Hello, instax lovers! We are always keen to hear about how you use your instax to take dazzling shots, so we caught up with instax photographer Cassandra McD. She gave us the scoop on how she uses her instax mini 90 to create fabulous flatlays and capture the world around her.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?
I’m a hobbyist photographer from Toronto. I work full time and have been trying to hone my photographer skills on weekends when I can.
I’ve always had an interest in photography but found it intimidating. A few years ago, I finally decided to get over my fear and start really trying to learn how to take photos. Instagram helped with that a lot. It’s filled with everyday inspiration and so much range in talent that I feel right at home now sharing my images as I continue to grow and develop my skills.
How did you develop an interest in using the instax for photography?
I’m old school. Like, really. I grew up in the days when it was all manual film cameras and darkrooms. Apparently there was some math involved calculating f-stops, distance and such to get the right exposure. Probably explains why I stayed away from photography until well into adulthood and DSLRs! Back in the day, of course, there were the original Polaroid cameras. I may still have a couple images lying around in an old album — yes, I said “album,” not the cloud. Naturally, with instax, well, how could I resist? It was an #oldskoolthrowback #4real ’yo! So, I had to try it out, of course.
What are your favourite features about instant photography?
I don’t know if it’s a feature, but rather the feeling of nostalgia that comes with instant photography. There is this youthful, carefree, fun feeling tied up in the process that is unique, for me anyway, to instant photography. It’s iconic old school cool.
What inspires your photography?
Beautiful images and things inspire me. I love looking at talented photographers on Instagram who produce consistently beautiful images — whether it’s portraits, still life, food, architecture or interior spaces. Well-lit, well-composed and clean images with more of a minimalist vibe does it for me all the time.
If you could go anywhere in the world and shoot with your instax, where would you go and why?
I love this question. I sadly have not travelled extensively, but Australia is definitely on my list, not because I have a fantasy of seeing Serena Williams play in the finals of the Australian Open (and of taking of photo of a koala — I know, how cliché, don’t judge me!), but I envision images of coffee shops, beaches, open landscapes shot with a vintage vibe. And then there is Japan — oh, the possibilities! Italy and Spain (the architecture alone has my heart beating a little faster, plus I can practice my Spanish, once I learn a few words) and England (I heard Bath is worth a visit). And several U.S. cities and states thrown in the mix, too, like San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Arizona. Wait, was I supposed to pick one?
Honestly, I could go on and on. Also, as a photographer, I think I try to find beauty and interesting perspectives wherever I am, being in any one of those amazing destinations could only make it that much easier and enjoyable.
What are some of your favourite projects and why?
Being Canadian, I spend a good chunk of the year inside and out of the cold, so I’m all about keeping things simple with my photography and making due with whatever is at home.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time honing my flatlay skills. It’s a work in progress but that is an ongoing project that I really enjoy.
I can’t say I’ve ever done a specific “project.” I’m more organic in my approach to photography and tend to work on what I feel like shooting or from finding inspiration on Instagram. I’ll see an image and think “that’s fantastic! I want to try something like that.” This then leads me to consider how to reinterpret the shot with what I have on hand and in the process of creating that image, I let the process take over and play around, move things around and recompose things and just go with the flow and have fun with it! I’ve lost countless hours getting lost in the process of creating.
Lovin’ the Still Life Series: instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
The Words in Her Hands: instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
Day at the Market: instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
Do you have any instant-photography tips to share?
Like with any kind of photography, the light will be everything. Find proper light because when you do and you get the image just right, it’s an exciting feeling.
And if you’re like me, with less than steady hands, use a tripod if you can or have some extra film with you — you will need it.
Even if you’ve got hands as steady as a surgeon’s, still stack up on extra film as it can be quite addictive and you’ll just want to keep snapping. It’s the worst feeling to realize you’re out of film when you’re just getting into the groove.
Have fun with it! Oh, and maybe get a second battery.
What are your favourite instax features?
It’s instant — click and voila! It’s yours for viewing. I use the instax 90 so I actually like that there isn’t too much happening with features that I need to fiddle and adjust. It doesn’t require pages of a manual to figure out. So the simplicity and ease of use is the best feature … and did I mention it’s instant?
Do you have advice for new instax photographers?
Have fun and share your love with the community. There are some incredibly talented instax photographers out there so seek them out, follow them and use them as inspiration. If you’re like me and do this for fun, having an instax in your camera bag is like keeping some chocolate (fine, a really good granola bar) as a treat in your lunch bag. You can pull it out after you finish your main course (using your DSLR, for those of you who might not have followed the whole analogy) and enjoy it at your leisure.
Are you looking for ways to use your instax to its fullest? Check out our Ultimate Decorator’s Guide to get your creative juices flowing!