Are you looking to shoot nice photos with your Polaroid Go? Read our suggestions!
1. Prepare film and camera
First things first: charge the battery of your camera using the Micro USB cable that was included in your camera box. Then, insert a new film cartridge. To do this, slide the film door button on the bottom of the camera, which will open the film compartment. Match the arrows on the film cassette with the arrows indicated on the camera. Slide the thick end of the cassette in first and let it drop into place. Leave the pull tab on as you will need that later to remove the empty film pack. Close the camera's film door and the dark slide (black card on top of the film cartridge) will eject. You can discard the dark slide and begin shooting!
2. Shooting with flash indoors
If you plan to take photos indoors, there are a few things to keep in mind. Since the Polaroid Go is a smaller-than-usual Polaroid camera, the flash is also smaller. This means that the brightness from the flash can only reach a certain distance from the camera. For best results, we recommend that you stand between 2-4 feet (60-120cm) from your subject so the flash can fully illuminate what you are trying to photograph. Also, it’s always best to have your subject stand in front of a wall or backdrop, so the the flash bounces back to the camera and makes a brighter image. If you have a large empty space behind your subject, the background will likely be completely black, because the flash can’t reach that far.
With Polaroid cameras, the camera’s light meter will adjust the brightness for the on-camera flash, so even if you have a lot of other lights/lamps on in the room where you are taking your photo, those lights/lamps may not help increase the photo’s overall brightness.
|(Flash indoors, with no background)||(Flash indoors, with background)|
3. Shooting outside without flash
When taking photos outdoors, especially on bright, sunny days, we recommend turning off the camera’s flash. This will make it so the photo is exposed using natural light. Polaroid cameras and film need a lot of light, and there is no better light than the sun! Just make sure you’re not standing in the shade of a tree, as that area may be dark in the final picture. If you use flash outdoors, the camera’s light meter will expose the photos based on the on-camera flash. Outdoor photos tend to be taken at a longer distance, so the flash may not be able to reach. The camera’s flash can extend about 5-6 feet from the camera, max. This is why it’s good to shoot photos without flash when you are outdoors. Just remember to shield your photos from the bright sunlight during the first crucial minutes of development.
|(Outdoors without flash, no shade)||(Outdoors without flash, standing in partial shade)|
Another tip: Always shoot with the sun behind you so that your subject is well-illuminated. If you take photos facing directly into the sun, or if you have your subjects stand with the sun behind them, your photos will likely be very dark, because the camera’s light meter is underexposing to compensate for the extreme brightness of the sun.
Lastly, another thing to keep in mind when shooting outdoors is film latitude. This means that if you are taking a photo of a landscape, there may be times when the finished photo has perfectly exposed the land in front of you, but the sky might be white with no detail. Or, you may get photos where the sky is perfectly exposed, with blue and visible clouds, but the land is very dark with little detail. This is sometimes normal for instant film.
|(sky well-exposed, tre under-exposed)||(sky over-exposed, tree well-exposed)|
4. Standing too far/close to your subject
As mentioned earlier, the camera’s flash can only reach about 5-6 feet (1,5-2 meters) from the camera. If you are shooting with flash, make sure to stand in the sweet spot: about 2-4 feet (60-120cm) from your subject. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you also want to make sure you are not holding the camera too close to your subject or you may end up with blurry, out-of-focus photos. The minimum focal length of the Polaroid Go camera is about 1 ½ feet (45cm), so make sure not to hold the camera any closer than that to your subject.
5. Hold still while you take your photo
When you take a photo with the Polaroid Go, there is a slight delay before the photo ejects. This is because the camera’s shutter is opening to take your photo. After you have framed your photo, when you press the shutter button, hold very still and don’t move until the photo starts to eject. This will ensure that you have a perfect photo, with no motion blur.
6. Don’t block the flash or the ejection slot
When you are taking a photo with the Polaroid Go, make sure not to cover the flash or the ejection slot with your finger or hand. If you cover the flash, your photo will be dark. If you cover the ejection slot, your photo may jam as it tries to eject from the camera. This could cause technical issues with your camera’s ejection mechanism, or the camera’s rollers, which spread the developer chemistry as your photo ejects. It will also cause photo problems.
7. How to store photos for 30 days after exposure
During the first 30 days after exposure, your photos still have chemicals which are not completely dried out and can cause visible alterations if not stored properly. It is important to allow the photos to completely dry out in a cool, well-ventilated environment. Classic plastic archival sleeves are not appropriate during the first month after exposure.
After 30 days, storing photos in an album, archival sleeve, or similar is acceptable. Storing your photos in a dry, dark environment protected from UV radiation is always best practice. We use old shoe boxes. If you are going to display your photos and don’t want them to fade or change color, ensure that the frame has UV-protective glass.
8. Keep photos out of light during development and put in flat safe place
Polaroid film is sensitive to light even after it has been ejected from the camera. During these sensitive first few seconds, the film shield installed on your camera will extend on top of the photo and protect it from light. This allows enough time for the blue opacification layer to spread over the whole frame.
After the first few moments have passed, your photo can be removed from under the film shield. The photo is still sensitive to light, however, and should still be kept shielded from strong light sources until it has developed further. For example, you could keep your photo:
- Face down on a table
- Inside a jacket pocket
- Inside an empty film box
- Under your armpit
Shielding the photo during the development time (check the back of your film package for exact times) will ensure that you get deeper saturation, sharper details, and that your final image is not washed out.
Do you need more Go film for your camera? Buy it here.