How to make a Polaroid cold effect using Adobe Lightroom

HEADER“Polaroid cold effect” on photos is another popular effect mostly used in film posters now a days, so today we are going to learn how to give photos a very cool Polaroid cold effect by using Adobe Lightroom. Adobe Lightroom is a wonderful photo processing software who works by adding presets on photos, but for this case I don’t think presets are going to give us a very neat result. Suppose you have an under exposed photo you want to give a wonderful “Polaroid cold effect”. Then you applied a preset to make it Polaroid, but the thing comes up is worse. So first thing you need to do is to control how the exposure and other adjustments go through the picture and then you can give your photo a very wonderful “Polaroid cold effect”. Again, if you want to give your photo a very good looking wedding look by using a preset, which mostly presets consists of “Film Grain” (it gives a good effect though), but you don’t want to add grain in your photo, there shows a problem. Considering all these here I will brief how to give your photo a very good looking “Polaroid cold effect”.


At first you need to open the photo you want to give “Polaroid 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.


Start by opening the photo inside Adobe Lightroom. Drag the photo while right-clicking and release it inside Adobe Lightroom working field. 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. For example, the photo used in this tutorial looks somewhat cool, and this suits my needs since I want the photo to have a cool effect. If it was the opposite, then I would have to apply the necessary adjustments or cooling filters to achieve this kind of effects.


Now first come with the exposure. I think the exposure is a little bit low in this photo. So I raise the exposure by moving the slide of exposure. You can also increase 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 cold 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 0, luminance -35.

For the “ORANGE” change hue 0, saturation -15, luminance -10.

For the “YELLOW” change hue  0, saturation 5, luminance -10.

For the “GREEN” change hue -5, saturation -10, luminance -25.

For the “AQUA” change hue 0, saturation -25, luminance -5.

For the “BLUE” change hue 0, saturation -20, luminance -25.

For the “PURPLE” change hue 0, saturation -15, luminance +10.

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 Kodak film 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 cold effect” on your photo.

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