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Why Are My Polaroids Not Developing? 4 Solutions

Why Are My Polaroids Not Developing? 4 Solutions

Taking polaroids remains one of the premier ways of capturing moments shared between family and friends. That is why, despite the availability of digital photography, polaroids are still a popular choice. However, since the process of developing polaroids is very involved, there is always a risk that something can go wrong. In that case, you need to know how to adjust things, so the polaroid develops correctly.

If your polaroid isn’t developing correctly, there are a number of things you can do to solve this issue:

  • Check and ensure the camera shutter is working correctly.
  • Make sure the film is not damaged or expired.
  • Check camera batteries or replace them if dead. 
  • Look to make sure the pictures are taken at the correct temperatures. 

Since polaroid film is so expensive, it is only natural that you want to learn how to take pictures from the first try effectively. With this view in mind, you can read the rest of the article to understand solutions to this issue. You can also keep reading to the end of the article for tips on how to avoid issues with the polaroid developing. 

Why Your Polaroids Are Not Developing

There are many signs that your polaroid isn’t developing in the way that you expect. This can be quite an unnerving and upsetting experience. After all, polaroid film can be pretty expensive, and you don’t get a second chance at getting the right photo. 

In most cases, when the photo comes out all white, this can have a couple of different reasons behind it – it may have had too much flash or light exposure when taking the image. This is because polaroid film exposes an image from the camera lens at the time when the shutter lens is open. 

This exact period often lasts for less than a second, which means you need light to only enter in during the specific time that I just talked about. In fact, the back of the polaroid is black to keep the film safe from unnecessary light, so you don’t damage it during loading and otherwise carrying the film. 

Related: Best Canon Cameras For Beginner Photographers

Check The Polaroid Camera Shutter

As I brought up in the passage above, the shutter has a very important role to play in taking a polaroid image. Therefore, one of the first places to look if you take a blank picture is the shutter. If the shutter is functioning as it should, it should block all light from entering except in the split second that you take a picture. 

The best way to tell that this is the issue affecting your camera is to consider how the pictures look. If all of the pictures or some of them are entirely black, that means there is an issue with the shutter, and it is not opening up correctly. As a result, the film has no exposure to the light, and that is why the camera can impose no image on it. 

Depending on the camera you have and your warranty status, you can ask the manufacturer for a refund, repair, or even a replacement. In some cases, there are also chances that you can even get wasted film replaced by a new film. 

Replace Any Film That Has Damage

Taking care of polaroid film is incredibly important, and it is vital that you take the necessary steps to preserve this incredibly fragile type of film. You need to always keep two considerations in mind. For one, you should never use a film that is past its expiration date. Secondly, always keep the film as far away from light as possible. No matter how dark it is when you open it, you run the risk of the film getting damaged as it can immediately react to the light around it. 

Tinkering around with the film is one of the biggest reasons that film won’t develop after time, and that is because it has sustained some kind of damage during the examination process. Try not to touch any part of the film except for the sides when handling the film. And, always keep it in storage away from light to avoid any damage. You should also always check to make sure that the film can be used and is within the expiration time period. 

Check And Replace Camera Batteries 

Another reason why you can keep seeing issues is because of camera batteries. When your camera’s batteries are faulty, there is a chance that the film will not develop as the shutter can never open. On the other hand, faulty batteries can also damage the camera itself and affect its ability to take pictures in the longer run. At the same time, batteries can also go bad and will need replacement if that is the case. 

Take Pictures In Preferable Temperatures

One of the last things you also need to consider when shooting using a polaroid camera is the temperature. If the temperature is not within the ideal temperature, there is a chance that the film will not develop as you intend. This is also an issue you can come across if you are using older films. For example, some polaroid film is susceptible to temperature changes and can only work at around 70 degrees (F). Therefore, you need to be able to maintain that temperature if you want ideal results. 

How To Avoid Issues With Polaroids

As I mentioned above, a problem with the shutter can affect your ability to take proper images. One of the best ways of avoiding issues with polaroids developing is to be cautious. You should be able to pick up the earlier signs of issues with the camera. The environment also has an effect. You should try and take images in outdoor settings or use flash. That is because you need a lot more light because of the smaller aperture and slow speed associated with the polaroid camera. 


The polaroid camera, to this day, remains a staple in capturing important moments and creating memories. With a few simple steps, you can make sure the resultant images develop well enough to keep for years to come.