Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cool ways to use the Fuji Instax Mini 9 camera for food and travel blogging

I received an Instax mini 9 for my birthday this year, from my travel enthusiast brother. An Instax mini is an instant photo camera, much like the polaroids of yesteryears. Now I may not be that young anymore, but polaroids, and instant photography was even before my time! Digital cameras and mobile phone photography have brought the entire industry of roll film photography to extinction, and instant pictures were even before the time of roll film photographs.

One website mentioned the “instant pictures “ to be ‘hopelessly retro’ and I would have to agree; you get only one print, you cant save it in digital form on the camera, you cant see a preview to the picture before clicking, and even though it is a point and shoot, a basic understanding of light and exposure is beneficial to good pictures.


So why turn back time, and bring something like the Fuji Instax Mini 9 ?

Here are a few funky ways to use your instant camera while travel and food blogging.

1.       Instant ice breaker: Every time I take out my apple green instax mini 9 , I have inquisitive eyes turning to me. After the first click, and the soft whirr of the film coming out of the instant camera, few can hold back their temptation to find out more. Guys find the technology impressive with lines like “ I used to develop film rolls back in the day with my dad.” And Girls are taken in with the cute n stylish colours. This camera by the way comes in 6 colours, including blues and pinks. The instax mini is a cool way to make cool new friends.

2.       Bond with locals: as a travel blogger, I always like to get pictures of local markets, and villagers, and old houses. And while it is exciting to be able to show them the pictures on your digital camera, imagine being able to give an instant print of your rickshaw-wala and his rickshaw. A precious thankyou note, incomparable in thoughtfulness, also the instant pics come with a small strip of paper below to leave a note, or your name, and date. Use it with your local hosts,dinner hosts, fellow bloggers, village women, or market places. Feel bad about letting go of your instax prints? Take a digital picture within a picture photograph; of the rickshawdriver holding the instant picture, while you get a digital picture on your phone.

3.       Use pictures as props: which takes me to my next point . instant pictures make for interesting props within your picture. Hosting an Italian themed dinner party, after your fabulous trip to Rome? Have your instant pictures of piazzas as table d├ęcor.or the other way around, pictures of vada pav, against the gateway of India. Or carry an instant picture of your loved ones, scribbled ‘missing you’ in the strip of space below the instant pictures, and hold them up while photographing breathtaking scenes of the places you visit. A sweet gesture that you missed having them around.there are plenty of ways to use the picture within a picture prop idea, with the instant pictures, I would love to try something like the ‘modern family’ for family portraits someday. infact the camera itself is so photogenic that I have used it as a prop in a number of my photographs.
using my camera as a prop :)

for our dussehra/bijoya feast, I used pictures of Durga Puja as table decor

4.       Use your instax as your calling card: have a great picture of you holding up your passport, or your chopsticks? Placing an instax picture anywhere in the frame while food photography, acts as an instant prop for your food styling, but also acts as your own personal calling card. The instant pictures are the size of visiting cards, and are easy to carry, so use them like new-age visiting cards!

5.       Scrapbooking: This one is for mom travellers, also anyone who enjoys scrapbooking their travel stories. I did a travel scrapbook for out honeymoon , it has all kinds of details, like our travel tickets, all the touristy pamphlets we picked up at airports, even our hotel room checkin cards which the hotel didn’t need back, and even an autumn leaf from our walk in the trastevere district in Rome. And sure we took hundreds of digital pictures on our travel, but I haven’t gotten around to selecting the ones I want printed. If I had an Instax back then , scrapbooking would have been so much more easy and fun.

6.       Hold a one of a kind exhibition: Instant prints are one of a kind, literally. Especially in the instax mini 9. No digital storage of images, what you see is what you get. So when you have a great picture of someone, some place or even a dish, you can be assured that there cannot be another one. You literally have to take another picture to have another one, and even thenn the lighting,mood, and angle may not be the same. Hold an exhibition (cum sale if you wish) of your instant pictures. The exclusivity of the prints, and the retro look on them would make for an interesting photo exhibition.

7.       Leave back memories: Plenty of place sin the world have wall graffiti, or places where you can pin up your message or tie a string, or hang a lock. Even youth hostels and air BNB’s have ‘leave a review ‘walls. What better way to say ‘I WAS HERE’ than to say it with a picture ? Instant cameras lole the Fuji Instax series or the new age polaroids allow you to do Just that!

8.       Revamp Grandma’s recipe book: So you have a family heirloom, and have been meaning to get the old crumbling book digitalised or reprinted; scan the pages, add an extra page at the end of each recipe. Prep and take pictures of the dishes. And add your own notes about the dish along with a picture. Voila, a new heirloom is created. Make mom proud with her own recipe book, or gift grandma one, or have it as a cute coffee table book for your friends and family to look over. Dtring up the pictures on your fridge with attachable magnets. So much home food love, that your family will love it.

9.       Wall art: I already have a bunch of pictures strung up on my wall, but they were not instant pictures. They are infact prints from my iphone. The fact that I had pictures already on display in the quintessential “instant picture ‘way, had inspired my brother to gift me an Instax mini in the first place. And I gifted him a ‘travel scratch map ‘ for his birthday. A travel scratch map allows you to scratch the places that you have visited on a large map of the world. And as much as I relaise what a great gift I gifted him, as he has travelled to 28 countries in the 32 years of his life, I think putting up pictures of the places alongside the map, would be a great idea too. String up small visiting card sized instax prints, or polaroid prints of the colourful people and scenes of Leh Ladakh, on a large digital print of the stark terrain of the region. Yes, print on print is not just for fashionistas and fashion bloggers, travel bloggers can now put up maps of countries, and evocative instant travel pics.


And that’s all I have got, atleast for now. But do follow me on my instagram @thefoodietrails to see more pictures , and also @instaxindia to meet other instant photography enthusiasts

I got  the Instax mini bundle , which is at an amazing deal on Amazon. infact it is so cool that I have the link on my blog just for you guys, please click on the picture of the bundle pack in the side bar, to avail of the offer. If you click from my website, I may get a small fee, but to no added expense to you! so it is a win win. so, why get the bundle , as opposed to just the camera? I got a 4 packs of rolls allowing 40 pictures, and cute colour frames to jazz up my pictures, the colour combinations really do help highlight the pictures, also clips to hang my pictures, and a few frames, which would be perfect for gifting the instax prints. it was for 8633, and down to 6399 for a limited period!

CLICK ON THE BELOW IMAGE :) few tips on using the instax mini 9
1. good lighting is important. Use your phone camera torch to light up the faces as additional lighting.
2.flash can never be swutched off, so dont have mirrors in background.
3.Use the macro lens provided with the mini 9 for all selfie pictures. selfies generally come really well.
4.use the Hi res setting for indoor pictures .
4.experiment a lot!