Long Live Celluloid


When I hear the sound of a disposable camera’s wheel advancing, nostalgia sets in.  There is something magical about pressing a button and later having the film developed to see what you captured, something instantaneous digital cameras can’t ever have.

Although masterpieces can be created with an expensive DSLR, artistic looking, standout prints can be made with a less-than-$5 disposable camera. To be the one behind the lens that creates amazing prints, you need to use, abuse, and modify your cheap standby with these tips.

1) Flash Filters: Adding or holding a flash filter in front of your camera’s flash will give your photos a surprising dose of color. Try taping cellophane, wax paper, or some other sort of porous/translucent material over the bulb. Or, for an even faster fix, color it in with a permanent marker.

Flash filter pic by photog meimaimaggio on flickr

Lens filter pic by Photojojo

2) Lens Filters: Just as with  flash filters, you can add different materials the the lens of camera to create different effects. DIY filters can include sunglasses, a glass bottle, cellophane, or whatever is within reach.

3) Fisheye Lens: Fisheye lenses for iPhones are pretty easy to find, and by putting one onto the lens of a disposable camera, you can really get use out of it. Just put the magnetic ring around the camera’s lens, add the fisheye, and start snapping. Results are sure to be trippppy and fun.

4) Damage the Film:  We all know that putting a camera’s film in sunlight, or exposing a camera to extreme temperatures, can cause interesting things to happen. But, why not do this on purpose? Photographer Thomas Anderson has mastered the art of damaging disposables and his photos are amazing proof. Submerge your camera in water, freeze it, or leave it in your car in the summer. I dare you.

Thomas Anderson threw his camera in a pool

5) Damage the Lens: To get retro or vintage looking photos without an app, scratch your lens with steel wool or sand paper, melting it with a lighter, or even popping the lens out and flipping it backwards.

This lens was scratched with a screwdriver

To learn more ways to destroy your disposable camera, visit Photojojo’s site. Until then, happy snapping!
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