- Low contrast, washed-out appearance
- Many middle shades of grey when shooting black and white film
- Difficult to differentiate between elements in photo
All analog film has a predetermined level of contrast. A photographer might choose a lower contrast film when shooting portraits, for example, and a higher contrast film when shooting landscapes. Polaroid film has been formulated to be good for every type of situation and aims for a fairly moderate or generally expected level of contrast.
Over- or under-exposing the photo will shift your tonal values towards white or black respectively. With areas of the photo being completely white, or completely black, the photo will generally emerge with fewer unique tones of brightness. Incorrect exposure will result in a lower contrast photo.
The ambient temperature of your shooting environment also affects contrast. In high temperatures, black and white film will begin to appear low contrast, while in cold temperatures, color film will come out with low contrast.
Film which has expired is also at risk of displaying various defects, depending on how long ago it expired, and how it has been stored. Reduced contrast is one of the most common defects identified.
How to avoid:
- Ensure your film is not expired
- You can find the film's production date embossed into the bottom of the film box. The expiration date of Polaroid film is 12 months after this date.
- Shoot your film at room temperature: 13-28°C (55-82°F)
- Full article: How temperature affects Polaroid
- Use a film shield
- The film shield will protect your photo from light during the first few moments after exposure.
- Film shields are available in our online shop, here.
If your photos initially had great contrast and after a few months (or years) are now appearing more faded - you might not be storing your photos correctly. Learn more: How to store Polaroid film.