Shooting Expired Instax Film

How to shoot expired instax  film

Amanda Raney wrote this for the old blog so I thought it was worth reposting.

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am addicted to shooting expired film.

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am addicted to shooting expired film.

That felt good to get off my chest!

I have shot a fair amount of expired film throughout the years, but until recently, I hadn’t shot expired Instax film. Throughout 2016, I did a daily photo project using Instax, and Believe in Film provided me with the opportunity to use some expired Instax film in the summer of 2016.

The Instax Mini film I was shooting had been out of date since 2009. Right away, I was pleasantly surprised by the results!


Some of my favorite photos while using the this batch of film were taken at a visit to the Memphis Zoo:

Now, just to be clear: using expired film can be risky. You win some, you lose some. In this case, I was also given some Instax Wide film which had expired in 2010. Here’s what happened when I tried the first pack:

Once instant film is past its use-by date, the chemicals in it can dry out, causing the effects you see here.

At least these photos sort of looked like a jack-o’-lantern when I put them together!

Good news now: I decided to try a second pack of the Instax Wide film (same batch that had expired in 2010,) and it worked!

HI! It’s me!

I’ve been meaning to do a tattoo project for quite some time now, and I decided to begin it with this pack of 2010 Instax Wide film. And why not?

Two of my mom’s tattoos

One of my brother’s MANY tattoos

I tried to savor the rest of my expired film, so I ended up getting to use it in a variety of situations: Another visit to the zoo, a girl’s night out in Memphis, and also continuing to incorporate it into my daily photo project.

Exposure issues I warned you about

I was sad to come to the end of my expired Instax stash!


I wasn’t sure what to expect from out-of-date Instax film, but I did I find out pretty quickly that it exhibited some of the same characteristics I was used to when using out-of-date print and slide films (and which aren’t necessarily bad): more prominent grain, color shifts, and decreased sensitivity to light (read: it needs more light to get a good exposure.) In an attempt to counteract potentially underexposed photos, I either a) set my camera to “lighten” or “+1” (depending upon which camera I was using) or b) did double exposures. Both of these measures helped a lot!

I would definitely pick up expired Instax film again in the future!

Leave a Reply