Drying Pack Film Prints and Negatives

Hello everyone! Were back on the blog this week after an exciting break for ‘RoidWeek 2013. We hope everybody had a great time shooting and also admiring the work of your fellow instant film shooters.

I came across some recent discussion online as to what people were doing with there pack film prints and negatives while out in the field. When Polaroid designed the first pack films, the negative was a non issue. It was just part of the trash you threw away. Same goes for the Fuji Fp-100c and 3000b. But, as you all know from our Bleaching Negatives and Scanning Negatives how to’s, thats no longer the case. You can create amazing images from these negatives, but proper care for them in the field is essential. Here are a couple ideas for taking care of your images after you pull that white tab through the rollers.

1. Dont peel. You can save the headache of keeping up with and keeping negatives clean by not peeling them until you are in a better or more convenient environment. There are some drawbacks though. If you are using actual expired Polaroid film, it’s not self terminating, you have to peel in the allotted time. If you’re shooting Fuji, you can wait hours to peel, but I like to see and share the print right away. I also like to check the first shot an make sure the camera is working properly.

2. Set out to dry. Depending on the area you are working in, you may be able to peel apart and separate your prints and negatives and allow both to dry in a dust free environment. This works great in a studio, or if your car is 10 feet away, but not if you are 1 mile in the woods at an awesome location. Trust me on this one, unless you have several sets of hands, getting your negatives back out of the woods unharmed presents a challenge.

3.Dry on site. Using a small hairdryer to dry the prints and negatives on site works great. Either a battery powered travel hairdryer or a small plug in model will work. I actually use this method at weddings and have great results. I have a small hairdryer and a Vagabond Mini tucked away in a small shoulder back along with extra film. After a couple shots, I sneak away and peel my prints, dry my negatives and store them away. There is one problem with this method. More stuff to carry!

That brings us to another solution. A simple box that is fairly compact and would allow for the separation of prints and negatives.  Justin Goode from The Instant Film Society has created such a box and has made them available for purchase. Here is a quick video showing the box in use.



“The cool thing about Fuji’s instant film is that it is peel-apart film and it works on all 100 series Polaroid cameras & film backs. The not-so-cool thing about this type of film in general, is that when you peel it apart, you remove the print from the negative & the developing solution. That in turn leaves you with a somewhat vulnerable print that has to dry first before it can be touched & stored. It’s not really a problem if you’re only shooting a few and can hand hold the print a few minutes until it’s dry. It does turn into a bit of an issue however when you’re shooting a pack or more of prints fairly quickly and need to store them to dry. I run into this issue …

A while back, I started to brainstorm on how I could keep the exposed prints & negatives in a safe place when I was out and about shooting. One day, I was walking around an arts & crafts store and I stumbled upon a paper mache box that looked to be about the size of FP-100C’s prints. Voila! It was perfect!”



FP-100C drying/storage box

FP-100C drying/storage box

Cut slits into the box, pull the end of the spring through and tie the end

Cut slits into the box, pull the end of the spring through and tie the end

Prints held in place by springs without touching the actual image

Prints held in place by springs without touching the actual image

“Once it was complete I finally had a safe place to dry and store the prints/negatives. I just put it in the camera bag when I’m out and about.”

Justin Goode

We think Justin has come up with a great solution. If you feel the same, you can pick up on of these boxes here.


  1. Loved Justin’s idea and made one from his instructions, super easy!! I also bought a small plastic container with a carry handle lid to keep the photos dry if at the beach or on a rainy day. 🙂

  2. This is such a great drying device!!

  3. My apologies to Justin, but Olé Hongvanthong of PhotOle Photography has finally made great purpose built film and negative holders for peel apart film.


    PhotOle Photography
    108 West King St., Lancaster, PA 17603
    Closed — Opens today at 9:00 AM

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