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Having had the opportunity to travel to places such as India and China, with non-profit organisations and for community service projects, I’ve been very fortunate to meet very interesting and wonderful villagers and to tell their stories through my photography. Each time on the plane back home, I often think about how I would be able to show them the photos that I’ve taken, and whether it was possible for me to print them out and send it to them over from Singapore.
But I soon realised this wasn’t a very good idea since some of the people who I’ve photographed happen to be living in villages up in the mountains, or faraway from any mailbox. When I borrowed my sister’s Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S to photograph people on the streets, it was clear to me that the Instax prints were a brilliant way of giving back to people who have so graciously given me a chance to photograph them. Since my Fujifilm X-T1 has a wireless capability to send photos to my iPhone, I decided to purchase a Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1.
What makes this an essential tool in the bags of travel photographers and photojournalists is that, as compared to printing and sending over from wherever you live, this is instant and the whole printing and photo developing process is a lot of fun.
No matter how many times I’ve printed with this device, I’m still very excited about seeing the print developing by itself. It’s an even more magical experience for the people you are giving it to, who are most probably going to see this for the first time.
Here are some steps to help you get started:
1) Make it a point to photograph the people around you
It is one of the best habits to have as a photographer, to photograph the people you meet along the way when you’re travelling. This builds on the use of photography to help you record your adventures, as well as to send them their photos after you’re done processing them. In this case, with the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1, I was able to pick the best photo of that individual, and quickly process them on my phone.
2) Choose and Prepare a photo for printing
Choose the best photo that you know they will be really happy to have. A rule of thumb will be to choose a photo that they will be happy to keep in their wallets, so make sure it is well-lit and flattering.
To prepare a photo for printing, first process them the way you would depending on your style of photography. I love this process because I can now have control over how the photo will turn out in the print.
Left: Before | Right: After
Recommendation: Increase the contrast so that the colours on the print will look nice and rich. That is unless you’re looking to achieve the classic fade on your instant prints — The Fujifilm Instax does this really well while not making it seem too washed out so be careful not to add too much fade in your post-processing workflow.
3) Connect to the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1, Final Touches, and Print
Open up the Fujifilm Instax Share application, which is available on both the iOS and Android. Over there, click edit and align it properly.
Recommendation: Ensure that their faces are big enough to be seen by zooming in accordingly if you have taken the photo from a distance. Remember, it is for them to be able to see themselves clearly when they keep that photo in their wallets. Also, look through all the other customizations that the application has to offer, such as the adding of text to the print.
Once you’re satisfied with how the photo looks, connect the printer and print.
4) Show them the printing process and hand them the print immediately
It starts right from the moment printing commences. Find a way to show them the whole printing and developing process. I’ll usually allow them to pull it out from the printer when it’s done to let them feel that they are part of the process. Take some time to explain what will happen right before anything even starts appearing on the Instax.
Recommendation: Let them, in any way you can, feel that they are contributing to the printing and developing process. Most of the time they will be fanning the Instax print even though it doesn’t help speed up the developing process… BUT DO NOT STOP THEM.
It’s a lot more fun for them to feel that they are doing something to help develop the photo. :)
A really useful function on the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 is the option to reprint. This comes in very handy either to keep one for yourself, and when there is more than one person in the photo.
Recommendation: Do not reprint if it is intended for yourself. You can do that when you’re back home with enough instant films. When I’m on-the-go, I would prefer using all the Instax films that I’ve brought along to print for them first.
Now go make someone’s day and share the joy of photography.
Recommended starter pack includes Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 and film bundle.