Early in 2009, Polarize was the first fake Polaroid photo app to hit the App Store. I call them fauxlaroids. Since then, many other apps have been released and the fauxlaroids has been a popular and enduring style of iPhoneography.
Instant photos are a classic Life In LoFi style — both analog and digital. Keep reading for our list of five of the best fauxlaroid photo apps.
A Gallery of Fauxlaroids
Instant photography was pioneered years ago way back in 1947 by Edwin land, the inventor of Polaroid. With a Land camera, each piece of film was essentially its own darkroom. For the first time in photography, users could shoot, process, and share an image all within minutes. Sound familiar?
More than any other modern style of photography, iPhoneography and mobile photography share this pedigree. On a much grander and faster scale, mobile photographers can now shoot, process, and share their images, often within seconds.
Some of the earliest popular iPhone photo apps even tried to re-create the look of the classic Polaroids. While arriving late in the game, the most iconic of these is the look of Polaroid’s SX-70 cameras and the slightly washed out T600 film. It’s that instantly recognizable, classic square format image with the textured tabbed frame that most of us expect when we think of Polaroid.
Over the years, there have been many fauxlaroid photo apps in the App Store. Some are amazing re-creations of the SX-70 experience. Others are downright hideous.
I think it’s great to shoot iPhone photography that’s a fitting homage to the original instant photography. Here are five great fake Polaroid photo apps so you can capture and share like it’s 1975.
ShakeIt Photo is one of the remaining classic iPhoneography apps from the early days of the App Store. It’s by far the easiest fauxlaroid to use. Simply shoot or import and watch it process before your eyes. The frame textures look good. People who like ShakeIt Photo – I’m one of them – love the lush and rich colors the app creates. It’s not how the T600 film actually looks. It’s much more vibrant here. It looks like how we remember it looked. Triggering that memory is a powerful emotional connection that this simple photo app makes.
ShakeIt Photo is $1.99 in the App Store.
App Store Link: ShakeItPhoto – Banana Camera Co.
All five of these apps do an excellent job of re-creating the iconic SX-70 frame. Polamatic goes further by letting you add wear, use, and damage effects to the frame. Polamatic let you choose a pristine frame, a damaged and de-wrinkled frame, and everything in between. Polamatic also let you add “light leaks” that look a lot like damaged, unevenly processed prints. It’s a subtle effect and a nice touch.
Polamatic is $0.99 in the App Store with in-app purchases.
App Store Link: Polamatic™ – Dana Shakiba
Instant: The Polaroid Instant Camera
Instant re-creates a pretty authentic Polaroid shooting experience on iPhone. Its tiny viewfinder is almost like shooting with the original SX-70 cameras. It has a broad range of film effects, including many styles of Polaroid stock recreations. It even has some damaged and expired film stocks. Instant lets you add roller bar streaks to your image. It can also add some great looking wear to the photo, including fingerprints, dirt, and frame texture. Instant is a far cry from the point-and-shoot simplicity of Polarize and ShakeIt Photo.
Instant: The Polaroid Instant Camera is $1.99 in the App Store.
App Store Link: Instant: The Polaroid Instant Camera – ThinkTime Creations LLC
Got Camera+? There’s a pretty decent fauxlaroid hidden within this app. It doesn’t have a one-click instant film effect per se. If you use any one of its retro analog effects along with the Instant border that’s part of the standard gear, you can create some interesting if not entirely authentic fake Polaroid-style photos.
Camera+ is $2.99 in the App Store.
App Store Link: Camera+ – tap tap tap
If you’re lucky enough to have the original CameraBag for iPhone before it was deleted, you have one of the better fake Polaroid affects available for iOS. The SX-70 style frame looks authentic. The app lets you cycle through some good-looking, washed out Polaroid effects. Somehow, this did not translate to the update CameraBag 2. In the update, effects look a little too saturated and much of the time the colors look off to me. The frame has been changed from the classic SX-70 print to a ugly, elongated, instant… thing. The original CameraBag, though, gets it right. It may not be one tap – you might want to cycle through a few iterations – but it’s one-tap easy to get a classic, retro faux-Polaroid look with CameraBag.
Did I miss any? Share your favorite fake-Polaroid apps in the comments below!