Instagram: Recreating Gotham Using Camera+

UPDATE 07.31.13: If you already own Camera+, there is now no need to jump through all these hoops. The 3.9 update of Camera+ added a really killer one-click Gotham filter to it’s toolbox. Read more about the Camera+ 3.9 update here.

Despite its deceptive simplicity, there’s nothing common about Instagram’s filters. They look similar to effects that can be achieved in any number of photo apps, but they can’t easily be exactly duplicated. I’ve tried a few times and given up.

Among the changes in the Instagram 2.0 update are the disappearance of a few of the app’s filters, including the popular Gotham filter. Instagrammer @wilburtheant, along with @darren2112 and @dudettewalnuts, have been circulating a recipe to recreate the look of the Gotham filter using Camera+ ( ).

I’ve made a couple of tweaks to their recipe which helps improve the converted blues in the image and helps reduce the amount of purple in the shadows and 3/4 tones. You’ll also need either Simply B&W ( ) or MonoPhix ( ) for this technique. Here’s the tweaked recipe:

1. Using Simply B&W or MonoPhix, convert to black & white using the red filter.
2. Save to camera roll
3. Using Camera+, crop image square if desired.
4. Scenes > Darken
5. FX Effects > I (heart) Analog > apply Silver Gelatin at 50%. Done.
6. Hold down Save button and select “Commit Edits.”
7. FX Effects > Color > apply Vibrant at 30%. Done.
8. Hold down Save button and select “Commit Edits.”
9. FX Effects > Color > Cyanotype at 15%. Done.
10. Borders > Simple > Round Black or Styled > Viewfinder  (Also, try using PictureShow > Style > Convex Blur).
11. Save to camera roll.

It comes close to Gotham, but there are still some differences. There’s a little more shadow detail in the actual Gotham filter. And, I found that both wilburtheant’s original and this revised technique work better on some images than others. Your mileage may vary from image to image, but I think this recipe gets you close to the stark contrast and rich saturation of Gotham.

By the way, both techniques preserve the original image size of your photo.

As far as Gotham and the other missing filters making a comeback? Instagram recently said that they “hope to introduce improved versions that capture the essence of these filters.” With the changes in all of the filters in the new update, even if Gotham, Poprocket and Apollo return, they’ll almost certainly be different than the ones users love in Instagram version 1.

If you simply want to hang on to all of the old filters for a while longer, read Life In LoFi’s classic post on how to reinstall an older version of an iOS app.


Processed with Simply B&W, Camera+, and PictureShow
Processed with Instagram 1.8’s Gotham filter
Processed with Simply B&W and Camera+
Processed with Instagram 1.8’s Gotham filter


Processed with Simply B&W and Camera+
Processed with Instagram 1.8’s Gotham filter


How did this work for you? Let us know in the comments below.


About Marty Yawnick 1830 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, Pink Floyd, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Clement

    I thought I wanted to go back to Instagram but then all the filters are similar, unattractive, and not inspiring. Hopefully they will make it better!

  • I like that there is virtually no difference, just a tad disappointed that none of those are free alternatives. But I can't complain anyway because my iPhone is old and the only thing that got upgraded was the app icon.

  • Michael

    Thanks so much for sharing the Gotham recipe!

  • causedbypie

    Thanks so much for this! Gotham is the only filter I miss.

    • I miss Poprocket, too, but I have no idea where to start to try and recreate that one on an iPhone.


      • causedbypie

        I liked Poprocket, but didn't use it anywhere near what I did Gotham. I wouldn't have a clue, either. And doing this step-by-step reminded me of what goes on behind the scenes when you select any given filter effect. Very cool. Thanks again.

  • Suzé

    Thanks for the recipe Marty. Honestly, why do they have to remove filters in Instagram? Is it that difficult to add new ones without replacing some. That is one of the reasons I really hate upgrading this app. I am still missing the Lily filter.

  • bnddycl

    couldn't you use Noir to recreate this as well? Just wondering as that's the B&W option I own.

    • Noir does a different type of color to black & white conversion than needed here. while it's very high contrast, it leaves the sky too light to look Gothamy. There are also other tints in Gotham that aren't in any other black & white filter I've seen. It's almost a tritone or quadtone.


      • bnddycl

        right on….will have to look into those apps

  • Thanks for posting this! I'm @Kewiki and the creator of @wilburtheant! He may just be a cartoon ant but he's a smart little guy!!!

  • Miztaegg

    Thanks Marty for the Gotham recipe, I can be the batman any time now lol, hopefully the instagram team would bring back the forgotten missing filters 🙂

  • Drew

    The new Camera+ doesn’t have some of the things mentioned in this recipe (at least they aren’t by the same name). Any idea how to recreate Gotham with the latest version of Camera+?

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