Instax for Beginners

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My parents had a Polaroid while I was growing up so my love of instant photography began at a pretty young age. We still have a lot of the photos and whenever I find one in my grandmother's old albums, I might be guilty of stealing them to hang up in my apartment. (I know, I know!) By the time I thought of getting my own Polaroid as an adult, they were about to be discontinued so I got the Fujifilm Mini 7S instead. I've had it for nine years! But in that time, I never really got the hang of it? Half the time I took great photos and the other half.. not so much. Then the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic came out and I just had to have it. It has a vintage-looking exterior but comes with a bunch of different cool functions. I can turn the flash off, there are multiple modes for landscape or portraits, I can make pictures darker or lighter and more. I've been determined to really learn how to use this camera and I've made progress! For one thing, I make a point to bring it with me more often. I've read up on it and played around with the different options. I'm really happy with how my photos have turned out lately!

So I thought I'd share some tips for those of you have this camera! Instax created a pretty in-depth guide about how to use this particular model so if you want more details, definitely check it out. But if you're anything like me and get lazy at the though of reading a manual, here are some quick tips!

1. Did you know that instax film expires?
I bought like 80+ film in bulk through eBay years ago and when I tried using them a few months ago, I wondered why the photos were poor in quality. Then I noticed the expiration date (they expired in 2012) and I had a feeling that was the problem. Word of advice? Check the date!

2. Use the macro (icon: flower) mode for close-ups!
To do close-ups clearly, this is the best way to go about it. I used to just literally go up close to something and that wasn't working. In this mode, you need to be 40-60 cm away but the shots turn out great.

3. Turn off the flash if you don't need it!
I actually hate using flash in my photos and avoid it whenever I can. I love that I have the option on this camera (even though I sometimes forget).

4. Landscape mode
Landscape mode is your friend. I love taking photos of the sights around me and they are just so much more impressive when I use this mode. Some of the photos I took of the Golden Gate Bridge and more recently of NYC are some of my best shots.

5. Brightness adjustment (Light/Dark)
You can make a photo light, very light or dark. I love my photos to be very bright so I tend to go for the light or very light mode when it seems like a good idea. Especially if you combine the light mode with the portrait one, that's a really good combination for taking pictures of people.

6. Other cool modes to try
Kids mode is useful if you're trying to capture something moving. Party mode is for when you're in a darker setting; this will lighten the background and adjust the flash appropriately. And bulb mode is for night views! I have yet to try this last one but I definitely want to soon.

7. Where to buy
Never, ever buy instax cameras or films from Urban Outfitters because you will not get the best prices there (but they do have cute picture frames!). Your best option is definitely Amazon for the actual camera and film or B&H Photo Video. I've ordered from both and have been very happy. But since I'm a Prime member, I tend to use Amazon. Then for accessories, MochiThings is my go-to site.


Do any of you have this same camera? 
If you do, I'd love to hear your personal tips 
or if you found this helpful!


  1. Your post makes me want to go out and buy an Instax camera NOW! I've had it on my wishlist for what feels like forever, but hopefully, I'll be able to fit it into my budget sooner rather than later ;) Great post, R!

  2. i have the exact same instax! i actually bought the mini first, but then saw all the features of the neo 90 and had to get it as well. landscape mode is a must for taking anything that is somewhat far away, even group pictures! i'm always wary of turning off flash because sometimes the picture will come out blurry :// i usually set it on auto, but is there anything i could do to prevent that. perhaps up the lighten mode? i love my instax, and this post!!

    xxx alexandra @ twirling pages (

  3. I'd never even heard of this; how fun! I used to love my polaroid... hmm... maybe this will be my next pub date gift to myself!


with love,