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The Instax Mini film I was shooting had been out of date since 2009.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I wasn’t sure what to expect from out-of-date Instax film, but I did I find out pretty quickly that it exhibited some of the same characteristics I was used to when using out-of-date print and slide films (and which aren’t necessarily bad): more prominent grain, color shifts, and decreased sensitivity to light (read: it needs more light to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!

Thanks Amanda! For more information about Instax film check out Kent Hall’s Instax work and the great Instax work of Photominimal.

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