Reasons Why Instax Mini 8 and 9 Film is Overexposed

When it comes to instant cameras, it is hard to go wrong with Instax Mini 8 and 9 from Fujifilm. They are amongst the industry leaders, so you can be confident of top-notch performance and remarkable prints! However, the right camera alone is not enough. Shooting techniques, for instance, will impact the quality of the shots. There are different problems that require attention, and one of the most common is over-exposure.

If you have used an Instax Mini 8 and 9 only to end up with overexposed images, we understand the frustration! This is a waste of film! To prevent this from happening, you need to know the reasons behind such. Keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll share in this short post.

What is an Overexposed Film?

As a new photographer, overexposure is a common problem you will experience. It happens when too much light hits the film, resulting in an extremely bright photo. It looks washed out once printed.

It should also be pointed out that exposure is a matter of personal preference. There are some people who prefer over or under-exposed shots depending on what they are trying to achieve in the photo. However, there are instances when all you want is a normal photo, yet the picture comes up too bright.

There are three things that affect exposure in cameras – shutter speed, film speed (ISO), and aperture. In an Instax camera, the shutter and film speeds are pre-set, so there is no option for manual adjustments. The only thing that you can change is the aperture. This increases the chances that the shots will end up being overexposed unless you are proactive in avoiding the problem.

The Most Common Reasons for Overexposure

Do not fret if you have been getting overexposed shots. This is given for beginners. It takes time to learn the basics of using an instant camera. Once you mastered the ropes, it will be easier to manage exposure. Below, let’s talk about some of the reasons for overexposure in Instax Mini 8 and 9.

1. You Have Chosen the Wrong Setting

Newbies have a lot to learn about how instant cameras work. The adjustments are trickier compared to how you would program a digital camera or a smartphone. You don’t have many options when it comes to customizing the settings. Because of such limitations, it is possible that you pick the wrong setting, and the image comes out overexposed.

One of the most important is to consider the conditions of the environment where you are shooting. The current lighting conditions will dictate the right setting to choose. Depending on how bright it is will impact the aperture. The higher is the value, the smaller the aperture is. This also means that the lesser will be the light to hit the film.

When it is very sunny, you should choose the lowest aperture, which is f/32. In turn, it lets the smallest amount of light possible to avoid the photo from being overexposed. If it is just moderately sunny, choose f/22 and set the camera at f/16 when it is cloudy. If you are shooting indoors, choose the largest aperture, which is f/12.7. This will let a lot of light in to create a bright environment.

The good thing is that you do not have to set the aperture manually. There is a built-in feature that reads the ambient light, and in turn, it will help you quickly choose the most appropriate aperture setting.

2. You are Using a Damaged Film

For first-time users of an instant camera, it is important to note that the quality of the shots will depend on the quality of the film itself. When the film was already exposed to light, there is a high probability that you will end up with an overexposed shot. Exposing the film to light even before you shoot will damage it, resulting in overexposure.

There are many instances when the film can be damaged by light. One of the most common is improper handling and storage. Keep it in a cool and dry place, away from the direct heat of the sun. Also, when you are loading the film in the camera, do its somewhere there isn’t too much light.

3. Your Subject is the Problem

In some cases, the shots are overexposed because the subject is too bright. When you are shooting outdoors and the sun is at its peak, it is logical to expect that the shots will come out overexposed. While Instax has a Very Sunny setting, there are times when even the built-in programs are not enough to counter the condition of the natural environment.

To prevent your shots from overexposure, one thing that we can recommend is choosing the perfect subject, location, and time. Shoot when the sun is not too bright, or at the very least, pick a shady location where it is easier to manage the light that comes in.

When you are seeing too much light than what should be in the picture, there one creative fix – use your sunglasses. You can put it in front of the lens, and in turn, this will filter natural sunlight, creating a darker environment and preventing the shot from being overexposed. Take note, however, that this works only when it is too bright. Otherwise, the shots may come out darker than expected.


As mentioned in this post, there are three main reasons why overexposure happens in an Instax Mini 8 and 9. First, the wrong setting is chosen. Use the indicator light of the camera to determine the current environment, and in turn, this will let you know the most appropriate aperture. Second, the film is possibly damaged. When it is exposed to light, it becomes too bright, and hence, the picture is also overexposed. Third, your subject is possibly too bright. Changing the location of the shoot or using sunglasses to filter natural light can help address overexposure.

Diana Watson
Diana Watson

Diana is the founder and Editor of the Instant Camera Laboratory. She's had a lifelong love affair with photographing and a fascination with film cameras.

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