Whether it’s a disposable camera or a reusable point and shoot camera, it’s a common occurrence that we have to break the bad news to a customer: their disposable photos came back blank.

While we do offer a gift card for next time when this happens, we’d prefer you get all the photos back that you cared enough to capture.

But why does this happen?

To put it simply: these cameras aren’t always the most… trustworthy.

Disposable cameras shoot on both fixed focus as well as fixed camera settings. This means takes all the work out of your hands, but if you’re not careful, you can get results that are less than desirable. Let’s use the Kodak for example: it shoots at  1/120 of a second, f/9.0,  at 31mm on 800 ISO film. If you don’t know what any of this means, that’s okay: the main takeaway is that the camera is going to do the same thing every time, regardless of where you are and how much light there is.

So what am I supposed to do to have my photos look good?

You have two options: move your subject into the sunlight, or use the built-in flash! Every disposable has one— typically found on the front near the lens and denoted by a small lightning bolt. Just push and hold until the light charges up and stays solid.

When should I use the flash?

Typically: anywhere that isn’t broad daylight. But, to be more specific:

  • When your subject is backlit (by the sun, for example)
  • When your subject is in dark shade
  • When your subject is indoors
  • At night

This may seem like overkill, but it can almost never hurt to use your flash (aside from maybe when you shoot it a bit too close to someone’s eyes). Color film is very resilient, and even if overexposed, it can still be saved with a small amount of editing on your phone.

As for electronic point and shoots, these typically have light meters built in so you can have a bit more versatility when shooting. That being said, it will often have auto flash turned on in order to compensate for the reasons above.

Want to give a disposable a try? Find them in our shop here!