How to Use a Polaroid Camera

By Techwalla Electronics Editor

Polaroid specializes in producing cameras that produce quality pictures while remaining easy to use. Given advancements in electronic technology, Polaroid has shifted its focus toward digital cameras, but the company still offers a wide range of film cameras for people who still prefer to take pictures the old-fashioned way. Here's how to use film or digital Polaroid cameras.

Use a Polaroid Film Camera

Step 1

Purchase film designed for use with your Polaroid model. Some Polaroid cameras have specific formats (small or large) that require specialty film. Others have specific capabilities (nighttime shooting or enhanced close-up range) that will perform better with film manufactured specially for your camera model.

Step 2

Load film into your Polaroid camera. Polaroid film is sold in rolls that produce a specified number of photographs, just like regular camera film. Exact instructions for camera loading will differ according to the Polaroid model you own.

Step 3

Remember that while most Polaroid models automatically adjust focus, they all have a limit on how close they can get to their subject before proper focus will be lost. The Polaroid film model with the best close-up capability can take pictures from as close as 18 inches from the subject.

Step 4

Use any exposure control features your camera offers to customize your image quality. Many Polaroid models have an automatic flash to ensure proper exposure in virtually all lighting conditions, but some models permit you to adjust the exposure manually. Choose a longer exposure time for low light and a shorter exposure time for bright light.

Step 5

Make use of any additional camera features, such as a self-timer, when warranted. Check your owner's manual for specific details on how to use your camera's special features.

Step 6

Take your picture! The advantage of a Polaroid is that your photograph will be produced instantly, allowing you to see how it looks in minutes. Adjust your camera settings accordingly if you want to improve your image quality.

Use a Polaroid Digital Camera

Step 1

Practical operation of the digital camera is very similar to a Polaroid film cameras, with auto-flash, zoom features that adjust focus automatically and options to change the exposure time.

Step 2

View your digital Polaroid photographs in your camera's LCD (liquid crystal display) window. You can compensate for errors by adjusting settings such as exposure, flash and lens distance from the subject. Adjusting the physical distance between yourself and your subject has a different effect on your photograph than simply zooming in or out.

Step 3

Connect your digital camera to your computer using the connecting cable and software that should be included with your camera purchase. The software will guide you through the specific process, which is generally very user-friendly. You can also take your memory card to a photo developer that prints digital images, if you'd rather hold your pictures in your hand than view them on a computer screen.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you acquired your camera secondhand, you can request an owner's manual from the manufacturer by calling them and telling them what camera make and model you have.