Disposable cameras at weddings have been a tradition for decades. Back before phones and digital cameras, one-time use disposable cameras were all the rage at weddings. You’d often see them at every table. Not everyone could afford an expensive film camera and at the peak of the disposable boom, the cameras were super cheap to buy and develop. Hiring a professional photographer for weddings wasn’t as much as a trend in the 90s and people often used disposables in place of a photographer.
With the invention of digital cameras and smartphones, disposable cameras fell by the wayside for a while. Because of less market demand, manufacturers weren’t producing as many and film labs weren’t processing the same volume. Even though you can still buy disposables these days, they’re more expensive than they used to be.
To the surprise of many, disposable cameras are experiencing an unexpected resurgence not too different from the unexpected boom in vinyl record sales. People in their 20s are especially loving disposable cameras, in part for the throwback vibe but also as a tool to stay off their phones. There’s also magic in taking photos on film and disposables that’s hard to replicate with digital.
With disposables on the rise again, many folks are thinking about featuring them at their wedding reception just like nearly everyone did in the 90s.
Are Disposable Cameras at Weddings a Good Idea?
A great way to answer this question is by asking newlyweds. There are a few popular Facebook groups for couples planning a wedding, one of the most popular being the Wedding Planning Club. I went through the past 6 months of posts to uncover a few helpful posts.
While some of the top comments say not to use disposables at weddings…
… other people say they loved having disposables:
Other people suggest alternatives like photo booths but a fixed photo booth just isn’t the same as a disposable camera that can move around your venue with your guests and capture all angles.
Some people suggest Polaroid cameras or Instax cameras. Polaroids are a decent option but just as expensive, if not more expensive than disposables. Instax cameras are cool but most people only buy a few cameras, not one for every table. And Instax prints are tiny.
The verdict: If you have the disposable income, disposable cameras are still awesome to put at every table. Chances are you’ll only get a handful of great photos and most will be not-so-great, but that’s the fun in disposables!
Where to Get Cheap Disposable Cameras
I wrote a deep-dive post on developing disposables a few weeks back: How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Disposable Camera?
The cheapest place to get disposables is Walmart. They sell a 2-pack of Fujifilm cameras for $24.96 or $12.48 each. Fujifilm disposables are one of the best in the industry, if not the best, so you can expect high quality prints (assuming people remember to put the flash on indoors).
Development will run you another $10.96 at Walmart, which also happens to be the cheapest place to go. Unlike most places, Walmart includes the prints. Your total cost is $23.44 per camera. For 10 cameras, you’ll spend $234.40 plus tax. On the higher end of development there’s boutique film labs like Dark Room. The Dark Room charges $14 per camera plus $5.95 per shipping or $19.95 per camera. A big plus to a place like the Dark Room is they provide an option to scan your negatives at high resolution so you can print select prints in large formats like 16×20 if you want. Smaller labs like the Dark Room are a good consideration because Walmart no longer returns your film, making enlargements impossible!
Turn Your Guest’s Phones into Disposable Cameras
Later Cam is an app that turns your phone into an old-school disposable camera. Instead paying $23.44 per camera with development, you can get 27 prints with free delivery for only $12.99 on Later Cam.
We offer wedding packages as well like our 20-camera package for $219 or $10.95 per camera. We give you a disposable camera design to match your invitation and a week after your wedding all of your guest’s photos are delivered to your door.
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