant film is for shooting, not for hoarding 😉

But, as you already know, instant film is expensive and to protect it from getting damaged you should take care of it.

But how? One possible threat for you film material are x-ray machines. X-rays can harm the negative in your film. But there is hope. Just follow the three simple tips below and everything will be fine.

  1. Never check your film in, always carry your film in your hand-luggage. X-ray machines for checked-in luggage are way stronger and will most likely ruin your film.
  2. All film with ISO 800 or below can be x-rayed without a problem.
  3. Higher ISO film should be hand checked. Ask the airport security for assistance.

All film by the Polaroid Originals the time of writing has lower than 800 ISO and therefore can be carried and x-rayed in your hand luggage.

I’ve updated this post with a video in 2018. Check it out for more info about traveling with film:

All we have left to say is: “Happy travels!”

Polaroid Film & Travel

Mercado Negro – La Paz, Bolivia (SX-70 with PX 70 Cool Film)

Are you having questions regarding this post or any other instant photography related questions? Please let us know in the comments. We are happy to help!

How do I store my Polaroid film best?

We are kicking off the new year with an exiting new series of posts. This series is all about the little things you need to know about instant-photography.

Instant-film is full of sensible chemicals. To help preserve you precious film for as long as possible, you have to follow a few simple rules.

How To Store Polaroid Film

This is how previously frozen film looks like… Not cool! Okay, somewhat cool 😉

Tips:

  • Always store your film at a cool and dry place, i.e. your basement or fridge.
  • Never freeze the film!
  • Try to keep the storage conditions at a constant level.
  • Use Polaroid Originals film within a year (the earlier the better!)
  • Film is for shooting, not hoarding. Well, a little hoarding is okay 🙂

This is how I store my film…

How To Store Polaroid Film

Mini fridge for Polaroid film

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! 😉