Why You Shouldn’t Shake Your Polaroids?

Why You Shouldn’t Shake Your Polaroids?

Polaroids have been making a comeback in recent years, and for good reason! They are a fun and nostalgic way to capture memories. However, there is one big mistake that many people make when using polaroids: shaking them. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you should never shake your polaroids, and provide some helpful tips for getting the best results from your photos!

History of Polaroid Cameras and Their Popularity

Polaroid cameras were first introduced in the late 1940s and quickly rose to popularity due in large part to their ease of use. Unlike other cameras of the time, Polaroids did not require users to develop film in a darkroom; instead, they used a self-contained cartridge that automatically developed the film negative and ejected a finished print. This convenience made them hugely popular among amateur photographers and those who wanted to capture spontaneous moments without having to go through the hassle (and expense) of developing film.

Polaroid cameras have been a popular choice for photographers since the late 20th century, but they’re beginning to fall out of favor as people turn their attention towards digital models. Digital photos can be taken easily with no hassle and offer many more benefits than film-based ones do such as ease in printing or sharing on social media sites that also began starting to rise back then. To make it even worse for Polaroid, digital cameras were also cheaper and more advanced.

History of Polaroid Cameras and Their Popularity

Despite this, vintage Polaroid cameras have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years as photography enthusiasts have rediscovered the unique charm of instant photography. Many people enjoy the unpredictability and one-of-a-kind nature of Polaroid photographs, which can often produce unexpected and beautiful results. Polaroids also offer a level of convenience that digital cameras can’t match. [1], [2]

However, there’s one important thing to remember when using Polaroids: don’t shake them! One of the most important things to remember when using a Polaroid camera is that you should never, ever shake the photo. This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people make this mistake. And right now we will tell you why it’s a bad idea.

The origin of the myth that you should shake your Polaroid?

The famous line “Shake it like a Polaroid picture” from OutKast’s hit “Hey Ya!” is often cited as the origin of the myth that you should shake your Polaroids. It was released in 2003, in their album called “Speakerboxxx”. It’s possible that the line helped to spread the false belief, but it’s more likely that it was just a coincidence. Anyhow, the song went on to become a hit all over the world and so this saying became famous too.

It’s easy to see how the line could be misinterpreted as a reference to shaking Polaroid photos, but the lyric is actually about shaking off negativity and living in the moment.

Early models of the camera which did require users to shake the prints to hasten the development process. Shaking the photo helped to dry the chemicals and prevented the print from sticking to the negative. However, this was only necessary with older models of the camera; shaking is not required at all newer Polaroids. It also didn’t cause any harm to the photos due to how they were created back then.

Actually, Polaroid had released a new generation of cameras already in the 1970. This gen of instant cameras didn’t require users to shake the photo. These “shake-free” models used a different type of film that developed much faster, so there was no need to shake them.

But even though shaking your Polaroids may be fun, the truth is, shaking your Polaroids does nothing to improve the quality of the image. In fact, it can actually damage the photo and ruin all your excitement. [3], [4]

The structure of the Polaroid Photo

Now that we know a little bit more about the history of Polaroid cameras, let’s take a closer look at how Polaroids are actually made.

The structure of the Polaroid Photo

Polaroid cameras work by using a chemical process to develop the film negative and produce a finished print. This process is sensitive to movement, so if you shake the photo while it’s developing, you’ll end up with a blurry mess.

Polaroid photos are made up of three main layers: the image layer, the development reagent layer, and the backing paper. The image layer is a negative that contains your exposed image. The development reagent is a chemical-soaked sponge that develops the negative into a positive when it’s applied. And finally, the backing paper protects the photo and prevents it from smudging.

When you press the shutter button on your Polaroid camera, light passes through the lens and exposes the image layer. This exposure activates the development reagent, which starts to develop the negative into a positive.

The film will take time to develop, but once it does, you’ll notice the image appears on its surface. You may remove the cover sheet from your unique Polaroid print once it has fully developed!

So basically, Polaroid pictures are made from a bunch of chemical sandwiches together to create a picture. When you take a picture with your Polaroid, it’s not just the photo itself that is made of chemicals – every single layer is. This little detail is important for the next section, as on to why you absolutely should not shake your Polaroids. [5]

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Shake Your Polaroid Photos

As we mentioned before, shaking your Polaroid photos does nothing to improve the quality of the image. In fact, it can actually damage the photo you tried so hard to shoot perfectly!

But why exactly does this happen?

Well, remember how we said that Polaroids are made from a bunch of chemicals sandwiched together? When you shake a Polaroid photo, you are essentially stirring up all of those chemicals. The role of these chemicals is to react with each other in order to create the finished Polaroid photo.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Shake Your Polaroid Photos

When the print is ejected from the camera, chemicals that formed the film negative are still active, and shaking them might interfere with their chemical process. And if you disrupt the development chemical flow, you may get streaks, patches, and other unsightly markings on your finished photo.

What’s more, shaking your Polaroids can damage the physical integrity of the photo. The chemicals that develop your image are very delicate, and shaking them can cause those chemicals to break down and become distorted. This will result in a lower quality image that may not even resemble the scene or subject you were trying to capture. So next time you go to take a Polaroid picture, resist the urge to shake it! Your photos will thank you.

But you don’t even need to go as far as shaking to ruin your photo. Allowing a Polaroid photo to dry without holding it flat can also cause issues; if the picture isn’t completely level, the chemicals may not evenly distribute themselves, resulting in an uneven or blurry image. So be sure to hold your Polaroids level until they are completely dry.

And another reason is that, there’s simply no need to shake your Polaroids anymore! As we mentioned before, shaking your Polaroids was originally used to speed up the development process. But now that instant cameras have been around for a few decades, the developers have had time to perfect the formula. The chemicals in today’s polaroid film develop much faster than those in older film, so shaking your Polaroids will not make them develop any faster. [3], [4], [6]

How to Take a Polaroid Picture?

Taking a Polaroid picture is simple! First, load the film in your camera. Make sure you follow the instructions, as different types of Polaroid cameras and film have different loading procedures.

Once your film is loaded, point your camera at your subject and press the shutter button!

You’ll hear a clicking sound as the picture is taken, and then the rollers will begin to eject the film. Be sure to catch the picture as it comes out, and hold it level until it is completely dry.

When the shutter button is first pressed, the freshly taken photo will be completely blank gray. Don’t worry about it – this is quite normal! The picture develops right after it’s ejected from the camera, and it’ll take a few minutes for the image to appear in color. You may then enjoy your work and share it with everyone once it has finished developing.

So, you simply need to just point and shoot. But there are a few things you should keep in mind to get the best results.

If you want your photos to come out well, make sure the subject of your photo is in bright lighting. Polaroids need lots of light to develop properly, so taking pictures outside on a sunny day is ideal. If you’re indoors, try turning on all the lights in the room or opening a window to let in natural light.

How to Take a Polaroid Picture?

Another nifty tip, hold still! Because Polaroids use instant film, you need to hold the camera steady while it takes the picture. If you move too much, the image will be blurry.

Finally, have fun! Polaroids are instant gratification, so there’s no need to stress about getting the perfect shot. [1]

Tips on How to Take Polaroid Pictures Without Damaging Them

Now that we’ve talked about all the ways how shaking your Polaroids can actually damage them, let’s talk about how to take them without ruining them.

The following steps will help you develop your polaroid film using only chemicals: First and foremost, lay the picture on a flat surface and press down at the corners after taking a polaroid photograph. Make sure the picture is level, allowing for an equal distribution of chemicals. During development, avoid exposing the photo to direct sunlight or any other source of heat, since this can also harm the developer chemicals.

And once your Polaroid photo has developed, don’t try to cut or peel off the white border around the image. This border is actually part of the photo, and peeling it off can damage or distort your image.

It’s also important to allow your polaroid to fully dry before handling or moving it. Even allowing a Polaroid to dry without maintaining the flat position has the potential to cause uneven chemical distribution, resulting in an incorrect photograph.

When picking up your photo, do it by the corners and try not to touch the surface of the image. The oils on your skin can not only make your photos dirty, but also damage the delicate chemicals in the film, so it is best to handle them as little as possible.

Finally, if you want to keep your Polaroids looking their best for years to come, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place. Heat and humidity can cause the colors in your photos to fade over time, so avoid storing them in direct sunlight or in humid environments like bathrooms or kitchens. [1], [2], [7]

Comparing the Effects of Shaking and Not Shaking Polaroids

Shaking a Polaroid picture has been a common practice for many years, but it turns out that it can have a negative impact on the quality of the image. Here is a comparison of various indicators to show why you shouldn’t shake your Polaroids:

Indicator Shaking Polaroids Not Shaking Polaroids
Image Clarity Blurred or distorted Crisp and clear
Color Accuracy Colors may bleed or appear muted Colors appear true to life
Development Time May take longer to fully develop Faster development time
Overall Quality Poor image quality Higher image quality

As you can see from the table above, shaking your Polaroids can lead to poor image quality, inaccurate colors, longer development time, and overall lower quality images. Therefore, it is recommended that you refrain from shaking your Polaroids in order to achieve the best possible results.

Check more guides about Polaroid cameras:


Should I shake my polaroid photo?

The answer is no, you should not shake your polaroid photo. Shaking or otherwise agitating your photo can actually damage the image quality. When Polaroid film is developed, shaking it can cause air bubbles to form in the emulsion, resulting in a cloudy or blurred picture. In addition, shaking can also cause the dyes to bleed, which can result in an uneven or mottled appearance.

Can I let my Polaroid picture dry without holding it flat?

Yes, you can let your Polaroid picture dry without holding it flat. However, if you do not hold it flat, the photo may curl as it dries and this can cause the image to distort.

If you want to frame your Polaroid picture or put it in a scrapbook, we recommend that you wait until it is completely dry before doing so. This will help ensure that the photo doesn’t warp or deteriorate over time.

Why shaking a polaroid will damage it?

When you shake a polaroid, the bundle of chemicals inside of the film become agitated and they become less effective at developing the image. This results in a blurry or smeared image.

What are some of the dangers of shaking a Polaroid?

Shaking a Polaroid can cause the image to become blurry and distorted. Additionally, it can also damage the film itself, making it more difficult to develop correctly. Finally, shaking a Polaroid can also increase the chance of light leaks, which can ruin an otherwise perfect photo.

So next time you take a Polaroid, be sure to keep it still until the image has fully developed! Your photos will thank you for it.

What are the consequences of shaking Polaroids?

Shaking Polaroids can result in blurring or streaking of the image. It can also cause the colors to run or bleed, resulting in an overall poor quality image. In addition, shaking Polaroids can also damage the film itself, making it more difficult to develop properly.

So why take the risk? When it comes to your precious memories, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So next time you pull out your Polaroid camera, make sure to keep your hands steady and avoid shaking the film. Your future self will thank you!

Does shaking Polaroid pictures do anything?

The act of shaking a Polaroid picture can actually damage the photograph. When you shake a Polaroid, you risk smudging the emulsion, which is the light-sensitive material that coats the film. This can cause your photo to become blurred or have streaks. In addition, shaking a Polaroid can also cause the chemicals inside the photograph to mix up, which can produce an odd color cast on your image. So next time you take a Polaroid, make sure to keep it still until the picture develops! Otherwise, you might end up with a ruined photo.

What happens if you shake Instax film?

If you shake Instax film, the image will become blurry and discolored. The reason for this is that the crystals in the film are sensitive to light. When they’re exposed to light, they change shape and color. If you shake the film, the crystals will move around and cause the image to become distorted.

So, if you want to avoid shaking your Polaroids, make sure to keep them away from direct sunlight or any other bright light source. And don’t forget to put them back in their box when you’re done taking pictures! Otherwise, you might end up with a bunch of blurry memories.

Why do people shake Polaroid photos?

Maybe because they think it will make the photo develop faster. But in reality, all shaking does is blur the image.

If you want your Polaroid to develop quickly, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure the photo is placed face-down on a flat surface. Second, apply pressure evenly to the back of the photo with your fingers.

And that’s it! By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your Polaroid photos turn out clear and sharp every time. So next time someone tries to tell you to shake your Polaroids, just politely decline – and enjoy your beautiful photos.

Should you shake Polaroid film?

The short answer is no, you should not shake Polaroid film. Shaking the film can cause the image to become blurred and distorted. Additionally, shaking the film can also cause the colors to bleed and run together.

Moreover, shaking the film can cause the image to become blurred and distorted and can create air bubbles which will be visible in the final image.

If you want to avoid these problems, simply hold your Polaroid still after it has been developed. Allow it to sit for a minute or two before moving it so that the image can set. Once it has set, you can then move it without worrying about damaging the image.

So there you have it, a quick guide on why you shouldn’t shake your Polaroids! By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your images turn out looking their best. So next time you take a Polaroid, make sure to keep it still until the image has set!

If you want to avoid these problems, simply hold your Polaroid still after it has been developed. Allow it to sit for a minute or two before moving it so that the image can set. Once it has set, you can then move it without worrying about damaging the image.

Should you shake Instax photos?

The short answer is no. The long answer is also no. Let’s explore why you shouldn’t shake your Polaroids!

When you shake a Polaroid photo, the chemicals inside the film can become agitated. This can cause the image to become blurry or streaky. In some cases, it can even cause the photo to fade over time.

Shaking a Polaroid photo can also damage the physical integrity of the film. If you shake it too hard, the film could tear or come loose from the backing paper. This would ruin the photo and make it impossible to develop correctly.

Why are my Polaroids coming out white?

Many people assume that this is because they’re shaking the Polaroid too much, but that’s actually not the case.

The reason your Polaroids are coming out white is because of the chemistry inside the film. When you shake a Polaroid, you’re actually agitating the chemicals and causing them to react differently than they would if left alone. This can result in streaking, blurring, and overall poor image quality.

How long does a Polaroid last?

This is a question we get asked a lot, and the answer may surprise you. Polaroids are actually quite fragile and can be easily damaged if not handled properly. One of the most common mistakes people make is shaking their Polaroids. This seems like it would help to dry the photo faster, but it can actually cause the image to become blurred or distorted. If you must move your Polaroid around, be sure to hold it by the edges so that you don’t accidentally damage the image.

Another thing to avoid is exposing your Polaroid to extreme temperatures. Leaving it in a hot car or direct sunlight for too long can cause the colors to fade or bleed. And if it gets too cold, the photo can become brittle and crack. So if you want your Polaroids to last, be sure to keep them out of extreme temperatures and handle them with care. With proper storage and handling, your Polaroids can last for years to come.

Useful Video: Does Shaking Polaroid Pictures Actually Do Anything?


So, if you’re still shaking your polaroids – stop! It turns out that all this shaking is actually doing more harm than good. Contrary to popular belief originating from the popular song, it won’t help anything.

The reason you used to shake them was because it helped the photo develop faster, but that was only because of the way the older models worked. Nowadays, with new and improved polaroid technology, shaking your photos can damage them beyond repair.

So, if you want to keep your polaroids in good condition, don’t shake them! You’ll avoid ruining the physical integrity of your photo and ending up with distortions, patches, and streaks on your picture. Just follow this simple advice, keep calm and snap on!


  1. https://www.gooroo.com/blog/polaroid-camera-tips-and-tricks/
  2. https://www.locallifesc.com/shake-it-like-a-polaroid-picture/
  3. http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2017/01/time-polaroid-issue-press-release-asking-people-not-shake-like-polaroid-picture/
  4. https://thetempest.co/2020/12/28/now-beyond/polaroid-camera/
  5. https://support.polaroid.com/hc/en-us/articles/115012554908-What-s-inside-a-Polaroid-film-box-
  6. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/why-you-shouldn%E2%80%99t-shake-your-polaroids-and-6-other-fun-film-facts
  7. https://medium.com/photo-dojo/4-steps-to-take-the-perfect-polaroid-picture-every-time-89ed9a4162fb