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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In the past few years, disposable cameras and the grainy, vintage-looking photos that come from them have become very trendy. And there is no doubt why! The photos have a richer, more authentic feel. The disposable camera is a fun means to take unique photos that embrace a single moment. It is exciting to trust the singular take in a world where calculated, edited photos from shoots that leave a camera roll full of almost identical images is the norm.

easy to find and use

Point and shoot film cameras are super easy to come by. I found mine at a thrift store for $4, and I often see similar ones when I’m at the thrift. There are many old film cameras in circulation, so it is no trouble to come across one that works for you! Disposable cameras have just one button for the singular function of taking a photo, and many of these film cameras are similar. For example, my film camera has just a few settings such as flash, no flash, self-timer, and auto. These limited options are plenty for me; there is nothing I could get out of a disposable camera that my little film camera can’t do.

fun way to support small

Film photography has been around for a while, so there are many existing small businesses that sell film, process it, and scan those film photos. Walgreens and CVS are options for film processing, but in my experience, the photos that come back from these places are significantly worse quality. Plus, from these places you just get prints of your photos. Through supporting different small photo labs, I have gotten back much better quality images from my rolls of film, plus I am able to get scans rather than prints. This way, I have all of my film photos on my phone to post and share with friends, and I can print them myself for free from Shutterfly! I have also found that buying rolls of film from local small businesses is often cheaper than buying from Amazon or similar online stores. Developing relationships with local small photo/camera businesses is mutually beneficial!


The worst part about disposable camera photography is how unsustainable it is. Sustainability experts actually cite disposable cameras and photography as the most wasteful options, being the worst for the environment. Film photography is a sustainable alternative, as most film cameras are already in circulation, so new ones do not need to be products for people to get into it. Also, for film photography, the expense for the camera is a one-time thing, unlike disposables, which you have to buy new repeatedly. While film and the processing for it does have to be purchased, the film option is typically cheaper in the long run anyway!

For more information about the sustainability of film cameras and photography over disposables, check out this piece from Debris Free Oceans.

HI, I'm Maggie. I'm a senior studying Communications and Professional Writing, and I write, edit, and create social media posts for the GCU chapter of Her Campus!
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