Photographing Disney with the Fuji Instax Mini 8

My family recently visited Disney World in Orlando Florida.  We took plenty of 35mm, DSLR and iPhone photos but some of my daughter’s favorite photos were taken with her Fuji Instax Mini 8.

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While it’s her camera, and she’s very proficient with it, I took the photos so that Princess Harper could focus on more important things!

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We met a lot of Disney princesses.

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Instant film is GREAT for autographs.  As we met each princess, we kindly requested a photo.  As the film processed, each princess autographed the lower border of the Instax image with a Sharpie marker.  The results are truly unique, unreproducible momentos of our fabulous encounters.

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I have to admit, meeting Tinker Bell made me blush and I was a bit nervous as I handed her a Sharpie and our Instax film.  But Tink and all the princesses were polite and gracious.  Several commented how nice an idea it was to use Instax, though being pre-industrial princesses, they seemed to believe that I possessed some sort of magical device.  They may have been right!

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Harper picked out some special Instax film called “Shiny Star” which consists of the normal color Instax Mini film but with a foil border with multi-colored stars printed on it.  They look really terrific in person, better than is possible to digitize them.  And no problems with Sharpie ink on the border!

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Notice how the backgrounds of some of our photos are dark and underexposed?  If you’d like to see more of your background when shooting in dimmer, indoor conditions, I’d recommend moving up to the more costly and feature-laden Fuji Instax Mini 90.  When used in “Party Mode”, it sets the flash to fire such that the subject is not overexposed while the background still gets some fill flash.  The Instax Mini 8 is great for kids though, as it only sells for between $50-$60 and requires manual exposure that helps teach them about basic photography.

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When shooting outdoors in bright sun with the Instax Mini 8, feel free to cover the flash and let the natural light light your photo.  Soft light and the simple plastic lens lead to beautiful pastel colors.

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Be sure not to inadvertantly cover the exposure sensor with your fingers when taking a light reading, although, in most cases, you can probably set the exposure by common sense!

And always be sure to wait until you see the red LED by the viewfinder light up before you shoot in situations where you need flash.  This indicates that the flash is fully charged and ready to fire.  If you are impatient between photos, the flash may not fire at full strength and you could end up with an underexposed photo, which was the case with Rapunzel here.

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As I took the photos and the ink was dry, I carefully inserted them into one of Harper’s many Fuji Instax Mini photo albums.  This was a great solution to keeping all the film organized, clean and safe during our vacation.  Depending on the color, these albums cost between $8 and $10 at B&H and hold 108 Instax Mini photos.  They’re made out of a soft vinyl material and are reasonably well-made for their price.

I hope Harper and I have given you some fun tips for your trip to Disney, or just to see friends.  There’s nothing quite as much fun as getting autographs on instant film and making a nice collection of memories to treasure for a lifetime!

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