Could an Instant Camera Make You a Better Photographer?


There’s something about the analog process that will slow down your photography, making you more thoughtful about image creation. What if you take it one step further and push yourself with an instant camera? Could it make you a better photographer?

Thomas Heaton is a landscape photographer who uses a variety of cameras, usually high-resolution digital beasts that capture the tiniest scrap of detail from every scene. His film cameras — all larger than 135 — are loaded with incredible glass to give maximum quality.

Why, then, would you swap it out for an instant camera, featuring a low-contrast lens with questionable sharpness and stock that has a very limited dynamic range?

Heaton takes you through the process, and while it’s not one that all photographers will appreciate, I can understand the value. Choosing the right instant camera is no simple process, however. I would lean toward the Polaroid SX-70 but they’re hard to come by and prices start at $430. More easily available is the Polaroid Now which keeps things relatively simple, and don’t forget that there are loads of options available from Fuji.

Have you used an instant camera to improve your photographic ability? Let us know in the comments below.



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