Expert maternity, boudoir & dog photographer in NYC

How to get the Instagram effect in Photoshop

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 |

How to get the Instagram effect in Photoshop

How to use Photoshop to create a warm, old-fashioned look with the rounded corner frame similar to the Polaroid instant film look

I started by uploading this photo from my dog photography portfolio in black and white to my iPhone:
photo of 14-year-old Miniature Pinscher in black and white
14 year old Miniature Pinscher

Using the Instagram app, this was the end result:
Instagram photo of 14-year-old Miniature Pinscher
14 year old Miniature Pinscher in Instagram photo

Here’s the photo of a pit bull that I’m starting with:
studio portrait of pit bull
Studio portrait of a pit bull

And here’s the final result:
studio portrait of pit bull with Photoshop Instagram Earlybird effect
Studio portrait of a pit bull with Photoshop Instagram effect

To get the coloring, I added one curve layer that looks like this:
Photoshop curve layer to get Instagram Earlybird effect
Photoshop curve layer to get Instagram Earlybird effect

Next, I added a curve layer to darken the corners:
Photoshop curve layer to darken corners for Instagram Earlybird effect
Photoshop curve layer to darken corners for Instagram Earlybird effect

And then I added a mask so just the corners appear darkened:
Photoshop curve layer mask to show darkened corners for Instagram Earlybird effect

Create a layer below the image layer and fill it with color #e4d9c4. This is your frame color.

To create the rounded corner, Polaroid instant film look, use the “U” tool, or Rounded Rectangle set at 20 px for an image that is about 400 pixels wide at 72 dpi. Put a mask on the main image and drag the the rounded rectangle from the upper left corner. You may have to go through a selection inversion to get the right masking effect to show the frame color below.

And here they are, side by side, not an exact match, but pretty close:
How to get the Instagram effect in Photoshop: side by side comparison of Instagram Earlybird effect
Side by side comparison of Photoshop and real Instagram Earlybird effect