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Instamatic Gratification

Today’s Scrapbook Update guest blogger is Tami Morrison.

Tami is a mom of four and a sucker for great color combos, fun containers, clever packaging, and stationery products of pretty much any kind. She’s one of the REAL housewives of Orange County where she stays chronically busy and one step behind the housekeeping at all times. She believes that scrapbooking helps her keep the focus on the fun; she only wishes it also helped keep the kitchen floor from being sticky. Visit her blog, follow her on Twitter, or take a class from her at Big Picture Scrapbooking.

polaroid_1976The Polaroid camera is a photography icon synonymous with fun. I vividly remember snapping photos with my mid-1970s version and excitedly waiting for the picture to appear. Something about that instant gratification factor turned mediocre photo quality into a magical experience.

When Polaroid announced in early 2008 that it would cease production, it was the instamatic shot heard round the world. Photography enthusiasts clamored to hoard the last of the film, and SavePolaroid.com was born to, well, save Polaroid.

Fortunately, the crusade was relatively short-lived. On October 13 of this year it was announced that Polaroid cameras and film will be revived in 2010, in a collaboration between Polaroid and The Impossible Project, the company who bought the original Holland manufacturing plant.

This is great news for Polaroid fans. But if you’re itching to hold some grainy nostalgia in the palm of your hand right now, you do have a few other immediate options.

Instax Mini 7sThe new Fujiilm Instax MINI 7 was released in October in the US, after being well received in Europe and Asia. The prints are similar in size to a credit card, and the look is described by Photojojo http://photojojo.com/ as that “classic instant film look that everyone loves”. The Instax features four different exposure settings for indoor/outdoor photography, a built-in flash, and a wide angle lens…attributes that give the photographer more control than with its Polaroid cousin.

Shaking an instant photo while it develops seems to be a universal habit, even though experts say it’s no longer necessary. There was a time when shaking helped dry the chemicals more quickly, but the modern version dries behind a clear plastic coating.

Still, if you just can’t resist the urge to “shake it like a Polaroid picture” (in the immortal words of that 1990s Outkast song), maybe the Shake It iPhone app is for you. For 99 cents, you can download an entertaining Polaroid experience on your iPhone. Snap a photo, shake the phone to help it develop faster, and presto! The square shape, color saturation, and white borders make it look just like a Polaroid. (Hint: this is a great app to keep the kids busy at the mall, and you will wind up with all kinds of interesting kids-eye-view pictures of mall life — and if you’re lucky, a pair of jeans that fits).

Want that “fauxlaroid” look on a scrapbook page? The iPhone photo quality is not great for printing, but with the Retro Digital Frames from Ella Publishing, any photo on your computer can have a cool Polaroid vibe. Simply download the digital elements and follow the included instructions to give any photo in your library that retro Polaroid charm.

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The Polaroid phenomenon is an example of how, even within a changing industry, a good idea can equal long-term staying power.

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