Using Disposable Cameras as Makeshift One-Time-Use Toy Cameras

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When visiting Lancaster, Pennsylvania recently, Portland, Oregon-based photographer Lindsey Boccia made the mistake of not bringing her camera bag along for the journey. Boccia wanted to play around with analog photography, so she decided to buy some disposable cameras.

A quick visit to a nearby camera shop netted her four one-time-use cameras for about $6 each. She then “distressed” them to turn them into experimental lo-fi toy cameras.

Disposable cameras don’t exactly produce high-quality images to begin with, but Boccia wanted to add some custom “filters” of her own to alter the look of the resulting images.

First, she modified the lenses by scratching them with her car key and applying chapstick to the surface (this gives the photos a hazy/dreamy look). She also peeled off the labels covering the cameras and cracked the cases open to introduce light leaks.

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Here are some of the resulting photographs captured with the makeshift one-time-use toy cameras:

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Boccia says she was pleased by the “fun” results, and points out that the whole thing wasn’t meant to be a serious exercise in photography, but rather a “fun photo experiment.”

P.S. You can find some of Boccia’s “hi-fi” photographs over on her photography website.

P.P.S. Know of any other clever modifications you can make to disposable cameras to change the look of the photographs that result? Share your techniques with us in the comments!

Image credits: Photographs by Lindsey Boccia and used with permission

  • Fullstop

    Great way to take bad pictures. Thanks!

  • John Kantor

    Why stop there? Take a hammer to your 5D MKIII or D4.

  • rz67

    Oh dear…

  • Walter Jones


  • jimfelt

    This is so like buying a scalpel and creating business cards saying “surgeon”. What a load. This is a hoax post right? Or you’ve been punked, right?
    And a “photographer” leaving their camera home? Come on…
    Show us the 1040 before conferring a title so casually.

  • Syuaip

    Instagram looks better.

    This is more hipster thou…

    Sorry :(

  • voltron

    Turns out petapixel didn’t realise it’s readership consists of obsessive pixel peepers who take photography too seriously for it to be fun. If it isn’t a 100mpix stitched HDR shot then they don’t want to know about it. FFS people(i.e. negative commenters), when you finally realise that other photographers DON’T hire photographers, normal people do, and those normal people don’t care about how superior your gear is, or how little CA and distortion your uber expensive glass produces. They just want happy and fun photo’s of their wedding/event/children e.t.c. shoot on a rebel or a 1dx the client will never know the difference 99% of the time. All these haters are most likely 40yo hacks still living with their parents, glad to see someone having fun taking pictures.

  • voltron

    I looked up the the disposable camera person’s website(from the link) and yours jimfelt. Gotta say she makes you look like an amateur. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t really give you a solid foundation from which to cast judgement. Next time think twice before having a go at someone buddy.

  • Sander van der Veen

    Negative / Positive comments.. who are ‘we’ to judge on that?
    Some maybe expect higher standards from Petapixel, some don’t.. so be it.

  • Tauriq Dolley

    I know the old Kodak Disposables could do multi-exposures if you turned the flash on and gave it a slap on the palm of your hand.

    Lots of fun. I think the results look pretty cool. It’s something different.
    I used to buy a disposable and carry it in my pocket to snap images in places a DSLR would be seemingly inappropriate.

  • frank mckenna

    What a cool idea. That could be fun to give it a try and see what happens.

  • Jernej Lasič

    Where would that be, if I may ask?

  • Tauriq Dolley

    I don’t feel safe walking around with a DSLR around my neck in South Africa. As seemingly safe a place as it is I’ve heard too many stories and seen too much theft to take it everywhere.

    So when I’m on the train, walking round the CBD alone or if I just don’t feel for a huge camera around my neck it’s an equivalent film camera for me. If I drop it on the ground or in a pool, if someone steals it it’s no sweat off my back really.

  • Jernej Lasič

    Ok, thanks for the info. Crime didn’t cross my mind.

  • Shut Up Stupid

    Haha….You got burrrrned!