1. Get at least two packs of film to start off with, so that you’ll have plenty of chances to learn what you’re doing.
2. Squint at the included directions for attaching your new Polaroid back to the Holga camera. Squint even more at the directions for loading the film. Make a guess as to what the photos are indicating, and fiddle with it until everything appears to be in place.
3. Take a picture of your cat in what you hope is bright enough light for the film ISO. Pull the photo out of the camera in a complicated process involving a little paper leader strip, and a film door that’s hard to pry open even with fingernails.
4. Remember that using peel-apart film probably means that there’s an optimal length of time to let it develop before opening, and fumble for the film box to find out what that is. Glance at the time. Try to guess how long it’s been since you removed the film from the camera. Give up and open it a minute later.
5. Wonder why there is no cat in this photo.
6. Decide that low light levels are probably the culprit, and sprint outside as soon as the gloomy winter weather breaks into sunshine.
7. Fail to pull the film out smoothly, feeding it instead into the little slot the paper tabs (which tell you what number print you’re on) are supposed to come out of. Open the camera to clear the jam, crossing your fingers you haven’t exposed the entire film pack to light.
8. Hope that aggressive cropping will be enough to keep the picture from being a complete waste.
9. Spend some time reading Flickr forum threads for tips. Decide that you’ll just try to get over the minimum development time and not worry after that, since it’s the only way you’re going to be able to take pictures outside (needing to let the opened prints dry flat on a clean surface is kinda limiting).
10. Go outside and take more pictures.
11. Conclude that no amount of wishful thinking will convert “bright overcast” into “direct sunlight”.
12. Watch the weather forecast anxiously, hoping for actual sunshine to occur.
13. Run outside during the next available sunbreak. Finish off the pack of film.
14. Admire the imperfect, unexpected results.