Develop your photo making a Polaroid effect using Adobe Lightroom

HEADER“Polaroid effect” on photos is a very popular effect now a days. So today we are going to learn how to give your photos a very cool Polaroid effect by using Adobe Lightroom. Adobe Lightroom is a wonderful photo processing software. Mostly used for adding presets on photos. But sometimes presets are not that good; suppose you have an underexposed photo you want to give a wonderful “Polaroid effect”. You used a preset to make it Polaroid, but it ended up worse. So first thing you need to do is to be sure you have enough control on the exposure and other adjustments to go through the picture and then you can give your photo a very wonderful “Polaroid effect”. Again, if you want to give your photo a very good looking wedding look by using a preset, which mostly consists of “Film Grain” (it gives a good effect though), but you don’t want to add grain in your photo, there we have a problem. Considering all these I will teach you how to give your photo a very good looking “Polaroid effect”.


At first you need to open the photo you want to give “Antique effect” in Adobe Lightroom. To open it in Adobe Lightroom simply drag the photo with right clicking and release it in Adobe Lightroom working field. This is how it will show.


Now click on “Import” to import the photo in Adobe Lightroom; you will find your photo opened in the “Library”. Move to the “Develop” tab to start working on the necessary adjustments.



Before even applying any effect you need to develop the photo. If you want to use any preset then first you need to know the presets action and change your photo according to it. You can see the photo is a bit cool, this is an advantage on my photo, and then I have to apply adjustments in order to get a cool effect on this photo. So go to the “Basic” settings and adjust the color and exposure.


Now first come with the exposure. I think the exposure is a little bit high in this photo, so I reduced the exposure by moving the slide of exposure. You can also reduce the exposure by sliding the “Histogram” showing in top.


Then apply some contrast on the photo to give some highlight. Don’t forget to keep the triangles checked on the left and right of the histogram, they will alert you if the photo turns overexposed or underexposed. Reduce the black to have a good contrast, then add some “clarity” (increasing the mid-tone) on the photo; but as it may reduce the color a little, add some “Vibrance” and compensate with “Saturation” for reduce too intense colors.



HSL / COLOR / B&W:  Now to give a “Polaroid effect” you need to follow few steps. Go to the “HSL / COLOR / B&W” option and change things as I did here. Select “Color”.

For the “RED” change hue +10, saturation -15, luminance -20.

For the “ORANGE” change hue -2, saturation -15, luminance -10.

For the “YELLOW” change hue  -10, saturation 0, luminance -35.

For the “GREEN” change hue -5, saturation -20, luminance 40.

For the “AQUA” change hue -15, saturation -10, luminance -5.

For the “BLUE” change hue -30, saturation -30, luminance -15.

For the “PURPLE” change hue 0, saturation -45, luminance +20.

TONE CURVE: Another very important adjustment is the Tone Curve. Go to the Tone Curve panel and click on the “Point curve”. Now you can see the RGB values in a straight line; sliding the curve in downward will increase the contrast and setting it upward will increase the highlight. All we need to do is taking the lower point of the curve to upward in order to give a fade look. Change RGB individually to give a polaroid effect on your photo.






Now we want to give a vintage lens effect on our photo, but it is best if we apply some lens correction. Go to the “Lens correction” option and checked the “Enable profile correction” and select a lens profile; for mine I selected “canon EF 15mm 2.8”. For the vintage look go to the “Effect” option and select “the highlight priority” as style, reducing the amount and increasing the midpoint a little. Add some film grain to finish this effect.



Now to save the photo go to the “File” option and select “Export”. A dialogue box will appear showing the saving directory and the format you want to save. Select “JPEG” as the file format and add the location where you want to save it. Then click “Export”.


So you see how easy it is to give a “Polaroid effect” on your photo

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