So you take nice pictures, but is it truly your skill or just the work of your fancy camera? For this week's Shooting Challenge, we're leveling the playing field by making everyone use the same lousy equipment: a disposable camera.

The Challenge

Acquire ONE disposable film camera, shoot the roll and send in your best photo. That's right, you're limited to 27 or so frames, which should keep budgets in check, especially as I've spotted off-brand disposables online for as little as $3. (Share any deals in the comments.)

The Method

I think this is a great time to get out of your dSLR comfort zone. Having been working with film myself for the first time in almost a decade, I've found the experience liberating. Unable to check my work immediately and forced to self-edit myself on the fly—I'm taking photos differently than I have in a long time. And for better or worse, I like that feeling.

Too nervous to waterproof your dSLR? Grab a disposable that goes underwater. Always wanted to experiment with that Hipstamatic look of a toy camera? Find the oldest, generic piece of crap disposable on the market (preferably one with expired film). Tempted to mix multiple exposures on a single frame? Check this tip out:

"Bang! photography" is a method to take multiple exposures with those crappy disposable cameras. like the IR shutter trigger, but more primitive. I've done this using color and black & white disposable kodak cameras. You take a photo. you do *not* wind to the next shot, but instead charge the flash (if the model has a flash/flash charge button). Then hit the camera against, say, your other hand or leg or something, pointed in the direction of something else. You will have now taken two exposures on one piece of film. You can repeat to take a lot of exposures.


Then keep in mind, you can actually reuse most of these disposables, pulling the film out (carefully) yourself. There's an entire mod community around these inexpensive gadgets.

The Rules - READ THESE

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos need to be taken the week of the contest.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 800px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 (or whatever your full size resolution is) in email.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)


Send your best photo by Monday, September 27th at 8AM Eastern to with "Disposable" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameDisposable.jpg (800px wide) and FirstnameLastnameDisposableWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (including the disposable camera model) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

If you're in need of even more stuff to photograph, my site Life, Panoramic would love to publish your portrait of life in your hometown.

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