Mar 5th, 2021, 04:04 PM

How to Make the Most Out of Your Disposable Camera

By Sofia Rose
Image Credit: Kira Winter
Six tips and tricks to help you get a head start on the latest photography craze

For a couple of years now disposable cameras have been the “new” hype, but if you're old enough you will know they’ve always been great. Maybe it's nostalgia for childhood or a longing for some form of “realness” in a social media controlled world. Whatever your reason for using a disposable camera, they are a lot of fun. They’re small enough you can carry anywhere and in pre-Covid times they were great accessories for a night out. However, many of us who have grown up with phones loaded with advanced sensors that help make any picture look beautiful might not know just how to shoot on film, so here are a few tips on how to make the most of your disposable camera!


1. Lighting is Everything

Image Credit: Sofia Rose

Since disposable cameras are basic in function, you don’t have any settings. In order to make good photos you need to have good lighting, natural or flash. You have to make sure your subject is always well lit; you can even use a smartphone flashlight or a lamp as a DIY lighting set up. If the lighting is not good the photos will come out grainy and dark. This will be a problem and since disposable camera photos aren't digital you cannot fix the exposure or brightness in post-production. 


2. Think About Composition


Image Credit: Sofia Rose

Composition is an important factor in photography and can be used to your advantage when shooting on disposable cameras. Having good placement of  your subject will make your photos look that much better. Try having your subject pose slightly off center. Utilize the corners of the photos. Think about ways you can frame your subject. For example, shooting your subject between two trees or buildings.


3. Candids!

Image Credit: Sofia Rose

Try taking candid photos of friends or subjects rather than asking them to pose. A candid photo is one in which the subject is unaware the photo being taken. Capture a little moment. It will look great and will have genuine feeling. Try things like people walking or sitting around a table. You can also experiment with interactions between people, like a hug or passing a drink.


4. Motion

Image Credit: Sofia Rose

Don’t let your subjects stay static, make them move! This will help create more dynamic photos, try things like the classic jumping shot, or spinning, or running. Not to mention if you can capture people dancing that will always make for fun pictures. Try experimenting with things like shaky camera lines or blurred motion.


5. Try Switching It Up 

Image Credit: Sofia Rose

If you want to switch up the style of photos try getting a black and white camera for a more *noir* or sleek look. You can also  get a camera with specific coded color schemes. This can be a fun way to spice up your photos.


6. When You're Ready, Make the Switch

My final tip is to invest in a point and shoot film camera! You can find an affordable one at a flea market or online for as little as $20, it's better for the environment since you don’t have to throw the camera out each time. And a roll of film has 38 photos instead of the 8-27 on a disposable camera. Obviously there's an allure to that niche disposable look, which you can still get on a super cheap point and shoot or a reusable disposable camera. Point and shoots are just as easy to use as a disposable, they are called point and shoot for a reason. 

No matter what the most important thing is to have fun with it! Be creative, try new things, sometimes the greatest risk will turn into amazing photos !