#78 – Take 101 photos with my Fujifilm instax mini 25 (plus tips & tricks)

by Elizabeth on January 3, 2013 · 18 comments

in 101 in 1001, Photo Posts, Videos

I’ve set myself a challenge to complete 101 Things in 1001 Days, from 1 January 2012 to 28 September 2014.  #78 on my list is to take 101 photos with my Fujifilm instax mini 25 camera.

I’ve had this fun little camera for a while now, and we seem to go through phases with each other.  There are months on end where it sits neglected in a drawer, and there are days where I go through 3 packs of film before lunch.  It’s a great little toy when I remember it’s there.

I decided to call this task “done” when I had taken 101 photos that were good enough to share.  Some of them turned out as expected, others are happy accidents probably look like mistakes to the average person!  I’m sure I could have presented an entirely different set of 101 photos if I kept this open until the end of my 1001 Days but it’s time for me to start concentrating on the other items on my list.

Enjoy the little video above, and try not to notice the terrible nailpolish!  We all do things we regret on New Years Eve.

Photojojo Fuji Instax Camera

Image from photojojo.com, which is one of my favourite places for photo gadgets.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 takes instant photographs, much like a polaroid camera.  The photos are about the size of a credit card and there are enthusiasts out there who use them in journals and other crafty projects.  Lots of people are making albums that are sized for these photos and there are stacks of accessories on etsy and ebay.  I think people who love this camera really love this camera.

This camera isn’t for everybody, although most people would enjoy the novelty factor of instant film.

Through trial and error I’ve learned a bit about which lighting situations will work for this camera, and which ones won’t.  One of the  main frustrations that people have with the instax mini is that there’s no way to manually control the flash or shutter speed, so there’s an element of risk each time you take a shot.  Most indoor shots will cause the flash to fire and that can cause annoying glare on reflective surfaces.  If you’re photographing people indoors the flash does a great job and gives a fun 80’s feel.

The photos I liked best were taken in full sunlight, or in places with HEAPS of bright ambient light.



The page where I have been posting my instax photos has been attracting a lot of google traffic throughout the year, and I’ve noticed that most of the search terms are related to problems that people have with using the camera.  I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things I’ve learned, especially since the manual that comes with the camera is pretty useless!

I’m not an expert (I’m not even happy with all 101 shots) but I did get better at it over time.


  • You should expect to waste a few packets of film when you first get your camera.  Film isn’t cheap, but in my experience the only way to learn is to keep shooting.  Photograph the same object multiple times, adjusting your distance or light source, until you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
  • I always buy my film through eBay now because it can be much cheaper than the usual places.  I usually get a good deal when I buy them in packs of a couple of hundred.  Whether you’re buying film online or in a store always check the expiry date.  Sometimes the price is too good to be true, and a seller who doesn’t disclose this information in their product description is probably shady.  My last few purchases have been made through cameragirl and they’ve been great.
  • Once you have your film don’t let it sit around collecting dust, and remember that it expires.  If you’re too precious with your camera or your film you’ll never learn to use it to its full potential.  Be ready to pay about $1 per photo, and don’t be too mad about the ones that end up in the trash.


  • Taking a photo in full, bright sunlight will give vivid colours and a low-risk shot.
  • Some of my favourite photos were taken directly into to the sun, like the bird feeder and tomato plant above.  The brightest spots in the photo will be overexposed and you may end up with a black or green dot in your image.  That’s the film telling you that your scene was too bright, but I love it.
  • If you’d prefer to avoid this shoot your subject in direct sunlight but put the light source behind you.  The brightest spots may still be over exposed but you shouldn’t experience any burn.  The two photos of my dog above were shot this way, and while the detail of his white fur is lost to overexposure overall there’s more control in those shots.
  • The other four photos above (mug & lemons, baseball game, ivy & vases) were shot in areas with heaps and heaps of ambient light.  The instax needs a LOT of light, so it’s pretty quick to fire its flash if the scene isn’t perfectly lit.
  • The flash is brilliant for photographing people at night and in low light.


  • Don’t forget that what you see through the viewfinder is just a guide.  As the viewfinder doesn’t sit directly over the lens there will be some differences in the framing of the final product.  It’s not easy to line up a perfectly symmetrical shot with this camera, so embrace imperfection!
  • The camera comes with a closeup lens, but it’s not a macro lens.  You’ll still need be a good arms length away from your subject to get it in focus, and I wasted a lot of film figuring out that sweet spot!  I also kept forgetting to remove it for landscape scenes which is why some of them are blurry.  I found I’m more tolerant of these sorts of mistakes with my instax than I ever could be with my SLR or DSLR.
  • Don’t buy this camera if you’re a control freak, or you will be miserable.  Embrace imperfection and you will love it.

If you have one of these cameras I would love to hear your tips in the comments!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

shafiranjani January 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I usually use my instax to take pictures of people and events (friends’ birthdays and such things) which, I guess, doesn’t need many techinques. However, lately I’m thinking of using it in a different way….and this article helps! Thankss.


Pierre January 27, 2013 at 11:55 am

Nice pictures. I enjoyed the video very much. I’ve only had a 50s for a couple of weeks, but I get inspiration from posts like this. My only tip so far is to just let the camera do its thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect:-)


Hiyuki Ong February 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

Thanks for the tips! I’m planning to start taking more instax photos for my diary, and this guide have given me ideas on how to go about it XD


clemz. April 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Would like to ask… what would be a good “distance” to keep from the subject that the flash from the Instax would not over expose the photo?


chelleybelly June 9, 2013 at 7:29 am

what exposure should I use when there are lights? like for example, indoor. i did use the indoor setting when i was at home, but the photo was quite a bit dark. : a little tip about the exposures please? 🙂


Sofia December 31, 2013 at 2:53 pm

I just got my own instax camera and I’m a little lost with it! The thing that I have been wondering is that if I insert the film in my canera, do I have to use the whole film like right a way (within a day or something) or can I just keep them in my camera until I use my camera again in couple weeks or something? I hope that someone can help me with this! Thank you! 🙂


Esther February 21, 2014 at 9:34 am

You don’t have to use up all the film right away. There is an expiration date for the film so just use them within that expiration date which is like an year away from when you first bought them.


Arjayssa Reyes May 29, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Hi I’ve got this instax mini8. I’ve tried to take pictures with it. The picture doesn’t come out properly. It gets dark halfway.what to do*


kinga July 18, 2014 at 7:04 pm

How u taking pics in dark? Like in night time ? Can u even do it? Xx


Esther September 9, 2014 at 1:13 am

Hi. Does anyone know how to make the camera focus on your face when taking a selfie with instax 25?? When I take selfies using the Polaroid, it always focus on my background but not on my face):


Mayki January 4, 2015 at 2:19 am

Hi. you might want to check this blog. http://bellabobot.blogspot.com/2014/02/off-topic-instax-mini-25s-hello-kitty.html both of you almost have the same content. i figured either one of you plagiarized. You posted this a year earlier than her so I thought you might want to know about this.


Chloeelee January 18, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Please help 🙁 I can’t ever get the setting right. I have one that you can choose indoor or sunny setting and when I’m in the full sun I put it on the sun setting but the photo always comes out white and over exposed 🙁


Zaheerah May 17, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Hello, I insert the 10 packs film in my camera…when I’ve taken 5 pictures, it indicates 5 remaining. One day after my finger press the film inside and now it indicates like – ..I don’t know what does this mean…please help????????????


Jackie June 2, 2015 at 1:31 am

I can’t ever get the setting right. I have one that you can choose indoor or sunny setting and when I’m in the full sun I put it on the sun setting but the photo always comes out white and over exposed. Help what am I doing wrong?


Tyler July 16, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Zheerah…did you open the camera with a partially used film cartridge?! That will ruin the film! And the cartridge says not to apply pressure! D:


murni September 4, 2015 at 10:57 pm

Thank you for tips and the idea of your challenge, so lively and lovely…


Zaheerah September 7, 2015 at 11:55 pm

Hey Tyler…thanks for the tips
I opened the camera with used film cartridge…..another questions: does the film expire right after the expiry date or is there some spare time????


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