A Polaroid P600 instant camera on a bright blue background

This isn’t the camera I had – that’s been lost at some point over the past 20 years – but it is a Polaroid P600. (Image credit: Amazon / Polaroid)

Shaky like a polaroid picture

To four-year-old me, every picture I printed with my Polaroid P600 was a masterpiece. I kept every single one in a binder (actually three binders as the first two got filled up) and would proudly show off my work to everyone that I could – whether they wanted to see it or not. 

But I was not a good photographer, and even now I’m not sure I have the skill to wield an instant camera properly.

For some people, that flash and print mechanism – that one shot at glory – is what elevates instant cameras over even the best mirrorless or DSLR cameras. But, as my younger self demonstrated, if you aren’t careful, your whole roll of film can be wasted by blurry photo after blurry photo.

And as a child, you don’t care. You burn through the shots you have and then one day a new roll of film arrives as if by magic and you can naively snap away again. But now, as an adult that has to shell out for each picture myself, I don’t want to see my income frittered away because of my artistic incompetence.

(Here I would insert some of the pictures I took when I was younger, of poorly lit haunted houses, half-eaten cupcakes, and my pet dog, but my mum and dad couldn’t find my photo album. So instead, enjoy this recreation)

A cupcake with a bite taken out of it by AMBERORDONEZ that has been distorted to make it look more like the picture I would take

Blurry, distorted, kind of a weird subject; it’s just like all the pictures I used to take with my P600 (Image credit: Shutterstock / AMBERORDONEZ)

To that end, I much prefer the spray and pray method using my