How to make a photo look like a Polaroid.

Quickly and easily transform any photo to look like the ever-popular Polaroid picture.

The retro Polaroid look is a popular special effect for images found on blogs and websites. Polaroid film is not readily available — if you can find it at all — but you can easily create this specialized look with photo editing software right on your phone.

Materials needed to make a photo look like a Polaroid.

The exact steps will vary, depending on the software you use, but there are two things you will need:

How to create the Polaroid effect.

To make your photo look like a Polaroid, fit your subject image into a layer mask that fills the center of the Polaroid frame out to the borders. Be sure to “unlink” the subject image layer and the layer mask so you can fit the subject within the frame just how you want it.

Use your hue, saturation, and lightness controls to create the retro photo look. You may find applying predefined filters to the subject image layer will do the trick nicely. For a more authentic look, do not apply the colorization effects to the frame image layer.

Try adding some light flare effect with a large soft-edged brush to give that less-than-perfect look, then provide your finishing touches using the opacity control. It may take some practice, but you can learn to make any image look like it was originally taken with a Polaroid camera.

Discover how to use other photo editing tips and tricks.

Find out how to make a photo look like a Polaroid picture — or one of dozens of other transformations — using Adobe Photoshop Express.