A few weeks ago I saw an image on Chris Pearson’s Pearsonified that I just loved. He had taken a photo of something — I can’t remember what it was — and made it look like an old-fashioned Polaroid. “What a great idea!” I thought. Surely I can figure out how to do that in Photoshop. And I did. So now I’ll share.
How to Create a Polaroid Using Photoshop in 10 Simple Steps
Start by making your image an acceptable size. I’m making this one 200 pixels high by 150 pixels wide. (Photoshop Menu Item: Image » Image Size …)
Add Polaroid Padding
First make sure you have the background color swatch set to white [#ffffff]. (You can double-click the little swatch to change the colors.) Then increase the canvas size of your image. I’m going to add 10 pixels to the current height and width. Make sure to leave the current canvas centered. If you don’t click the Anchor section it should be centered. You want the anchor to be in the middle, like so. (Image » Canvas Size …)
Add Polaroid Extra Bottom Padding
Now add the bottom “Polaroid” padding by increasing the canvas size again, but only increasing the height by another 20 pixels. This time set the anchor point to be the top center square; that will make the canvas extend at the bottom.
Add A Caption
Flatten your image. (Layer » Flatten Image)
Create a New Image
Create a new image. (File » New …) Make sure your new image is at least 100 pixels wider and higher than the image you want to use. So, for example, I’m making mine 300 by 250. You don’t have to make it this big, but it makes it easier to rotate.
Copy Your Photo to the New Image
Drag your (flattened!) photo into your new image. (Once it’s there you can close your original photo. You don’t need to save it unless you want to keep your changes. I usually don’t.)
Add A Drop Shadow
Add the drop shadow effect. (Layer » Layer Style » Drop Shadow …) I like “Blend Mode: Multiply” and Distance, Spread, and Size equal to 5, 0, and 5. This is key to making it look like it’s an actual “thing” and not a graphic.
Rotate for Reality
Time to rotate it a bit. (Edit » Transform » Rotate) 3.5° is plenty to get the “reality” effect you want. Click the checkbox in the transformation menu to apply the transformation.
Crop to Size
Crop out the additional white space from the edges by using the rectangular marquee tool and then clicking Image » Crop.
Save as a jpg and you’re done!
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