You’ve probably seen it: Someone on TV or in a movie takes a picture with a Polaroid™ brand instant camera. The undeveloped picture comes out, and the fictional photographer grabs it and starts waving it around like she’s fighting a bull, trying to make it develop faster. This practice has even been referenced in OutKast’s song “Hey Ya”, with the line “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.”
Now, I’ve owned Polaroid cameras and taken my share of instant photos. I’ve never shaken the pictures and they’ve all developed fine. In fact, I think I’ve seen the directions “do not shake” on film.
Where did this practice start? Is there really any benefit to shaking the pictures as they develop?