What to Look for in an Instant Camera for Kids

Pose, press and print.

kid holding an instant camera
Modern instant cameras may have features like a selfie mirror or a button to print duplicates of images.Unsplash

Before digital and phone cameras took over, instant cameras were the only way to achieve instant-gratification picture taking. They’re still around capturing moments to remember and selfies for both grown-ups and kids. If you’re buying one for the child in your life, be sure to pick a model that’s easy to use—just point and shoot. Controls for tones and filters will also come in handy, as will auto flash, a selfie mirror and a reprint button for producing duplicates to share. Some come with various advanced features too, but they’ll all be useless if you don’t fill the instant camera with self-developing film and printing paper.

FujiFilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera + Fuji Instax Film (40 Sheets) + Accessories Bundle - Carrying Case, Color Filters, Photo Album, Stickers, Selfie Lens + More (Flamingo Pink)
Among other bonus features, it includes an adjustable strap, four colored filters, 10 hanging frames, 10 clips and string, five plastic stand-up frames and a microfiber cleaning cloth.FujiFilm

Taking a decent instant camera photo doesn’t require major photography skills, and if you buy a model that allows you to control exposure, flash and focal range, you may have to go through a pack of film to get the settings right. For the best focus, exposure and illumination when taking pictures, your primary subject should be two to eight feet from you—and remember: bold colors pop.

Fujifilm instax Mini 9 Instant Camera (Ice Blue) with Film Twin Pack Bundle (2 Items)
It produces wallet-size 2.13” X 3.4” photos, has a macro lens that can take close-ups from 35 cm to 50 cm away and has an attached selfie mirror.Fujifilm

Most kids will probably use their instant camera to take lots of selfies, so a good selfie mirror will guarantee that they and their friends always strike the most photogenic poses possible. Selfie mirrors pop out from the lens and function like the self-portrait LCD screen view on phone cameras.

Zink Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera (Purple) with ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology
It produces smudge-proof 2” X 3” prints, and there’s a reprint button for sharing. You can also save everything to upload to a computer later.Zink

Zink technology (a portmanteau of “zero ink”) is a property of instant digital cameras that eliminates the need for ink cartridges, ribbons and toners when producing prints. Zink involves a film-free process that holds layers of dye in self-adhesive photo paper; when an image prints, it uses heat pulses to mix the dye into the final image, which will be about the size of a credit card.