What are the best instant film cameras for weddings?

We live in an era where almost everyone has access to a multi-megapixel, artificial-intelligence-enhanced phone camera, yet nothing seems able to replace the magic of instant film cameras. With their immediate results and unique photograph quality, instant cameras give us the perfect blend of modern instant gratification and vintage-feeling images. Bringing an instant camera to a wedding is a wonderful way to capture some truly one-of-a-kind memories.

What to look for in an instant camera

Most instant film cameras work the same way: simply press the shutter button and a chemical reaction takes place on the film that gradually develops into your photograph. To make them easy and convenient to use, instant cameras tend to offer autofocusing and a flash. Depending on what you’re looking for in an instant camera, you may be interested in other available features:

  • If you want to be able to easily take flawless selfies, look for an instant camera with a built-in selfie mirror to help you line up your shot.
  • Let your creativity flow with double exposure mode, light painting or other artistic features.
  • Some instant cameras handle exposure and shutter speed automatically, while others let the user customize these settings. Some high-end instant cameras even connect to apps via Bluetooth that let you control it like a manual camera.
  • For guaranteed steadiness while taking photos, look for an instant camera that can attach to a tripod.
  • If you’re afraid you’ll miss your digital camera comforts, look for instant cameras that can store your photos on microSD cards or even let you preview your shot on an LCD screen before it prints.

Instant camera film sizes

Instant film comes in three sizes. Wide film, the type used in classic Polaroid cameras, takes an image size of 2.4 inches by 3.9 inches. Mini film, used in popular instant cameras such as the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, takes rectangular photos that measure 2.4 inches by 1.8 inches. Finally, square instant camera film is also available, taking 2.4-inch square photos.

Since instant camera film generally isn’t interchangeable between brands, it’s important to factor in its cost while you’re shopping. Depending on the film size and brand, instant camera film can cost $0.80-$2 per shot. The price will also be higher for instant camera film with novelty frames, such as metallic or rainbow colors, or for adhesive-backed film that can be used as stickers.

How to develop instant camera photos

Instant photos can take up to 15 minutes to fully develop. While you’re probably familiar with the notion of shaking an instant photograph to help it develop faster, this is unnecessary. The film doesn’t “dry” because it’s covered in a layer of clear plastic, and the shaking motion can disrupt the film’s chemicals and ruin the photo.

To safely develop the shots from your instant camera, place them face down on a flat, level surface. Protecting the image from extra light and movement will help it develop clearly.

Best instant cameras

Best Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera

Packed with vintage style and user-friendly features, this analog camera can let you easily take selfies thanks to its built-in selfie mirror. It prints high-quality, credit-card-sized photos and offers automatic exposure, auto shutter speed and auto brightness for effortless shooting. It comes with a hand strap. Sold by Amazon

Best Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera

Kodak Printomatic Digital Instant Print Camera

This smartphone-sized hybrid camera can take color or black-and-white photos up to 10 megapixels. Photos print onto 2-inch by 3-inch adhesive-backed photo paper, which comes with the camera, or you can save photos for later by storing them in a microSD card. It’s available in several bright colors as well as black. Sold by Amazon and Staples

Best Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

The popular Mini 11 has a chunky, cheerful shape and a pastel plastic body that’s small enough to slip into a bag. It offers automatic exposure so it’s easy for anyone to use. Bundles that include a wrist strap, decorative shutter button covers, instant film and more are also available, making this camera a great value. Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Staples

Best Polaroid Now I-Type Instant Camera

Polaroid Now I-Type Instant Camera

This analog camera may look like the classic Polaroid you remember, but it offers several modern features to help you take even better photos. Autofocus helps eliminate the risk of blurry photos, while double exposure lets you play with composition. Plus, it comes in several color choices. Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Staples

Best Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 Instant Camera

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 Instant Camera

If you love the look of your square Instagram photos, consider capturing memories on this square-format instant camera. Activate its selfie mode by twisting the lens and enjoy final image sizes 1.5 times larger than the rectangular Instax Mini prints. The camera comes in three vintage-inspired hues. Sold by Amazon

Best Polaroid Now+ Bluetooth Connected I-Type Instant Camera with Lens Filter Set

Polaroid Now+ Bluetooth Connected I-Type Instant Camera with Lens Filter Set

This analog camera upgrades the Polaroid Now by connecting to an app for creative and technical control, unlike almost any other instant camera. Play with creative modes such as double exposure, portrait mode, light painting and more, or pop on one of the included lens filters. Sold by Amazon

Best instant camera film

Best Fujifilm Monochrome Instax Film

Fujifilm Monochrome Instax Film

Take beautiful black-and-white photographs with this film, which fits Fujifilm Instax Mini cameras. The photo area measures 2.4 inches by 1.8 inches. They’re sold in packs of 10. Sold by Staples and Amazon

Best Fujifilm Instax Mini Rainbow Instant Film

Fujifilm Instax Mini Rainbow Instant Film

Make your instant photos into instant keepsakes with this film, which decorates every shot with an ombre rainbow frame. It can be used in Fujifilm Instax Mini cameras. Sold by Staples and Amazon

Best Fujifilm Instax Square Twin Pack Film

Fujifilm Instax Square Twin Pack Film

This bundle lets you take 20 high-quality exposures with a square-format Fujifilm Instax camera such as the SQ1 or SQ6. The photo area measures 2.4 inches by 2.4 inches. Sold by Amazon

Best Polaroid Color I-Type Film Golden Moments Edition

Polaroid Color I-Type Film Golden Moments Edition

Capture memories of a truly special occasion with these gold-framed instant photos. This instant film fits Polaroid I-Type cameras and delivers 16 photos with smooth gold frames. Sold by Amazon

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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.   

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