There is something truly special about instant film photography. Life happens in an instant... and when you are fully immersed in living life with an instant film camera... You are capable of photographing moments that would normally go by, unnoticed. In that instant you encapsulate that moment and are able to then share it with your subject as instantly has it had organically happened in real life. No digital platform will ever be able to replace the excitement of huddling around an instant photo that just popped out of the camera... waiting patiently for it to magically reveal the memory frozen in time.
As obsessed with instant film and all things Fuji Instax... I have found the cameras to be extremely limiting. Between fixed focused lens, viewfinder parallax issues, and toy parts... I have found myself hacking my cameras to make them a more professional fit for my instax film collage work.
Originally I shared this hack live on instagram stories. I pieced together what I could. I included a written step-by-step instructions under the youtube video.
For this project you will need the following items: 1. Hot Knife - to cut the plastic (You can score a great hot knife at Michael's for $18. Use your mobile app for possible 40% off coupons. In the app they are there almost everyday!)
3. Instax Wide Camera. (I use an Instax Wide 300 in the video.)
2. Blue Painters tape - to mark your cuts.
3. An empty Instax wide film cartridge - to create a hold for your square film pack.
4. A new pack of Instax square film - to test your camera hack.
Step One: Open the back of your Instax Wide 300 camera. Remove two black bars that hold the wide film in place. You will have to pinch and slide up or down to remove the black bars. Step Two: Plug in your heat knife. It will take a few minutes for it to warm up. Take this time to tape off the distances of the bars you will need to keep the square and wide film packs in place. You will be cutting a "tooth" shaped gap. Do NOT cut all the way through. You need a thin bridge at the base to put back on the camera door correctly.
Let the bars cool after your cuts. It will be a little flimsy.
You will need to make hold from an empty Instax Wide film cartridge.
To line up your cut line, stack the empty wide film cartridge on the bottom with the square cartridge on the top. Line up the yellow arrows you use to load film in your cameras. Using your heat knife, cut the empty wide cartridge along the cut line you just created.
Let the plastic cool.
Put your black bars back on the film door. Check to see if your gaps line up.
Step Five: Load your instax square film into your wide camera. Place your crutch hold next to the loaded square film.
Close the film door. Your blackout sheet should eject from the camera. Step Six:
Take your first test shot! *** Helpful tip! you will need to frame your square photos shot in a wide camera differently. Looking into your viewfinder you will need to frame your subject on the far left side of the frame.
Here are a few samples of my square photos taken on my Instax Wide 300:
If you are hacking your wide camera to take square film and you find yourself needing some help... drop me a line, I am happy to help. Enjoy this DIY. Get creative. Get out & Shoot! Use #filmcollageartist on instagram and I will share my favorite photos on my account!