How To Use a Disposable Camera? Tips on How to Get Great Pictures

How To Use a Disposable Camera featured photo

Have you recently purchased a disposable camera but are clueless about using it? Fret not, I’ve been in your shoes before. I was excited about having printed pictures to share with my loved ones or display in my room. However, I didn’t stop to research the basic functions. Fortunately, I learned about these since then.

To use a disposable camera, you must set up the film. Then, activate the flash and position the camera accordingly. Finally, press the shutter button to capture the image. 

However, the basic functions may vary depending on the disposable camera model. Below, we’ll cover how to use a specific brand of disposable cameras. But first, we will teach you their definition and different types.

What Is A Disposable Camera?

Disposable cameras, also called single-use cameras, are compact cameras designed for one-time use only. They usually have a fixed-focus lens and a 35mm film already loaded into the device. Some models come with an integrated flash and an APS cartridge.

Most disposable cameras feature cheap construction, such as plastic and cardboard. These materials can only last for a single roll of film. After taking the picture, the camera is meant to be thrown away and disposed of, hence the name.

Despite their inexpensive materials, single-use cameras can still capture bright and sharp photos. They also provide printed copies of your images after you develop them in a photo lab.

What Are the Different Types of Disposable Cameras?

Disposable cameras come in three types. Let’s take a close look at each of them below.

Full-Color Disposable Cameras

As their name suggests, full-color disposable cameras can capture the full range of colors in a scene. They give you vibrant photos that look similar to the original sight in front of you.

Most color film disposable cameras have a built-in flash. However, some models designed for daylight use lack a flash button.

Black and White Disposable Cameras

Black and White Disposable Cameras

Some disposable cameras produce black-and-white film photos. They do not have emulsion layers with dyes that can bring color to the image. Instead, they only capture the soft black, gray, and white tones. These enable you to take pictures with a vintage aesthetic or a nostalgic feel to them. 

Waterproof Disposable Cameras

A waterproof disposable camera has a similar construction to a standard full-color disposable camera. However, it does feature a built-in flash. Instead, this type of disposable camera has a plastic casing that can withstand contact with water. It allows you to capture pictures during beach trips, diving, sailing, and other water activities. 

How to Use a Disposable Camera?

Now that you know more about disposable cameras, you’re probably wondering how to use them. Below, we’ll cover the steps to follow when using a single-use camera.

Set the Film in Place

First, you must set the film inside the disposable camera. This refers to a semi-transparent strip or sheet that captures an image once exposed to the light.

To prepare the film, you must rotate the scroll or thumb wheel to the right. You will hear a subtle clicking sound once the film is ready for the next frame.

Position the Camera Accordingly

After setting up the film, you’ll want to adjust the disposable camera so that the subject is in the frame. You also want to position the camera to your eyes to see the image in the viewfinder. 

Try to capture the scene from different angles. You might find one that tells your story or showcase your subject better than shooting front and center.

Consider Using the Flash

You might need a flash to illuminate the subject, especially when shooting in dimly lit surroundings and at night. If you don’t use it, you might end up with dark, underexposed photos.

Fortunately, you can find a built-in flash in most disposable cameras. But first, you need to enable it to use it.

Find a button near the flash. Then, slide it to charge the light until you hear a sound. Expect the tone to continue for several seconds before stopping. Once it does, you can now use the flash on your disposable camera.

Press the Button to Capture a Photo

Once you set the camera positioning and flash, you are ready to take pictures with the disposable camera.

Simply press the shutter button located at the top of your camera. Hold the device in both hands to prevent unnecessary shaking. After clicking, remove your fingers from the button. That’s it—you have captured a photo using your disposable camera!

You can shoot as many images as you can as long as there is still unused film within the camera.

Develop the Pictures

The photography process with the disposable camera doesn’t end when you press the shutter button. You must develop the pictures to see the result in printed copies.

First, you’ll need to learn how to get film out of disposable camera. Remove the label or wrapper and open the tabs holding the camera together. Expect the used film to fall out from the device. 

Next, take them to the local photo lab. Wait for a few hours up to several days to receive your developed pictures. You can request printed copies, so you can give them to loved ones or display them in your room. Or you can also store the developed film images on a CD or USB flash drive. 

How To Use A Fujifilm Disposable Camera?

Fujifilm is one of the most popular manufacturers of disposable cameras. These models are relatively easy to use, but they may overwhelm beginners or kids.

Below are some tips on how to use a Fujifilm disposable camera properly.

Set the Film

Turn the scroll wheel to the right to set up the film in the empty frame. In a Fujifilm disposable waterproof camera, you can find the bright green wheel on top of the camera.

Activate the Flash

To use the flash in Fujifilm disposable cameras, slide the large button next to the lens. You will hear a sound that lasts for a few seconds when you enable the flash.

Adjust the Frame Through the Viewfinder

Hold the single-use camera up to your eye so that you can look through the viewfinder. Adjust the position of the device to change the image composition. Make sure the subject is visible in the frame for the best pictures.

Click the Shutter Button

Once you’re satisfied with the framing angle, you can click the shutter button to capture the scene in front of you. Release it to finish taking the photo.

How to Capture Great Pictures Using a Disposable Camera?

Using a disposable camera is easy. However, taking good photos with a disposable camera is another thing entirely. The task can be difficult if you are a beginner.

Below are some tips for capturing great pictures with a disposable camera.

First, lighting is a key factor in creating a beautiful image. You need to shoot the subject near natural or artificial light sources if you want a bright photo. You can also use the built-in flash of your disposable camera to illuminate the subject. Avoid shooting in backlight, though, because the subject will look like a shadow in the image.

You must also consider the angle and position when using a disposable camera. Adjust the device accordingly until you see the subject in the frame. Don’t be afraid to try different shooting angles to achieve unique looks.

Finally, you might want to introduce color in the scene. Doing so will improve the brightness of your photos and make them look more vibrant. 

Why Do Disposable Cameras Exist?

Disposable cameras were designed for the general public who wanted to take photos without going through complicated photography processes. They are compact devices that enable you to capture the moment whenever you want it. They also eliminate your worries about breaking or losing the equipment, unlike expensive DSLRs. 

Why Are Disposable Cameras Becoming Popular Again?

Despite the convenience and stunning image quality of digital cameras, disposable or single-use cameras still have a market today.

These types of cameras are becoming popular again among the general public for several reasons.

First, they lack a filter, which gives your photos an authentic feel.

Disposable cameras also have a limited number of exposures. While this fact may seem like a downside, it is actually a benefit in disguise. The limited exposures encourage you to choose your final photos carefully.

Plus, single-use cameras have the element of surprise in them. It adds to the fun of the whole process as you are excited to see the pictures.

Finally, these cameras offer printed images you can hang on your wall or share in different ways.

Do Disposable Cameras Expire?

A disposable camera does not expire. However, the film for the camera expires. It usually lasts around two to three years after the manufacture date. However, some films can work for five to six years when stored properly and away from heat and humidity.


Disposable cameras are compact, single-use devices that capture an image without going through a complicated digital process.

They are easy to use. Set up the film and use the flash when needed. Then, press the shutter button to take a picture. 

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