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A guide to Polaroid photography

American physicist Edwin Land created a stir when his Polaroid cameras went on sale in November 1948, after he had established the Polaroid Corporation. They changed the way that photography was regarded. They also created a whole new field of expertise that eventually led to the digital cameras which is familiar to everybody today. What exactly does Polaroid photography entail and why does it still hold such fascination?

Features

Technical settings
Digital cameras and the conventional film camera have so many settings, buttons, knobs and switches that it is difficult to know where to start. For somebody who is new to photography, this can be daunting. However, the advantage of Polaroid photography is that there is no need for any technical alterations. All that you have to do is
point-and-shoot and you get an instant image. This is why they are also known as instant cameras. Specific uses
Polaroid cameras are not all-encompassing. They are so simply constructed that they cannot take different types of photos like a modern camera can. However, this quirk can make them more fun. For instance, you can buy a Polaroid camera that specialises in night shots or, if you wanted to focus on macro photography, you can buy a Polaroid with special close-up effects. Flash tips
It is important when using a Polaroid camera to ensure that the subject is covered in sufficient light. Otherwise, the photo will almost certainly be under-exposed. This is the case even if the flash fires. Unless you intend to turn your image into a digital file where it can be manipulated, an under-exposed shot equals to a photograph which is wasted.

Post-processing

Scanning your photos
If you would like to see your Polaroid photos online or if you only want to store them on your computer as digital files, you will have to scan them on a flatbed scanner and save them to your desktop. From there, you can open them in a software program of your choice such as Photoshop or Lightroom and edit them. Expiry dates
It is very difficult to get hold of a Polaroid film cartridge that has not expired. This is because instant cameras and the film that they use were discontinued in 2008. Even if you do find the film, there is no guarantee that the image will come out. Some cameras such as the SX-70 can, however, be altered in order to accept Polaroid 600 film.

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