Purposeful Thoughts and Personal Touches: Mia Amphlett’s Tips on Instant Photography


About 10 years ago, Mia Amphlett's curiosity about instant photography created a path for her that led to her discovering an Instax Neo90 and a Lomo’Instant Wide Camera. Like a garden housing flowers that bloom through hard work, love and consistency, Mia’s collection of instant cameras has continued to grow.

The instants in the third photo were taken with the Lomo’Instant Wide! Photos by Mia Amphlett

There is no doubt that instant photography feels like magic. You catch yourself in a special moment, struck by the thought of it being ephemeral. Click the shutter, and what once was fleeting is now frozen – sitting right between your fingertips. But just like any fairytale, the journey is not always smooth-sailing. Taking our cameras everywhere we go and capturing our everyday lives has its ups, but also its downs, such as creative burnout.

In hopes of sparking inspiration, Mia shared five tips with us to make your approach to instant photography more personal and purposeful.

Focus on Other People

What can I create for someone else? is a question to constantly ask yourself. Mia’s answer to this has led her to initiating #photoswaps wherein participants exchange instant photos, handwritten letters, postcards and more through good ol’ snail mail. “They keep me motivated and inspired. It’s rewarding to go out and intentionally take photos for someone with them in mind, trying to share my perspective and little bits of home with someone on the other side of the world.” As of writing, Mia has participated in more than 170 photo swaps, and it all started with the single thought of bridging borders through photography.

Photos by Mia Amphlett

In the true spirit of Lomography, creating art for ourselves and for others allows us to celebrate diversity and make room for each one’s uniqueness. As Mia put it, “Capturing the quirkiness in everyday life, embracing the imperfections and exploring new techniques are what brings me happiness. Sharing this quirkiness with others is what I enjoy most of all.”

Mail from Mia! Photos by sjinstax, mademiliana, instantcamman

Create Poetic Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes, the picture itself already contains the words! Both texts and images are capable of telling stories, so why not try combining them? Collect your favorite quotes, lyrics or poems, and incorporate them in your photographs. You can also try communicating your message through colors or symbols.

Photos by Mia Amphlett

Mia elevated this approach through her project called #polaroidswithpositivity where she leaves instant photos with positive affirmations in various locations, for anyone who finds them to keep. Coming from the oh-so-sunny Brisbane, Australia, it comes as no surprise that Mia is a ray of sunshine herself. This selfless take on instant photography reminds us that having a greater cause or intention can help us keep going when times are hard.

Discover New Places

Loss of inspiration can also form from feeling stuck in one place. If this resonates with you, we invite you to look a little harder around you. Take a different route home, explore a new suburb or local area, and bring your camera along for the ride. When we’re exposed to one thing for so long, it can start to lose its appeal, so open yourself to the new perspectives your environment can offer. In Mia’s words, “Be curious and look for the unusual.”

Photos by Mia Amphlett

Distort Your View

When life can’t help but feel boring, switch it up! Accessories like the Lomo'Instant Splitzer and other lens attachments can surely help with that. When Mia first tried the Lomo’Instant Wide years ago, she learned to experiment with different techniques like double exposures, creative filters, light painting, solarization and so much more. Circumstances are often out of our control, but within our control is how we view them, so try and see mundane life in abstract and distorted images. It truly is in your hands.

The first four instant photos were taken with the Lomo’Instant Wide, with the help of the Multiple Exposures feature and the Lomo'Instant Splitzer. Photos by Mia Amphlett

One Subject, Endless Possibilities

Inspiration is closer than it seems. Identify one thing you love, then photograph it with a variety of cameras, film or techniques. Mia adds, “Be sure to experiment with all the different modes of your camera. Lomography cameras are great for this.” We all have something that never fails to brighten up our day – a small but certain happiness. For Mia, it’s her awesome collection of Dr. Martens which she documents through a series called In My Docs. What would yours be?

Photos by Mia Amphlett

“Photography is thoughts you can see. When I take photos I'm sharing a part of myself with the viewer. I'm sharing my thoughts and my perspective on life. They showcase me as an individual and that makes the process personal, purposeful and meaningful,” shares Mia. Photography has always been an outlet for self-expression, which is meant to be unapologetically and openly shared. Mia added that, to best express herself, “I seek out happiness and if I can't find any to photograph, I create my own.” Once you learn to embrace this mindset, instant photography will be a breeze – use its magic to tell your stories, and it will lead you to a happy fairytale ending.

We'd like to thank Mia for sharing her tips and stories with us. For your daily dose of positivity, follow her on Instagram and stay tuned for her website which is launching soon!

written by kylavillena on 2024-04-21 #gear #people #instant #instant-photography #instant-photography-tips

Mentioned Product

Lomo'Instant Wide

Lomo'Instant Wide

We're thrilled to introduce the Lomo'Instant Wide — the world's most creative instant wide camera and lens system! Combining high quality craftsmanship with versatile features, the Lomo’Instant Wide is the instant camera for any and every person who revels in capturing every beautiful, bizarre and bewildering moment in a creative, super wide, crisply sharp and perfectly exposed way.


  1. ashrichardson650
    ashrichardson650 ·

    Mia makes such incredibly positive photographs, I love following her work! I was fortunate to participate in one of her photo swaps :) what a treat!

  2. kylavillena
    kylavillena ·

    @ashrichardson650 Awww that's amazing! It's such a refreshing take on photography :)

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