Fake Polaroids

At the risk of stirring up more controversy- all over the Internet, applications, mobile apps, Photoshop actions, you name it, are sprouting up, to give your digital photographs that Polaroid look. Funny how those who have never picked up a film camera, and think that the flat, pristine, and sterile look of digital, and seemed to laugh at Polaroid as looking “kitschy”, suddenly are creating all kinds of ways to emulate the look of them? Photoshop to add white borders? Why not have some real fun- buy a Polaroid camera, shoot film, and scan your prints? Wouldn’t that be a lot more fulfilling?
Poladroid- One Of The Endless Ways To Make Your Digital Shots Look Like The Real Thing

Poladroid- One Of The Endless Ways To Make Your Digital Shots Look Like The Real Thing

The classic days of true photography are, yes, forever gone. Photoshop jockeys who have never experienced the joy of a film camera mistake Photoshop and other Adobe applications with photography. everything nowadays has to have a “workflow” associated with it. This shouldn’t be work, it should be fun. Yes, digital is here to stay, but analog, another tool in your toolkit, has its place and purpose. The “easiest and funnest” Polaroid Image Maker is, well, a Polaroid Land Camera.

8 thoughts on “Fake Polaroids

  1. The truly disappointing thing is that even if you do manage to nail a faux Polaroid, all you have is a digital file, which is totally worthless in my view. Compare that with an actual Polaroid/TIP print, which is by definition one of a kind. As far as manipulating digital images, I’ve seen tons more images that have been Photoshopped to look like – and I was guilty of this myself – cross-processed or Lomo-style images than Polaroids. That is, unless you’re talking about simply recreating the Time Zero film’s tonality. Actually, now that I remember, I have to tip my hat to the Poladroid application for turning me on to buying my first Polaroid camera a while back.

  2. Agreed. Nothing like the real thing, is there? I do have to give digital credit for initially sparking my interest in photography. But, The Film Photography Podcast, Polaroid photography, and my Dad’s mint Nikon FE-2 camera all sparked the analog passion. Rarely do I look back. They all have their purpose. I still do shoot digital on occasion. But, when you have to go through a “workflow” in Photoshop just to create a digital file that you will never print out? To make it look like a Polaroid? Silly. Just my opinion.

  3. It’s funny on flickr, many people say “nice processing”, “great film f/x!” and stuff like that on my analog images. While you and I are trying to clean up the dust and scratches, they’re adding them! I’m toning my prints to make them archival while they’re applying toning to make them look like an old film photo.

    Yet for all that, people love to look at Fuji Instant film pictures, they love the color. There is just something about having it, really having it in your hand so it isn’t lost when your laptop’s hard drive data is unrecoverably lost, years of vacation pictures, family moments, gone in a flash. Sure, a horrible event like a fire or flood can ruin your pictures but they can’t be erased by accident.

    The worst part about digital fake Polaroids is it takes longer to make those than to make the real thing!

  4. Harry- agreed 100%. It would be SO much easier to just buy an inexpensive Polaroid, and have fun. But, in today’s digital era, I fully recognize that some supposed photographers enjoy Photoshop over actual shooting. Just not for me. The whole “workflow” thing, and the run and gun machine gun fire, hoping to “get a good one’, is for the birds. The colors of the Fuji color instant are incredible. I usually let them self terminate, but plan on experimenting with shorter development times if the weather up here ever gets warmer. -A

  5. It is cold here too. I don’t have a cold clip so I just pull the tabs and drop them in my jacket pocket. I let them develop in the warm house once I get in but this gives me those funky “squishy corners” which is cool for most of the outdoor shooting I do but probably isn’t the best for portraits.

    Another problem I have is sometimes the used liquid leaks out. I need to carry a few ziplock bags though I’m worried they’ll think I’m dealing…

  6. The cold clip really does work well, As for the caustic jelly, always, always keep some Ziplocks in your camera bag. Actually, with any camera- never know when you can use them! I stopped caring what outhers think of my photographic activities, after hearing an interview on a recent podcast with Trey Ratcliff. I really dislike HDR photography, which is what he does. But he shoots for himself, and not caring what others think. A great attitude to have when people scoff at analog photography, and maybe see you in the field, and ask why you still “still’ shoot film.



  7. I really do hate to be rude on the internet (dying breed, right?), but I think you film purists need to get over yourselves. Don’t get me wrong: I love analog. I have 17 polaroid cameras and a bedroom wall covered in polaroids. I never even touched a digital camera until I was about 6, and that was when digital cameras were “trinket toys” with .25 megapixels. My first camera was a film camera, and I had endless fun with that thing (I’d use it still if it wasn’t broken and didn’t use purely Kodak Advantix film). And on occasion I still do 35mm work. I even know how to develop and print film.
    But you can’t just completely reject digital photography. It is 4 million times more convenient than analog. Here are a few reasons why: After purchasing the camera, all of the pictures are free. You can take (essentially) as many pictures as you want; you can’t run out of photographs. You can see your pictures right then and there (you know if it turned out). You don’t have to take your film in to get developed (assuming you don’t have a darkroom), and you don’t have to pay per roll of film or per print.

    I love both analog and digital photography. I think the modern world needs both. People need to stop whining either way: that A. we only need film, or B. we only need digital. Every time people on the internet are saying things like “Digital photography is dumb. Film photography is the only real photography and everyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant”, they look like elitist a-holes.

    Also, there are much, much bigger problems in the world than the fact that people use instagram or want to print fake polaroids. There are people who are starving and dying from diseases. There are child soldiers in Africa. If you look at the scope of things, you are pretty damn lucky to be able to get on your computer inside your home, use your internet, and whine that digital photography has taken over. Appreciate what you have and learn to accept the little annoyances in life. I promise you will be much happier and much kinder.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I respectfully disagree. This is a happy, kind blog. By choice, you have totally missed all of my points. But, you’re seeing what you want to see. Enjoy your photography, and be happy. It will make you a better photographer. -Arthur

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