Gen Xers might not believe it, but polaroid photos are making a comeback. The bulky cameras that were a staple of the 1980s became popular because they immediately produced a photo and displayed an image within a few minutes of developing. People no longer had to wait at the One Hour Photo to develop film and instead could create cherished memories immediately.
People stopped taking Polaroid photos at the turn of the century when digital cameras and (eventually) smartphones took over and provided immediate displays. In 2023, more than 57,000 photos are taken every second, resulting in more than 5 billion photos taken per day. With endless photo-taking and editing technology in your pocket, why are some people returning to the tried and true Polaroid? And what can you do with these images?
Here are a few ideas for displaying or digitizing your delicate Polaroid photos through a photo and slide scanning service.
Why are younger generations returning to Polaroids?
There are several reasons why people are searching for Polaroid cameras in thrift shops and ordering fresh film to use with them. Polaroid technology feels quaint, which means that it is seeing a rebirth in the same way that some people are using typewriters again. Polaroid cameras also allow photographers to eliminate the distractions of smartphones and capture a few extra special images instead of hundreds of average ones.
Think about it this way: when was the last time you looked at your vacation photos from 2019? Let’s say you took 250 photos on your smartphone during a weeklong cruise. How frequently do you look back at all of them? Compare these photos to a print photo from your wedding, which hangs up on your wall. You might look at that photo every time you get ready for work or climb into bed at night.
Polaroid photos offer the same level of care because of their limitations. While a group of friends might take a dozen smartphone photos and only one Polaroid image, the person who keeps that print photo will display it and look back at the memories more often.
What should you do with your Polaroid photos?
Whether you have a stack of photos from decades past or are exploring the use of your Polaroid camera again, there are plenty of things you can do with these photos. Here are a few Polaroid photo ideas to consider as you sort through each image.
1. Display Them
Polaroid photos can help you make fun and personalized art for your walls. There are multiple ways to display these images creatively so they become conversation starters when guests arrive. A few ideas include:
- Invest in some twine or string to hang up in your space. Clip the photos to this string with clothespins. You can hang up each new image as it develops to create a living timeline.
- Visit thrift shops to look for empty window or picture frames. You can hang these items in your home and place different photos inside them.
- Look for small spaces to tuck your photos. Keeping a special Polaroid memory on your bathroom mirror can make you smile whenever you brush your teeth.
When choosing your photo placement, try to keep your Polaroid photos away from direct sunlight and moisture. This will help them last longer.
2. Place Them in An Album
If you’re already embracing the old-school idea of taking Polaroid photos, why not store them in a photo album? You can either buy a large album to hold all of your photos over the years or create a new album each year. Whenever you add a new Polaroid picture to the album, you can look back at the other photos you took and the memories that went with them.
Storing Polaroid photos in an album is a gateway to scrapbooking. You might find yourself adding event ticket stubs, stickers, and or mementos to these books to keep your memories fresh and colorful.
3. Give Polaroid Photos As Gifts
Polaroid photos make great memories to tuck into holiday greetings and other special occasion cards. Whenever you send a card, look through your Polaroid photos to get an idea of if you have a good picture to include to the recipient. This could be a memory of the two of you laughing at a wedding or relaxing on the beach during the summer.
In the same way that you smile when you see that photo, your gift recipient will be happy to relive the times you spent together through the image.
4. Turn Them Into Holiday Ornaments
Depending on your personal style, there are plenty of ways to turn Polaroid photos into holiday ornaments. You can punch a hole in the top of the photo and tie the picture to your Christmas tree with ribbon. You can also place the photos in larger ornament balls to protect them. Each year, you can add a few new photos to your tree until it tells the story of your family memories from branch to branch.
5. Digitize Them
If you found a stack of Polaroid photos tucked in the back of your closet, consider sending them to Memory Fortress (along with other prints, tapes, and film rolls) for digitization. We can create digital copies of your Polaroid memories so they won’t fade.
While it’s certainly impressive that your Polaroid photos lasted this long, you don’t want the images to break down even more than they already have. Plus, you can share these newly-digitized copies with the people in the photos or with those who took them.
Send Your Analog Media to Memory Fortress
At Memory Fortress, our goal is to save as many images, videos, slides, and scrapbooks as you have. Time, sun, moisture, and dust can all wear down your old media and destroy it over time. We want to preserve the VHS tapes of your high school graduation and the slides from your grandmother’s wedding.
If you have a closet full of photo albums and other prints from decades past, sort through these memories and send them to our team. We are happy to digitize this media and send you the files over the cloud or on a USB drive.
Learn more about our process and why you should work with Memory Fortress today.
Michael B. – “Our large digital photo scanning job was handled with great care from start to finish. Keith and his team stayed in constant communication throughout the process. I will be using Memory Fortress for our future projects.”
We digitize everything right here at our facility in metro Atlanta, processed by US citizens.
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