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How to get the polaroid effect without a polaroid camera

How to get the polaroid effect without a polaroid camera - Lou and Lea
How to get the polaroid effect without a polaroid camera

Aaah, nostalgy. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Teenagers are buying record players again and hanging up old pictures of their parents when they were young. Especially polaroids have something magical about them, they just look like they are from another time and are a great way to decorate bedroom walls. If you’re like me you are one of these people and a helpless victim of the longing for the old days.

But if you are like me you probably don’t have the money, nor the will to get a real polaroid camera. An expensive, unhandy little thing that can create pretty pictures of your life, but is just not very practical.  So if you really are like me you want to know how to create Polaroid pictures without a polaroid camera. It’s fairly easy and simple.



Download VSCO Cam

If you don’t have VSCO cam you better get it asap because it is the shit!  You can certainly do this with another editing app too, but this is how I do it and I love to use some of the VSCO Cam filters to achieve the polaroid effect.


Get the right filter

Go to the filter section in the VSCO Cam app and click on the little cart icon on the very right. There you can Download the HB, or Hypebeast, filter package. You can use HB1 or HB2, this is totally up to your personal preference. For this picture, I am going to use HB1 just because I prefer the way it looks with this filter.



Put the contrast almost all the way up. That way your photo is going to look really dramatic and awesome.



Many polaroids are super over exposed and if you want this effect too; You guessed it, put the exposure really high. Once you put the exposure up, it could mess with your contrast a little bit so you might have to go back and forth until it looks the way you want it to.




Next, go to the fade effect and put it almost all the way up.


Make it grainy

How high you set the grain effect depends on the subject of your photo. On the picture I am editing here I can set the grain really high. But careful: If you are editing a selfie for example then you might not want to put the grain too high since it will mess up your skin because it’s gonna absorb all the grain and this is not going to look very nice. For a landscape shot, you can put it up higher again. So really, this step depends on your photo.

Highlights Tint

There are only three colors that you want to highlight: Blue, green, red. Those colors are going to give you a polaroid effect. I like the blue one the best, so that’s what I am going to do on my photo. Go to the blue (Or the color you picked) and tone it down almost all the way. 1 or 2 should be enough, we don’t want to get too crazy with this one.



If you look at some polaroids you can see a vignette at the edges of the picture. If you feel like it, you can add it to yours too for dramatic effect.


And that’s it! You’re done.


As I said, it’s fairly simple and gives you a great polaroid effect. This is especially nice for an Instagram feed or prints. I did all these steps exactly like this for the Pinterest graphic at the top of this post, so it really works for almost everything. If something does look off, just adjust the individual settings a little. This really differs from picture to picture.

There are several apps and websites where you can upload your edited pictures and have them printed as a Polaroid. It makes a nice present or just a really sweet way to remember your special moments.

So have fun!


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Til Soon.



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