How To: Use an instant film camera – Instax Mini 9

A few months back I posted a photo on my Instagram of my Instax Mini 9. I got a ton of requests to share some of my tips. I shared some quick tips on my stories and that was it.

A couple days ago I thought to myself, why don’t I have a blog post about it yet? Now, here we are.

Instant film cameras are really fun! Plus there compact size makes for a bonus.

What’s on the front

You have the on button towards the bottom right corner. There’s a selfie mirror on the left of the lens. The shutter button is on the left. Finally you have the flash and the light meter right next to it.

I’m not going to lie to you and say that I knew how to use this thing straight out of the box. I definitely didn’t. Right when I took it out of the box I couldn’t even figure out how to turn it on. Yeah….

What do these settings mean and how do I use them?

The light meter on the front of the camera helps determine what setting to use. To change the setting if another one is lit orange you will just need to adjust the dial around the lends.

  • House: Best for indoor photos
  • Cloud: Best for overcast days outdoors
  • Sun: Best for sunny days outdoors
  • Bright Sun: Best for super sunny days outdoors
  • Hi-Key: Best for indoors if you are wanting a very bright photo

What does the back of the camera look like and how do I load film?

When looking at the back of the camera you’ll find the viewfinder, a window looking into the film door, and a window showing how many photos are left in the film. Loading film into the camera is very simple. All you do is open the film door and pop it in. You’ll want to match up the yellow lines and that’s it. Be very gentle with loading film so you don’t damage it with finger prints or discoloration. Once you have the film loaded you will want to turn the camera on and take a fake photo. This will spit out a black thing that protected the film. Keep in mind that the camera doesn’t come with film. I’ve found the packs with 60 photos are the best deal.

Ready to shoot?

Tips for getting the best in focus photos? Don’t worry, I have a few!

  • When shooting keep a distance of 24 inches from your subject. These cameras have a minimum focus distance.
  • Shooting close ups with the close up lens you will want to be 13 inches away from your subject. Keep in mind that the viewfinder center will change.
  • When taking selfies using the mirror on the front use the close up lens for easier use. We don’t all have freakishly long arms.
  • For horizontal photos make sure the flash is always on top!
  • Never shake your developing photos. Let them sit and develop on their own.

Happy shooting friends!

XO, Kailyn

One Reply to “How To: Use an instant film camera – Instax Mini 9”

  1. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing! I really want to start using mine more because I just love tangible photos!

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