Instant Camera Meets Mobile Photography


One of the awesome parts of mobile photography is that you really can emulate any popular time in the history of photography.  For example, you can do Tintype photography which was very popular in 1860’s and 1870’s. With the ThirtySix app you can emulate the idea of film through taking photos but not being able to actually see what you’ve taken until you have finished the “roll.”

Well for this article I wanted to cover a time in photography that was really popular during my old fogey time – polaroids and instant film.

  Instant photography was started by Edwin Land in 1947.  Much like the idea of mobile photography, each “Land” camera was its own darkroom.  Much like mobile photography, photographers can shoot, process, and share a photo in minutes.  Today these emulations through the app still give that vintage feel with the cross processing and even with choices of that white border that captures polaroid photographs.

Here are a few apps that emulate that style of photography.  It’s a great way of marrying the analog and digital styles of photography.

ShakeIt is one of the most downloaded and most used polaroid emulations in mobile photography.  It’s the easiest to use based on just shoot or import and watch it process.  The white bordered frames all have great and minimal textures that really add to the photos.  The processing is really rich and vivid and the app really does a great job of copying that look.

For the price of $1.99, I think it’s the best app out there still.  It’s been out for as long as I know and since mobile photography became so worldly popular.

Polamatic will cost you $0.99 and contains in-app purchases.  This app helps recreate the iconic SX-70 frame and at the same time lets you control the effects on those frames.

  You can add wear, use, and damage to the frames to make it look like you just pulled it out of a shoebox of polaroids.  You do not necessarily need to just “damage” your frames as the app can just leave it wrinkle free and immaculate, BUT again you are going for the aged look most of the time so it is nice to have these options.  You can add some “light leaks” that process through your photos also.  This is where the in-app purchases come in.

Instant is the polaroid instant camera and named simply that.  It has a tiny viewfinder so it also emulates the style of shooting with the original SX-70 cameras.  It contains a lot of the film effects that are stock styles in Polaroid recreations.  It also contains the film emulations that look like you have damaged or expired film and if you also choose gives you filters that emulate fingerprints and dirt.  It is a bit more non-user friendly as the others but the effect, the outcome, is still very good. This app will cost you $1.99.

Here are some honorable mentions that you can look at also that may not achieve the full polaroid authenticity but can still give you the feel of instant film:

Lo-Mob is a cool app that as far as user experience is similar to the ones named above.

  Again it’s not quite the same look but does pay its homage to that vintage photography style. iOS

Hipstamatic is a an app that is of course a high recommendation from me.  It does contain many vintage filters and through its OGGL counterpart, you can really be open to creating a vintage photograph even some more resembling that of instant film.  For instant the Ina’s series and the Adler series can really provide you with that feel in your photos. iOS Windows