Old School Shutter Bugging

Climbing Mount Pacaya in Guatemala

While camera phones are getting better and better these days, sometimes Instagram just doesn't cut it when it comes to taking photos on vacation. It's then that you face the following dilemma:

if you have a nice camera, do you want to risk its getting lost, stolen, or broken on your vacation? or, if you don't own a camera that isn't on your cell phone, do you really want to buy a camera just for vacationing?

When I finally stumbled on a solution to this problem, I was kind of amazed I didn't think of it before. Here it is...

Just buy a disposable film camera. Seriously. Like the kind your parents gave you to use at summer camp because you were ten and couldn't be trusted with a real camera. This method is one of my personal favourites, but it certainly has its pros and cons.

Guatemalan Independence Day celebrations


1. You can find them at pretty much any drug store, so if you run out of film, there's a reasonably good chance you can purchase another disposable camera while you're away.

2. They actually take decent quality pictures. (All the pictures in this post were taken with one.) You can't do anything fancy with them when it comes to focuses or filters, but the colours have a lovely quality and the pictures are clear, even when you blow them up.

3. If you're going to a tropical location, buy a waterproof one and you can take pictures on the beach or underwater without fear of damage.

4. No one wants to steal one from you, which makes disposable cameras ideal for places where pick-pocketing is a concern. And if you lose one, the only thing you're losing is the pictures and approx ten bucks.

Las Capuchinas in Antigua, Guatemala


1. You can't see a picture the second after you take it, so you may want to take a few extra snaps for safety when taking group shots.

2. You have to get them processed.

But instead of getting prints, bring in a flash drive or have the pictures put on a CD. Then you can easily load them onto your computer and share with family and friends.

If you want to get the pictures printed, ask to have a contact sheet made. This allows you to look at a thumbnail of each picture first, so you only print the ones that turned out. (And you don't spend money printing five with your thumb in the foreground.)

I use London Drugs, or in Winnipeg, Don's Photo or Photo Central for processing. All three do a great job.

3. Pictures in low light are not a great idea. Improve your odds by getting the fastest film speed you can (400+), but don't take a picture in low light conditions unless you're prepared to use the flash.

Las Capuchinas in Antigua, Guatemala

I've used these cameras on several trips, and have always been really pleased with the results.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Chicago, Illinois

Happy picture taking!