Everywhere we go, we have an urge to document. There’s a sea of high-tech cameras and go-pros to choose from to ensure that each moment captured is flawless, and ready to upload and share with the world. But, sometimes what makes a photo special is it’s tangibility—the act of holding the picture in your hand, as physical proof of a memory.

That is where the Instant Camera comes in. Here’s a guide to the different types of instant cameras, with tips on how to get the most out of each shot.

 

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

$62.95 at B&H

This instant camera is perfect for users new to photography. With a simple design, it has everything you need to get an awesome shot, without the hassle of a complex device. Compact, light-weight and one of the cheaper options, this camera’s a great choice if you’re looking for something to take on a casual trip and snap photos of friends.

Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera

$99.00 at B&H

This camera is a sophisticated step up from the Mini, with pictures in a larger format that almost reach standard photo size. It also comes with a tripod, a lens ring to adjust focus settings, and a close-up lens adapter. Even with it’s upgraded features, this camera still allows for an easy photo-taking experience when on the move.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

$112.00 at B&H

The Neo Classic is an instant camera that seems to have it all. With settings that allow for greater contrast, saturation and sharpness in quality than its Fujifilm Instax counterparts, this model delivers a beautiful photo with each shot—additional controls include exposure compensation and multiple exposure mode. The design also has a retro feel to it, so if you are looking for an option with highly advanced features and an old-school vibe, this is the choice for you.

 

Polaroid Snap Touch Instant Digital Camera

$159.00 at B&H

This camera diverges from the classic polaroid model, with a sleek, modern design and advanced technological features. The device includes a touchscreen LCD for viewing pictures and a built-in printer that delivers high quality photos instantly. You can also connect the camera to an online source, in order to upload and edit photos.

  • Photo size: 76.2×50.8 mm (2×3 in)
  • Compatible film: This camera uses 2×3 inch zinc paper instead of film.

 

Lomography Lomo’Instant 

$119.00 at B&H

This camera is great choice if you’re looking for something that’s got all the basics at a reasonable price. With wide-angle prime lens and a built-in flash bulb, you’re able to play around with the exposure and framing to capture the perfect picture. This model also includes a front mirror, making selfie-taking an easy task, and it’s small, compact design makes it a great choice for a travel companion.

Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Camera

$149.00 at Lomography

This model is a step up from the Lomography Lomo’Instant, with all the same features in addition to automatic exposure control and a new, clean design. The camera comes in multiple colors—the white “Bora Bora” is shown above, but red, black and yellow are also available. The Automat allows for consistent creative control when taking photos, and with it’s sleek design you are sure to look cool doing it.

MiNT InstantFlex TL70 2.0 Instant Film Camera

$389.00 at B&H

Although a bit pricey, this model is intended for experienced photographers looking for a camera that delivers tangible photos while still allowing for maximum control. The model is made to accommodate a variety of shutter speeds (1 to 1/500 second) and adjustment to aperture settings, making it the perfect choice for a high-quality photo experience.

 

Once you’ve found the right model and are ready to get going, here are some tips to get the best shot and ensure that your film develops properly:

  • Store your film in the fridge. It may sound strange, but the cold temperature keeps the quality intact. If you know you’ll be using the film, let it sit out for an hour to warm up before putting it in your camera.
  • Take advantage of natural lighting. With sunlight, there’s no need for photoshop and you are sure to capture a gorgeous picture, with color that shines and fills the frame.
  • Try out contrasting backgrounds. One of the best ways to make a polaroid picture pop is to place your subject against a contrasting colored or textured backdrop, which accentuates the focal point of the photo.
  • Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal. Some of the best photos come from intimate close ups, where the subject being photographed takes up the entire shot.
  • Once a photo prints, keep it covered and out of sunlight to make sure you get the best quality picture. Though the urge to watch the photo unveil itself is tempting, keeping the photo in darkness until it develops will drastically improve it’s quality.
  • Spread the love! One of the greatest joys of an instant camera is how fun the immediate gratification can be. Pass around the camera and see what sort of pictures emerge when everyone gets a turn to try.