How to Use a Disposable Camera

By Angela Tague

Disposable film cameras are convenient. They can be used at a beach without any concerns. They are compact and make a great travel camera. Using them correctly will give you clear, bright pictures. Whether a disposable camera is used for your everyday needs, or as a backup, it can give good photographic results once you learn their limitations.

Things You'll Need

  • Disposable camera


Step 1

Choose the best disposable camera for your needs. Select an underwater style disposable camera for trips to the beach, a day at the pool or for pictures of babies having fun at bath-time. Choose a disposable camera containing ISO 800 speed film for dark and fast moving situations. Choose a disposable camera containing ISO 400 speed film for outdoor, daytime photography.

Step 2

Learn how to keep pictures in focus with a disposable camera. Stand at least 4 feet from your subject when using a disposable camera. Most disposable cameras will not take a clearly focused picture when you are too close to the subject.

Step 3

Use the flash feature correctly. Turn on the flash function by pressing a button or flipping a switch on the front of the disposable camera. The flash will not go off automatically like other styles of cameras. Remember the flash range of a disposable camera is roughly 4 to 10 feet. Place your subject within this range to get bright, clear pictures. Use the flash feature for all indoor and nighttime outdoor pictures.

Step 4

Hold the camera with both hands. Keep the camera steady for sharper pictures. Be sure not to cover the flash on the camera with your hand or fingers. Cup your hands around the camera, to avoid stray fingers covering the lens.

Step 5

Take the finished disposable camera to a photo lab for processing. Let the photo lab remove the film from the camera, so you don't accidentally expose the roll to light, which will ruin your photos. Purchase a new disposable camera for future picture taking. You will not get the disposable camera back after processing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Disposable cameras do not work well for dimly lit events such as concerts, performances and stage shows. The flash can't reach the stage from the audience areas. If you must take pictures with a disposable camera at a performance, turn off the flash. Wait until bright lights shine on the performer, or when the house lights are turned on, to take a picture.
  • Disposable cameras can malfunction. Some are packaged at the factory without batteries or film. Never trust an important event to one disposable camera. Use a regular camera, or have several disposable cameras capturing the moment.