Published Fri Jan 27 2023

How to Turn Pictures into Polaroids in Easy Ways

You will find out how you can turn your pictures into polaroids with two amazing photo editing tools.

Three polaroid pictures on the wall

A Polaroid photo is a photograph shot with a Polaroid camera. A Polaroid camera is a kind of camera with internal processing that generates a finished print quickly after each photo is taken. So a camera publishes a photo as soon as you take it!

Polaroids have been a timeless staple among professional photographers and amateurs, capturing images for fun since they were popular in the 1970s! For a long time, you had to invest money not only in a costly camera but also in the premium polaroid film that came with it.

Nowadays, there are many affordable instant cameras that offer a polaroid effect for your photos. You may wonder why instant photography is so popular. It is because it evokes nostalgia in the consumers who grew up with it. According to the research, 3,881,000 adults aged 25 to 54 own a Polaroid camera.

The good news is that you can make your images look like polaroids without ever using an instant camera! So, let's look at how to make images look like polaroids without a polaroid camera and how to obtain a polaroid camera effect using photo editing tools and software such as Adobe Photoshop and Fotor.

How to Turn Pictures into Polaroids in Actionable Ways

Indeed, the demand for instant cameras is increasing by the day. The Global Instant Print Camera Market was valued at about USD 1 billion in 2019, and it is predicted to achieve a significant value rising at a CAGR of around 2.5% between 2020 and 2026. However, as we have already stated, it is possible to achieve the polaroid effect without using any instant camera.

Below, you will find how you can turn your pictures into polaroids with two amazing photo editing tools - Adobe Photoshop and Fotor.

Add a Polaroid Effect in Adobe Photoshop in 3 Steps

With the ever-improving quality of cameras on our phones, it's almost too simple to take a good photo. As a stylistic counterpoint to this modern, clean image, it's becoming increasingly popular to aim for low-quality photos in vintage styles that imitate the aesthetic of the 1960s and '70s.

Indeed, taking a photo that looks perfect is, of course, more difficult than you may assume. The auto-focus on iPhone or Samsung cameras makes it nearly impossible to get a blurry image — and even if you alter the focus, it is difficult to achieve the blur of an old-fashioned Polaroid.

Fortunately, it is easier to give a current photo an antique appearance than it is to turn an old photo modern.

Below you will find how you can turn pictures into Polaroids with Adobe Photoshop.

1. Change the Colors, Fade, and Curves

When broken down, a Polaroid is simply a form of film. Polaroid images are noted for having a high black point, which means that the image's darkest areas aren't completely black, but rather faded. Open the Curves panel in the Image > Adjustments menu to alter the black point and individual colors. You can also use Ctrl + M.

The Adobe Photoshop software

The channel you are watching can be seen along the top of the window. For the RGB channel, draw a checkmark-shaped line with a flat left side. Drag the leftmost corner upward to bring the black point up and "fade" the darkest image parts while leaving the highlighted areas intact.

Then, for each of the separate color channels, make a small S-curve. Drag the curves higher or downward by clicking the middle point of the provided line. To emulate the aesthetic of the film, this action will soften the colors in certain regions and heighten them in others.

2. Make Your Image’s Brightest Parts Duller

Now is the moment to dim down the brightest elements of your image. Open the Shadows/Highlights window by going to Image > Adjustments. Photoshop will automatically fix the exposure, but you'll have to disregard that advice if you want a retro look. Make sure that both the shadow and highlight values are more than 1%. You can also play around pixelation (learn how to pixelate an image,) color themes, sizes, etc. Drag the shadow and highlight tones up and down. You can adjust the settings to your satisfaction, but it's okay if it seems dramatic here because the next step will assist.

3. Add Some Grain

The grain or noise in the image is an important component to consider if you wonder how to turn pictures into Polaroids. When using these pictures for print ads, posters, or anything else printed, you need to be careful with these two elements. While not all Polaroid or film images have grain, it adds an old-fashioned touch to the image and can help your edit look more realistic.

Navigate to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Play with the quantity in this box until it appears subtle but perceptible. The grain in Photoshop is multicolored by default. If you prefer a more tranquil appearance, check the "monochromatic" box at the bottom.

Create a Polaroid Effect in Fotor in 7 Ways

Before we jump into the process of creating a polaroid effect using the photo editor Fotor, it will be great to dive into polaroid photo sizes. This is done to ensure you have a better understanding of what sizes images with polaroid effects come from.

Polaroid Photo Sizes

Knowing the size of your photo is essential if you want to make it look like a polaroid. The size of a Polaroid depends on which section of the photo you are talking about, as there's an "inner" portion that's the photo itself and an "outer" portion that's the border polaroid effect.

With Fotor, you can generate a polaroid picture effect from any photo of any size!

The Inside Photo

Polaroid 600 film has an inner photo area of 3.0625 × 3.125 inches. Take note of how the photo area is slightly longer than it is tall.

If you want to produce a Polaroid frame effect with an Instax film, the "square" size is 61x61 millimeters, and the "small" size is 61x46 millimeters.

The Outside Frame

A Polaroid's outside frame is the white border that surrounds the photo. A full Polaroid effect, including the frame, measures 3.4 x 4.2 inches on normal Polaroid 600 film.

A Mini Instax Polaroid photo is 46 x 62 millimeters in size, and a Square Instax photo is 62x62 millimeters in size.

As you have a basic understanding of polaroid picture sizes, below you can find all the necessary steps you need to take to turn pictures into Polaroids in Fotor.

1. Add Your Photo

The first step in our guide on how to turn pictures into polaroids by using Fotor is adding your photo. You can either drag and drop your photo directly into Fotor or by clicking on Open and browse where your file is situated.

2. Adjust Your Photo

Now that our file has been uploaded, let's tweak it somewhat by going to Crop and selecting Square. Square photographs complement the polaroid camera's appearance beautifully. You can, however, choose whatever side you like.

Following the crop, brighten the photo by going to Fine Tune and raising the Exposure to 14 and the Highlights to 100.

3. Pick a Frame

There are many frames in Fotor. You can find both simple and vintage frames. If you want your pictures to look simple, then use simple frames. On the other hand, if you want your pictures to look more antique, then you should definitely choose frames in vintage style.

4. Add Stickers

Now that you have added your polaroid filter effect, it is high time to get into the fun part: using stickers! The best part about polaroid is all the blank areas for you to add your own personal touches.

The Sticker tab has hundreds of stickers and pictures that are ready to use!

Adding strips of tape and other little doodles to your Polaroid effect is a great way to add some character!

Go to the Search Bar under the Sticker tab and type Tape to find dozens of options.

Place them around your photo, altering their color by clicking the sticker and moving your cursor to the top left-hand side of the screen.

You can even change their size by pulling on the Anchor Points while moving them!

Layer stickers on top of each other, then add doodles, other small sketches, and your favorite phrases. Feel free to add and modify stickers as you see fit.

5. Add Textures and Patterns

Do you think about adding texture to your images? Then experiment with textures! Textures function similarly to stickers and are the most convenient way to obtain that retro polaroid look online.

Stretch them across the entire polaroid, including the outside edge, using the Move Tool. This will apply an instant vintage polaroid filter effect to your photo, which you can simply move around and customize.

Combine stickers, textures, and patterns to create photos that truly capture the essence of scrapbooking.

6. Use Emojis

Emojis are wonderful ways to add minor fun elements to Polaroids.

A set of different emojis on the screen of a phone

After uploading your picture to Fotor, go to Stickers, type “Emojis,” select your preferred ones, and then use them in your polaroid.

7. Create a collage

A collage is one of the greatest methods to display your Polaroids.

You know how to turn pictures into polaroids. Once you make a polaroid, download and save all of your polaroids to a convenient location!

Next, go to and select the canvas that best meets your demands.

Now, on the Backdrop tab, select a background. Darker colors compliment white polaroids.

Finally, arrange and resize all of your Polaroids on the canvas!


That's it! Everything you need to know about making polaroid images without a polaroid camera. Everything is done online, so no expensive camera or film is required! The best thing is that these photo editing tools allow you to play with your images the way you want and fully personalize them.

We hope our guide was helpful and you know how to turn pictures into Polaroids in cheap and simple ways.

Thanks for taking the time to read this guide, and good luck!

Mery Content Manger

Meri Minasyan

Content Manager

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