Disposable Cameras for Weddings: What You Should Know

Disposable film cameras have a nostalgic charm that’s really captivating. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to disposable cameras for weddings. I share why they can be such a great addition to your wedding photos as well as what you should consider before buying them.

A bride and groom kiss in front of an old church with its doors open in an image taken on disposable cameras for weddings.

4 Reasons to Get Disposable Cameras for Weddings

People choose to have disposable cameras for weddings for many reasons. Here are five reasons you should consider adding them to your plans. 

A bridal bouquet sits in a sunny window in Hotel Peter and Paul in New Orleans.
Mary's friend helps her put on her wedding shoes in a sunlit hotel room.

1. Guests can capture authentically candid moments.

Guests have so much fun documenting the emotional moments and big laughs throughout your wedding day.

A bride puts on lipstick with her veil trailing behind her on the hotel carpet.

2. More of your story gets told.

Your wedding photographer will document all the big moments, especially with you and your partner. You never know what your guests are getting up to when you’re not around, though! Their photos help you fill in the story of your wedding day.

A bride stands surrounded by her bridesmaids in blue dresses in an image taken on disposable cameras for weddings.
A bride and bridesmaids hold up pink bouquets.

3. You get more lighthearted photos.

Disposable cameras for weddings mean less formal coverage in addition to the professional images. These photos are less about what’s going to be framed on the wall and more about capturing the moments that will make you laugh when you’re flipping through your album.

A bride looks over her shoulder beside a window before a Hotel Peter and Paul wedding.
A groom kisses a bride's hand in a New Orleans hotel hallway.

4. You get to look forward to getting your film scans!

As I’ll explain, getting film developed takes time. Film photos are also a bit of a mystery because you can’t immediately view them the way you can with digital. It’s so exciting when your scans arrive and you get a big reveal. 

Steven and Mary hold hands in a hallway smiling at a the camera.
A bride and groom touch foreheads in a film wedding photo.

What to Consider with Disposable Cameras

If you’re loving the idea of disposable cameras for weddings, here are some important factors to consider. 

Do the math.

The cost of disposable cameras, and film in general, can really add up. On average, you can expect to pay $20-$25 per camera. Processing and delivering the film as digital scans costs $16-$19 per camera. In total, you can expect to pay at least $40 per camera. If you have twenty cameras, that comes to $800. Make sure you account for that in your wedding budget.

Mary and Steven smile in a black and white selfie beside a white house.
A bride and groom pose for individual black and white portraits taken on disposable cameras for weddings.

Be intentional about who uses your disposable cameras.

Instead of setting cameras out on random guest tables, assign your cameras to specific trusted people. That way you don’t end up with half-used cameras. People in your wedding party, family members, and close friends are more likely to use the whole roll of film and get the photos you care about most.

Steven puts his arms around Mary on a New Orleans sidewalk while she holds her bridal bouquet.

Spring for good disposable cameras for weddings.

There are cheap disposable cameras on the market, especially on wedding specialty websites. Unfortunately, the images from those cameras tend to be very low quality. A camera with 800 ISO and an automatic flash will be your best bet for album-worthy photos. My favorite is the Kodak FunSaver 800.

A jazz band plays at a wedding cocktail hour in a New Orleans courtyard.
A bride and groom sit side by side on a bench after a Hotel Peter and Paul wedding.

Understand the film process before committing.

Disposable cameras for weddings take planning from start to finish. Here are some logistics to figure out before committing to this option:

  • Where to source the cameras
  • Who will distribute them at the start of your wedding and collect them at the end of your reception 
  • Which film processor you’ll use
Steven and Mary drink cocktails in photos taken on disposable cameras for weddings.

Gone are the days when you just dropped your camera off at CVS. Now you pick a processor and mail in the film per their instructions. Each film processor has its own process for sending in film and delivering scans. I personally use Old School Print Lab for all of my film processing. I’ve tried lots of processors, and I prefer Old School’s colors. Some labs have the option to order prints, but I like to wait and see which photos turned out well before purchasing. That is a definite advantage over the old way of processing film through a pharmacy.

A bride and groom clink their cocktail glasses in a brick courtyard.

Keep one for yourself!

If you love the idea of documenting your wedding from your perspective, keep a disposable camera on hand. I wish I would have done this for my own wedding. I love the photos my photographer took, but it would have been really special to document the day through my own eyes too. Keep a disposable camera in a clutch or suit coat pocket. It’s the perfect way to grab a photo with friends as the day unfolds. Bonus: You don’t need your phone with all its potential stressors and distractions. 

A bride and groom walk towards Hotel Peter and Paul where their family and wedding party wait on the steps.
Steven and Mary walk towards the dance floor holding hands.

Do what’s right for you, not what’s trending on Pinterest.

Make a plan that feels reasonable for you, not what’s trending on Pinterest. Disposable cameras for weddings require an investment of money and time before and after your wedding. Do it in a way that makes the most sense for you even if that means not putting them on every reception table.

Mary and Steven pose together in front of a white wall with a tree casting a shadow beside them.

Consider hiring a professional.

If all of this feels overwhelming but you’d still like film at your wedding, hire a professional photographer who specializes in film! All of the images in this blog post were taken on film as part of a package that included digital images as well. (You can check those out here.) 

A bride and groom hold hands in a black and white wedding photo.

Would you like me to photograph your wedding on film? I’d love to document your day with photos you can feel. Let’s connect

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