Lesson 1: Instant Camera theory 101

Adobe Spark (4).jpg

Photography is a broad subject and discussing everything would take too much of our time so we’ll talk about the Basics that applies most to the Instax mini 9, Instax theory 101 , its limitations and How to use it.

The Instax mini 9’s design is primarily for selfies, from the position of the shutter button, the selfie mirror and the focal point or in basic terms, the zoom of the lens, is what photographers would use for portraits and with those subtle points we conclude that the Instax Mini 9 is built for portraits and selfies. We’ll focus on rules and composition for portraits first.

Exposure Metering

Exposure Metering is how the Camera chooses the best setting for Shutter Speed and Aperture to correctly expose the film. The Instax Mini 9 is fully automatic, the Camera determines the brightness and all you have to do is adjust the aperture settings on the Lens Barrel to match with what the Camera thinks the correct exposure should be and keeping in mind that the Camera is built for “Selfies”/ Portraits the metering is center weighted this means that the Camera prioritizes in exposing correctly the center of the viewfinder.

The Center weighted metering means that if the background is brighter than your subject the Camera tends to over expose the center, this means that if you stand too close to the camera, your skin tone will appear paler.


Focal Length

Focal length to put it simply is the “Zoom” of the camera,  The Focal length determines how much of the scene is captured by the Camera the greater the focal length the narrower the field of view the closer the scene is and vice versa, for the Instax Mini 9, the Focal length is fixed at 60mm so that’s that.

The minimum Focusing distance of the Instax Mini 9 is 60cm about an arm’s length away. Any closer and you’ll be out of focus.



Aperture is how much the lens allow light to pass through towards the Camera. Aperture is tricky, the Smaller the F value the wider the opening is, meaning more light coming in, the Bigger the F value the smaller the opening is the less light coming in. Fujifilm has given a table on how the Aperture on the Instax relates with the shooting condition.


Shutter speed

Shutter Speed is time how much light is exposed to the Instax Mini 9’s film and with the Instax being automated, it is fixed at 1/60 sec.

Shutter speed and Aperture polygon

In Digital Photography we are used to the term Exposure Triangle, namely, Aperture, shutter speed and ISO, when you adjust one factor the rest is affected, however with the Instax, we only have to think about the Shutter speed and Aperture.

The Instax Mini 9 has a fixed Shutter Speed at 1/60 and only has 4 aperture values to choose from so you really don’t have that much flexibility in terms of shooting conditions.



The Instax Mini 9 is a point and shoot at best conditions. You don’t have control over the shutter speed, meaning at 1/60 sec you’ll have to be still in taking photos and your subjects have to motionless. If your taking photo of a moving object chances are it might come out blurry.

The limited options for aperture means that the optimum shooting conditions for the Instax are limited. Taking photos on a bright day might over expose your image for two reasons, you can’t adjust the shutter speed to compensate for the blinding light and you can’t adjust the aperture to prevent more light from hitting the film. this means that your shooting conditions must adjust for the Camera.

2. Adjusting for limitations

The Instax Mini 9’s simplicity is also it’s Achilles heel, the fixed shutter speeds and limited aperture options means that you are not able to adjust to extreme shooting conditions beyond a moderately lighted room to a bright sunny day on the beach without underexposing and over exposing your shots respectively.

To overcome the Instax Mini 9’s limitations is simply not to fight the battles you cannot win, and the Instax is simply not equipped to handle low light scenes, highly contrasting scenes and scenes that are too bright. To overcome the limitations you either have to avoid extremes or be creative in using the camera’s limitation to create a new perspective in the photo.

So what and where do you shoot at? well, follow us, the next lesson is about Composition for the Instax and later on we’ll be discussing how to take photo’s in the beach, at party’s and other extreme conditions.

Lesson 2: Know the Instax mini 9



by: Miss TEE



5 thoughts on “Lesson 1: Instant Camera theory 101

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s