If you are expecting great image quality from a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, I won’t lie to you… you will be disappointed. But if you are expecting a bright and colourful tool for a fun project where the content of your photos matters more than the quality and you want to be able to hold your printed images in your hands within minutes of taking them, you will love it.
When I recently purchased a raspberry coloured one in a kit with a matching coloured photo album and miniature pegs to hang them with I was mostly curious to see if the colours of the prints looked better than the old Polaroids my parents took when I was a child. But I got so much more than I bargained for.
- You only get one chance to photograph something of importance and have to accept it as it is regardless of whether you get the exposure or composition right. At $26 for two packs of 10 instant films, you can’t afford to take numerous shots of the same subject and spend hours deciding which one is the best of the lot and worthy of sharing, so you have to embrace imperfection. I’ve been so focused on only sharing my best work and being so afraid of judgement from others for posting a lacklustre image on social media that every time I posted any photos taken with my phone I have written descriptions stating that it was taken with my phone and not a DSLR or mirrorless camera. So it feels incredibly freeing to finally share some photos without caring about how poor the image quality is.
When you embark on a “favourite things” project with your Mini 8, the first things you choose to photograph can tell you a lot about what’s important to you. In my case, I immediately grabbed my copy of Character Strengths and Virtues by psychologists Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson and put it on the coffee table and took my first shot. If you’ve never heard of this book, it’s the antithesis to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) in which psychiatrists describe all the diagnosable mental health conditions. So instead of focusing on what’s wrong with people, Character Strengths and Virtues is all about what is right about people. Not only that, but it also describes how to boost those good things. It’s pure genius! And just like that, I reminded myself of why I became a social worker.
It can be a valuable tool for goal setting as writing lists doesn’t appeal to everyone. Some people prefer to document their goals visually. I took a few more shots of a mandarin, a bowl of paprika, my favourite cookbook, one of Ken Duncan’s photo book, a book about health promotion in rural Australia and of course my favourite camera. So for me, I now have visual reminders that I plan to eat more fruit and less chocolate, cook more traditional Hungarian meals flavoured with paprika, avoid sugar and preservatives, implement the ideas in point 2 above, keep improving my photography skills and draw inspiration from people like Ken Duncan, and implement health promotion programs in rural Australia.
It can be a visual representation of the things that bring you joy that can prove to be valuable when you’re having a tough day, week or month and you’re most in need of some inspiration to bring some joy into your life. Two of my images clearly identify that spending time outdoors with my camera, and even doing that on rainy days when gum boots could be a good idea brings me joy. And indeed it highlights my love of red footwear!
It can act as a visual gratitude journal. In my case it’s clear from one of my images above that I’m grateful that I’m an able bodied person and that my feet and comfortable footwear allow me to walk closer to the subject I wish to photograph. Another is of my favourites tree in Mildura where I currently live.
Holding a tangible photograph in your hands makes it feel so much more real and special than just viewing your photos on your computer or endlessly swiping through them on your phone or tablet. A file hidden away on your computer hard drive just can’t compete with a nice print so it might be just the motivation you need to start printing all your favourite photos.
Overall, while some of the results were disappointing, not only did I get these six valuable insights from using this camera, but as the photo above can attest, yes under the right conditions, these fun cameras can produce some very pleasing and realistic colours.