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.