Our Obsessions: Disposable Cameras

Our Obsessions: Disposable Cameras

Because like every other basic girl I think I’m ~quirky~ when I post disposable photos on Instagram.

Disclaimer: I can’t take credit for any of these photos because my insanely talented friend Qi Di Zheng took all of these (on the off chance that anybody actually reads these, check out her insta @qidizheng)

It’s no secret that disposable photos have come back into trend. Within the past two years, I’ve seen every VSCO girl switch from the C1 filter (don’t lie I know you used this at one point or another) to filters that give a vintage/ disposable look to them. Lucky for you, I interviewed the queen of the disposable, Qi Di Zheng, on everything under the sun related to disposable cameras.

What was the first disposable camera that you started using?

The first disposable I ever used was made by Fuji– a classic. I got a two-pack from Amazon the week before Gov Ball in 2017. I didn’t finish it until the very end of senior year, and I never got it developed. It’s still sitting in my room collecting dust. I believe the other one from the two pack was used for my freshman year at college and it really made me fall in love with vintage film.

What is the difference between a film camera and a disposable camera?

A disposable camera is essentially a film camera. A film camera is any camera that requires films rather than an SD cord, like most modern digital cameras. A disposable is a single-use film camera.

What made you want to switch to the film camera?

I switched from disposable cameras to a film camera because it was more cost efficient to invest in a single camera and constantly buy film than to constantly buy single use cameras. Also, disposables aren’t great for the environment.

Do you have any advice to ensure that your film/disposable photos don’t come out overexposed/ underexposed?

I personally think it’s always better to have it overexposed as opposed to underexposed. I usually set my camera to a standard 4.0 aperture and a 1/250 shutter speed since most of the pictures I take on an old fashion film camera are usually in the day time with adequate lighting. I like to carry around a more digitized film camera at night because it is more portable and there’s a flash built in. I personally love taking pictures with flash– it really adds to the “old-timey” look.

What do you use as inspiration for your photos?

Inspiration wise, I think I developed a certain taste in photos from my pre- teen years as an avid Tumblr user. I’ve noticed that I have very specific preferences in aesthetics and subject matter. I also follow film accounts on Instagram and I occasionally go on VSCO– whenever I remember that I have the app– to check out some cool pictures. I also think people forget– me included– that VSCO was originally used as a place to share professional photography. I also get inspiration from my friends. I really love taking pictures of them because I see these pictures as a time capsule that I can’t wait to look back on.

Do you have any advice for those looking to get into taking more film photos?

I think any advice I would give is to start off with disposables, it is less complicated and very easy to use. To this day, some of my favorite pictures are taken on disposables. I feel like the best film pictures are the ones that aren’t as posed and taken very nonchalantly.

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to spend money on disposable cameras and getting the photos developed, check out David Dobrik’s app David’s Disposable for a free alternative.