First off let me just say I am no expert in Polaroid photography. In fact I am new to the whole arena of Polaroid photography – BUT – I wanted to share my journey with my fun and finicky Polaroid SX-70, in hopes that it helps someone else out there in Internetland.

The SX-70 with The Impossible Project’s, PX70 Color Protection Film is like a majestic creature. Beautiful. Romantic. And hard to tame. At least for me at this point.

So, with out further adieu here’s some things that went wrong for me…

TEMPERATURE
I shot my very first Polaroid SX-70 photograph when it was about 40 degrees out. Which is waaaaay to cold. When it is below the optimal temperature that the film requires it doesn’t allow the chemicals to properly develop the image and thus results in a blue-ish, green-ish washed out image like below –

troubleshooting SX-70

To remedy this problem, ideally will need a cold clip which you can purchase from The Impossible Project – here. In cold weather below 60 degrees or so, before creating your image, place the cold clip against your body to warm up. Take your image, then immediately place your photo in the pre-warmed cold clip and place against your body. Leave it there for at least a few minutes.

You can choose to leave it to warm even when it is not cold or for an extended period of time to achieve an orange toned image. Like the image below –

Troubleshooting SX-70 2

DARK/LIGHT WHEEL SETTING
Here’s where a lot of trial and error has been coming into play for me at least. I started off with the suggested setting for the PX70 Color Protection Film of 1/3 dark. For my camera this has proven to leave me with an overexposed image like below –

Troubleshooting SX-70 3

To remedy this problem I find that I have to be at least 1/2 dark for my SX-70. After talking to my friend and talented Polaroid photographer Bria, I found out that each of the SX-70 camera’s do their own thing. Mine may like to overexpose while another may underexpose.

Speaking of Bria, she is putting together an e-course teaching Polaroid photography. She has an incredible knowledge of the various Polaroid camera’s and films out there. She also is a very talented artist and will no doubt help you to increase your creativity. Stay tuned to her blog to find out about the e-course when she launches it. I know I will be signing up!

STRONG LIGHTING
The Polaroid SX-70 just doesn’t like back-lighting or really any type of harsh lighting, for me at least. It tends to blow the highlights to smithereens. Which can be a cool effect if that is what you intended. In the image below, I however did not…

Troubleshooting SX-70 4

The above three problems of temperature, dark/light wheel setting and strong lighting is what I have learned thus far on my instant photography adventure with my SX-70. The SX-70 may be a bit tricky to just dive right in and get a perfect shot, but once you keep practicing and finally do get the image you had visualized it is all so very worth it. I know I am hooked.

Hop on over to The Impossible Project’s user gallery (here) to see some very inspiring and incredible instant photographs.

If you have any tips/thoughts/advice for Polaroid Photography please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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