BLOGMAS DAY 7: How To Take Polaroid Photos

BLOGMAS DAY 7: How To Take Polaroid Photos

Mes chéries, I apologize for being delayed on this post as well. I spent a lot of this weekend hanging out with friends I haven’t seen since graduation, so I had very little time to edit and post. On the bright side, it’s day seven of #12DaysOfBlogmas! How have you guys been enjoying this weekend so far?

For Day 7, I wanted to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over time with polaroid photos. Whenever the holiday season comes around, I notice that everyone tends to take more photos at all the different holiday parties and end-of-year gatherings that occur. While polaroid photos are adorable, anyone who has used a polaroid camera before will know that when trying to take a photo that would otherwise come out great on our smartphones, it can develop completely washed out on the polaroid film or way too dark.

Over time, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks on getting the perfect polaroid photo thanks to the many films of overexposed or underexposed photos. You’ll find that most of my tips are centered around lighting!

Tip #1: Avoid Direct Sunlight for Outdoor Photos

When you’re outdoors, the lighting situation gets a little wild. The best lighting for photos is out of direct sunlight and in a shady area that is not too dark. If it’s a very bright day, be sure to use the sunny or sunniest settings, but if you want to avoid overexposure, keep it on cloudy.

The best weather for outdoor photos are cloudy or partly cloudy days. keep the setting on cloudy or even turn to the lower sunny setting if you want the photo to be a bit brighter. However, if there’s a lot of the sky or anything white in the background, make sure your setting is on cloudy or even in-house to avoid overexposure.

Also note that the sun or direct reflection off glass or an object shows up as a black dot on your photo!

Tip #2: Shoot Closer to Your Subjects

The closer you move in, the more details, colors, and depths are captured. If your subject is people, you can really capture the essence of them by making them fill up the frame of the polaroid. But be careful about getting too close to your subject, as that will cause the flash to bounce off the surface, creating a big white flash in your photo. Stand a good distant away to avoid direct flash while still capturing the object in the majority of the frame.

Tip #3: Create Dimension by Considering Backgrounds

On the flip side of being close to your subjects, step far away from them and capture the entire scene in a frame to add dimension into your photo. This helps create contrast between subjects in the frame and makes it visually more appealing. It gets tricky when you’re trying to capture an entire scene, as shown in photos below, because it’s easy for the photo to come out way too overexposed if the focus of the camera is aimed at the wrong object in the frame.

Below, the right hand side photos are overexposed (on the partly sunny setting) while the left hand side photos are underexposed (cloudy setting). However, in these situations the underexposed captured all the buildings I wanted to capture in the background. Be sure to turn the mode down to a darker setting if there is a lot of light!

Tip #4: Consider Angles

Different angles capture different moods and unique perspectives of a subject that would have otherwise been pretty simple. The light also hits your subject matter at different angles, so taking a bird’s eyes view photo of your subject will give you a drastically different picture. Think about what kind of story you want to tell and choose your angle accordingly.


Tip #5: Play With Contrasting Colors

When your backgrounds is very white or neutral, play with color. Whether that means putting your subject in all black or adding some pop of color to your subject, playing with shades and colors allows the camera to grab onto the color and focus on the subject matter. Otherwise, the flash would just wash everything out.

Tip #6: Use Hi-Key Mode To Soften Your Subject Matter

When turning on hi-key mode, you’ll be able to take photos with a softer focus. I usually don’t put my camera on high-key, but it’s definitely great if you’re aiming to capture something with a softer impression. I like to think of it as a “filter” on your photo and touching up any harshness or blemishes if you’re taking a portrait.


Tip #7: Make Sure Nothing Is Between You Camera & Your Subject

If you’re trying to capture a photo of a scene or subject matter but there is something in the frame that is relatively closer to you than the focus of the shot, there is a chance that the flash will hit that object and flash back, causing the entire background that you wanted to photograph to wash out into darkness. Be sure that there is nothing in your frame that is too close to you when you’re trying to capture a larger photo.

For example, I didn’t notice that there were objects way too close to me causing these photos to turn into nothing but darkness…



I hope these tips and tricks help you out! Honestly, learning how to use your polaroid camera is a trial and error process. It probably took me over 60 wasted films before I got the hang of it, so don’t get too frustrated if your photos don’t turn out the way you want it at first.

Thank you for tuning back in! I’ll see you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 8! Until then, Bouge & Rouge has got to catch up on sleep. Bisou, bisou…







Erica Huang
Erica Huang

Based in New York City, Erica Huang is the creator and voice behind Bouge & Rouge. This blog is a playground of her thoughts where she invites you to join her on her journey through her 20s. Erica shares her lifestyle, fashion and beauty tips, adventures, and personal thoughts with the goal of inspiring others to always persevere and be unapologetically yourself.

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