Disposable cameras make for the best travel photos
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Disposable cameras make for the best travel photos

With most people owning a mobile phone, taking pictures of our travels has never been so simple. Yet, is having a camera permanently at the ready, and storage no longer limiting how many photos we take, diluting or ruining how we document our travels? Part of me thinks that by taking too many photos, and I’m guilty of this myself, we become more worried about how the photos turn out rather than what we’re taking a picture of. Disposable cameras, I believe, offer a solution to this, where we can still have our cake and eat it.

Disposable cameras force you to take photos that matter most

By only having 27 pieces of film, disposable cameras force you to take photos that matter most. With a phone or digital camera forever in our pocket, we can see the picture straight afterward, take multiple shots, and edit over them all to get the perfect shot. There is nothing wrong with this at all, it’s just sometimes difficult not to become consumed by it all. Disposable cameras cut all of that out, and they give you a physical set of moments from your trip that you can feel in your hand to be treasured for many years to come.

We own the printed master copy of these 28 pictures without them ever existing in our iClouds or premiering on our Instagram or Snapchat stories

Once you have them developed, you can flick through them and discuss them with friends and family, stick them on the walls of your room, or clip them into your travel journal. I believe that this is the rawest and most personal way we can document our travels. We own the printed master copy of these 28 pictures without them ever existing in our iClouds or premiering on our Instagram or Snapchat stories. So instead of getting snap-happy, we’re busy living in the present, and we still have a few physical photos to take us right back to the moments when they happened.

Moreover, when I take too many photos, I begin to depend on them. Instead of remembering what I did in real life, I find that my memories can be sometimes clouded over by the photos I took. So now, wherever I go, I challenge myself to take fewer pictures. If I wish to look back and reminisce, the first point of call is the journal entries I wrote at the time, as well as the photos taken on my disposable or polaroid camera.

I also took advice from a person I met during my travels in Beijing this summer, who only brought two disposable cameras with him for the entire trip and refused to take any on his phone as he believed it tainted the experience. He made me question if I was living through a camera lens more than I should have been.

Using a hybrid of different cameras also works well for me

With disposable cameras, you also have the fun of getting them developed afterward. The longer you wait before getting them developed, the larger the element of surprise from you forgetting some of the photos you took. I waited a year and a half before seeing the pictures from a trip took to Amsterdam in 2017. Waiting for such a long time was so rewarding, and I was pleasantly surprised by the memorable moments I had forgotten I had captured. It was almost like a gift to my future self that took me straight back to those moments more so than I would do when scrolling through the photos already saved on my phone.

Using a hybrid of different cameras also works well for me. For some trips, I like to use a Polaroid Camera, and for others, I love how disposable photos turn out. During weddings, parties and other memorable events, I always have either of these cameras at hand as photos with family members, close friends, and partners are what matters most.

Ultimately, I wish to take the best photos I can of the highlights of my life and using a disposable camera instead of swiping left on my iPhone allows me to do this. Nonetheless, not all photos warrant the use of a disposable camera. So, I still use my phone or digital camera when travelling, which also gives me a bit more room to experiment, getting to retake shots and try different angles.

Disposable cameras are not just a novelty item or a throwback to the 1990s that is bound to wear off

To add, disposable cameras make for a wholesome and appreciated gift for the loved ones in your life. A gift is something special when it has its practical uses but also has a personal touch to it. Gifting someone a disposable camera fulfils this criterion, giving them something that they’ll not only use but allowing them to take precious snapshots of the moments they hold dear.

Thus, disposable cameras are not just a novelty item, or a throwback to the 1990s that is bound to wear off. I personally love the whole idea of these cameras in our digital age. They make us filter out the unnecessary photos we take on our phones, but the photos they create are not filtered in the slightest.

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