The digital age brought about the fall and revamping of #InstantCameras

By Mackenzie Moffitt

Planning an event and want to make sure your guests remember it? Let them take snapshots of the memories they want to make by providing them with the technology to make it happen. The polaroid cameras that most of us came to know as children have gotten a modern update as their manufacturers keep them relevant in the digital age. From analog to digital, the wide range of available cameras provides versatility to a new wave of users.

Recently, we’ve discussed how emerging technologies such as VR can be used to showcase events, but here we will discuss the history and revitalization of a technology that dates back to the 1940’s.

A Brief History of Instant Cameras

Edwin H. Land left Harvard University after a single year to pursue his passion for light polarization. At its core, this is the redistribution of light waves, mostly used to reduce glare in glasses and photographic lens filters.  Among Land’s first products, were goggles for the U.S. military and it wasn’t until 1947 that he conceived and developed the first instant camera. He presented it to an incredulous audience at the Optical Society of America the same year, launching his brand, Polaroid. Over the years, Polaroid as a company became synonymous with its instant cameras. For a full history of the brand, check out Polaroid’s timeline.

Unfortunately, in the early 21st century, the digital age nearly wiped out these iconic cameras. Desperate to preserve a piece of history, a group of people that became known as the Impossible Project saved the last manufacturing warehouse and equipment of Polaroid, as the company announced that it was discontinuing the production of its film.

“When Polaroid announced the end of instant film in 2008, Impossible stepped in to buy the last remaining factory, days before it closed down. The machines had been dismantled, there were no formulas to follow and the supply chain had already been destroyed. If we wanted to keep instant photography alive, we had to reinvent instant film from scratch.”

From the Impossible Project website

Because of that save, Polaroid camera enthusiasts and those with nostalgia fever can still purchase three different types of instant camera film for their vintage cameras, in both black and white and color. They also repair the old cameras to working condition in an effort to encourage people to create tangible photography.

A 21st Century Revitalization

The revival of the original Polaroid cameras, in turn, sparked a resurgence of companies creating new instant cameras better suited for the 21st century. We’ve highlighted a few of the major ones that are making a splash below.

The first is the Polaroid SnapTouch, from the original brand itself. It features the same iconic rainbow on it that the old Polaroid OneStep cameras had, as well as the simple, red circular shutter button. The best features of this particular camera though, are its flash and digital LCD touch screen on the back. This digital addition allows users to edit the photos they like prior to printing or delete the ones that aren’t so great. See more photos and read tech blog New Atlas’s (formerly known as Gizmag) full review here.

The next camera on our list is actually a production from the Impossible Project, the company mentioned above that revitalized Polaroid’s film. The I-1 prints users photos instantly, but, like any good modern camera, it connects to an exclusive app on the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth. This app gives the user the ability to manipulate camera settings like aperture and shutter speed, ensuring versatility and a creative edge over other, simpler instant cameras. Another golden feature? The ring flash, which is hailed by photographers globally for its ability to highlight facial features of their subjects. This new addition is sure to make photos really pop.

Anyone who’s dabbled in photography is sure to have lusted after Leica cameras. The newest addition to their lineup is no less drool-worthy. The German luxury camera brand has introduced their own instant camera for the well-off photo enthusiasts of the world, the Leica Sofort. With its tagline, “Frame Those Special Moments,” this high end instant camera retails at $299, which is the same price as Impossible Projects I-1, but the Leica offers unique settings such as Selfie, Party and People, and Double Exposure modes. As a much smaller and more portable alternative, and available in three swoon-worthy colors, this one is perfect to pass around at your next event.

We’ve saved arguably the most popular for last. The Fuji Instax collection has mini and wide options, offering two different feels for its users. This collection is easily the most popular due to its affordability and variety of styles. It comes in a multitude of colors, a retro throwback version, and even a Hello Kitty model. This one is popular at weddings and other events where planners want to add a lively and interactive flair for their guests.

Events: How to Add Instant Flair for Lasting Memories

So now that we’ve seen a few of the new instant cameras, how are event planners incorporating them into their events? One popular idea is to tape the prints within a guest book to create more of a memory than a signature, while another is to set them up in a photo booth with some props and let guests keep the images that they create.

One company that has taken the idea to a new level is Photoboxx. This one doesn’t actually use an instant camera, but rather is a printer that users at an event can connect to through social media. The Photoboxx device lets users take photos, hashtag and post them with the event’s tag, and then edit and print the photos while they’re still there. This is a great way to capture (pun fully intended) your guest’s attention and get them to interact with each other, while spreading the hype about the event across the web. Not only do they get something out of it, but it allows you as the planner to generate free marketing and publicity around your affair.

Snap. Tag. Print. Watch a video of how it’s done below.

Wrapping Up

Interested in how you can increase guest interaction at your next event? As a full-service event production company, Wired Production Group is happy to discuss innovative and creative ways for your event to stand out. We can brainstorm with you and point you in the direction of a multitude of options, as well as provide the ambiance, aura, and set the scene for all of the photos and memories you and your guests create