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How to make the Polaroid effect

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How to make the Polaroid effect: Holidays are around the corner. Pack the last few things in your suitcase and don’t forget your camera. There will be beautiful views to capture. Wait, wait a minute. What is that in your hands? No, don’t tell me that’s a Polaroid! But did they inform you that we are no longer in the 80s?

I know, the charm of the old Polaroids is unattainable, but do you want to close your eyes to the high quality of the photos taken with modern digital cameras or even those taken with the latest generation smartphones? However you can rest assured, you do not necessarily have to give upPolaroid effect you are so fond of, since it is possible to replicate it (as far as possible) using some ad hoc programs, some free online services and some apps for smartphones and tablets.

In the next paragraphs, in fact, I will explain to you how to make Polaroid effect using the above solutions. So, have I intrigued you and you can’t wait to get started? Yup? Perfect! Make yourself comfortable, implement the “tips” that I will give you and you will see that applying the Polaroid effect to your photos will be a breeze. Happy reading and, above all, have fun!

How to make Polaroid effect with Photoshop

Desires make Polaroid effect with Photoshop? The thing is feasible even if, I tell you right away, it is the least simple solution among those present in this tutorial. If you have Photoshop installed on your computer, however, try it quietly: the satisfaction of having done everything “manually” will certainly pay off.

First, create the base on which to place the Polaroid-style photo. Then open the menu File> New Photoshop and creates an image by defining length (ex. 9 cm), height (ex. 11 cm) and orientation (ex. Vertical). Then select the background color (eg. White) and click on the button Create.

Create an image with Photoshop

Now, proceed to insert the photo to be imprinted on the “film” you created earlier. Open the menu File> Openselect the photo you intend to import and then enter it. Next, call it back Crop tool from the Photoshop toolbar, crop the image by moving the appropriate ones slider towards it, until you get the desired result and, at this point, press Enter on the keyboard.

Cropping a photo with Photoshop

After that, press at the same time Ctrl + A (on Windows) or cmd + a (on macOS), so as to select the cropped image, and then press the keys Ctrl + C (on Windows) or cmd + c (on macOS), so as to copy it. Once this is done, move to the tab where the “film” created just before is located and press at the same time Ctrl + V (on Windows) or cmd + v (on macOS).

Once this is done, you just have to resize the photo (if necessary) by selecting the level in which it is located from the layer management panel (bottom right), by going to the menu Edit> Free Transform and resizing it to your liking.

Then reposition it by holding down the left mouse button while holding the pointer over it and dragging it to the desired point, taking care to follow the Photoshop guidelines that appear on the screen, so as to be as precise as possible.

Reposition photos in Photoshop

If you are satisfied with the result, go to the menu File> Save As and choose the format and location to save the Polaroid-style photo.

How to make Polaroid effect online

Does Photoshop seem a little too complicated or expensive as a solution? Well, you’ll be happy to know it’s possible make Polaroid effect online with Web applications running on all major browsers and for free, as well as simple and intuitive.


A great online service that may come in handy for replicating the Polaroid effect on your photos is PhotoFunia. This Web service, which can be used from any browser and without making any registration, allows you to add the Polaroid effect to your shots using some specific templates.

To create the Polaroid effect with PhotoFunia, first connect to his main page and click on the category Photography from the menu on the left or, alternatively, type the term “polaroid” in search bar located at the top left. Then find the template that’s right for you (eg. Instant Camera, Polaroid Shot, Together foreveretc.) and click on it.

After selecting the model you like best, click on the button Choose photos to upload the photo to which to apply the Polaroid effect and upload it from your PC by clicking on the button Upload from PC or, alternatively, take a photo at the moment with the webcam by clicking on the symbol of camera.

After uploading the photo to which to apply the Polaroid effect or having taken it, crop it to fit the chosen template and then click on the button Go. If you are satisfied with the result, save the output file by clicking on the button Download located at the top right.

Other useful online services to make the Polaroid effect

There are others useful online services to make a Polaroid effect: I’ll list them below, so you can see if there is someone among them that might be right for you.

  • Canva – this versatile web service allows you to use some frames that create an almost perfect Polaroid effect. Canva also allows you to customize your shots by adding writings and various graphic elements (many are free, but some cost 1 dollar each or are available by subscribing to the subscription version of the service, which starts at 109.99 euros / year).
  • Photo Effects – as its name suggests, this online service allows you to apply various effects to your photos, including those in Polaroid style.
  • Photo-Kako – although its graphics are old, this Web application is also worth considering as it works effectively for the purpose in question.

How to make the Polaroid effect: app

Do you want to replicate the Polaroid effect to the photos you take with your smartphone or tablet? Well then take a look at the app to make Polaroid effect listed below: I am sure you will find someone who can do for you.

InstaRoid (Android / iOS / iPadOS)

Make Polaroid effect photos with app

InstaRoid is one of the best applications to apply the Polaroid effect to your photos. It is available on both Android (see if there is on alternative stores, in case you have a device without Play Store) and on iOS / iPadOS and it’s super easy to use. Basically it is free, but to remove advertising and take advantage of all its features, you have to buy the paid version, which costs 1.99 euros.

After installing and starting InstaRoid and having granted it all the necessary permissions to work, scroll through the various templates available and then press the button (+) Main photo to select the photo of your interest (Change Photo Gallery) or to take it at the moment (Change Photo Camera).

Subsequently, added writings (Texts), change the background color or the texture of the film (Texture / Color), insert stickers (Sticker / Image), etc., making use of the specific functions made available in the app.

When you are ready to do it, then, click on the icon representing the arrow pointing down (located in the upper right corner of the screen), in order to start exporting the output image. Did you see how simple it was?

Other apps to make Polaroid effect

There are other apps to make Polaroid effect that could somehow be right for you. Take them into consideration: you find them listed below.

  • PhotoFunia (Android/iOS / iPadOS) – is the mobile version of the service I told you about in the previous lines, of which it resumes operation and ease of use. It’s 100% free.
  • Canva (Android/iOS / iPadOS) – is the mobile transposition of the online service I told you about in the previous lines. It works with free registration, but some features are available with a subscription, starting at € 107.99 / month.
  • InstaMini (Android) – thanks to this app you can take pictures by instantly applying the Polaroid effect. The concept is simple: you take your smartphone, take the photo and get the snapshot and for this reason it does not allow you to upload photos already saved in the Gallery. In addition, it allows you to take up to a maximum of 10 photos per day, except for in-app purchases starting at € 0.89 per item.
  • Instants – Photo Edition (iOS) – is an essential app, without frills and with a minimal interface, in perfect “Apple style”. It allows you to create photos with Polaroid effects quickly and easily, as well as for free.
  • Instant Lab – Frame Editor (iOS) – if you are a lover of vintage filters, this could be the application you were looking for. Instant Lab allows you not only to apply the Polaroid effect to your images, but also to modify their main parameters (brightness, contrast, etc.), add text, insert stickers and so on. To use all the tools included in Instant Lab, you need to purchase its full version, which costs € 1.99