Antony Hands is a professional photographer and an avid instax user and his enthusiasm for our cameras and his creative work really caught our eye. We asked him about his experiences with various instax models and for his favourite instax tips. Here’s what he had to say.
How long have you been using instax cameras?
Since the release of the Fujifilm mini 90 NEO CLASSIC in 2013, I loved the look of the camera as it reminded me of a classic old rangefinder camera. I also loved the fact that it featured more advanced creative options than many of the instax cameras that came before it, such as the ability to take double exposures.
Which instax models are you most keen on?
I’ve used many instax cameras, including the mini 9, instax WIDE 210 and WIDE 300, the instax 500AF (a wide camera released in Japan in 1999) and more recently the SQ6 and SQ20 SQUARE format cameras. In addition, I’ve also used all of the instax printers, from the SP-1 through to the latest SP-3 SQUARE format printer.
If you were only allowed to use one instax camera ever again, which one would it be and why?
I love the original mini 90 as a fabulous walk around camera. Its compact size, flexibility and great image quality make it a standout for me.
What top five tips would you give to new instax users?
- Choose the format you want to shoot first. instax Mini film is great and inexpensive and the cameras are more compact. instax SQUARE film gives you that classic instant film look and works really well if you are scanning your images to post to Instagram or Facebook. instax WIDE film gives the biggest image, but the cameras are larger, so less easy to pop into a coat pocket or handbag.
- Shoot in good light. instax cameras shine in better light where the bright colours of instax film can really pop!
- Get close to your subject. instax prints are smaller than traditional photos, so get in close to really have your subject fill the frame!
- Take your camera everywhere! You never know when you will see that perfect image waiting to be captured.
- Share your instax images. Get an album to show them or mount them in a collage frame on the wall. Of course, share them online on platforms like Instagram with the rest of the instax community. By sharing and seeing what other users do, you can get great ideas for exploring your own creativity.
Where is the one place you never go without an instax camera?
I take pictures everywhere. I am always carrying an instax camera with me and take pictures every day, so it’s hard to pick just one location. That said, I love capturing my vacations on instax – the immediacy of being able to see your real image when you are travelling makes the trip more fun for me.
And what can you usually be found photographing?
Like most people, I love pictures of my family and since starting my instax journey, I have captured both of my daughters’ first few years on film. My wife takes images of them with her phone and digital camera, but it seems that we only ever look at the instax images I take. There’s just something about taking an instant photo that captures the memory of that particular moment for me and every time I look at the instax print I remember the details all over again.
Tell us about some of the projects you’ve created with your instax photos.
I recently shot a studio session with my daughters where I used an instax SQ6 that had been modified so I could use it with studio flash units. The results were amazing and I’ve framed two 3x3 image montages up on my wall. They look great and everyone comments on how unique they are.
What is your most memorable instax experience?
I’m a professional wedding photographer and when the SP-1 instax printer was first released I snapped one up. During the reception at my next wedding, I transferred 30 images from my Fujifilm X Series digital camera to my phone by Wi-Fi and then printed them out on the spot with the SP-1. When I presented them to the bride, she was overwhelmed and so excited to see her images on the same day. It was such a great experience that I’ve since done it for every wedding!
Have you used the SQ20 yet? What can you tell us about your experience so far?
I have used the SQ20, and I can already see that it is going to be hugely popular. The ability to take lots of images and only print the ones you want will be a big plus for many users and the improved close focusing and low light capabilities will really help users create amazing images they never could have before. Best of all, its compact size and slim shape mean more people than ever will be able to carry their camera with them to capture more of those amazing instax moments!
See more of Antony's instax work on his Instagram @myinstantimages.