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Photoshop tutorials Polaroid Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Author: Adri

I'm a freelance graphic designer.


This week I had to do a collage with photos for a friend of mine. It was a pretty easy job and I thought it will be a great idea to show you how to do it. You can use a single image – like in this tutorial - or you can collect more images into a single project. Take this image and prepare for an easy tutorial!

Step 1

Open the image in Photoshop. Because the picture is tilted you need to straighten it.

In order to do that you must go to Tools Palette > Eyedropper > Ruler Tool.

Click and hold down the mouse button and drag a line like you see in the picture below (the white one).

After that go to Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary.

Let Photoshop decide what’s the right angle and click Ok.

And now the image looks ok.

Take the Crop Tool and crop the image like you see below.

You could have done this without doing the above steps, just using Free Transform (Ctrl + T), but I wanted to show you another way you can straighten your images.

Step 2

Let’s work on the Polaroid effect now!

Duplicate your background image. It’s always better to have a backup copy in case you’ve done something wrong and you don’t want to keep pressing the undo button.

Take the Rectangular Marquee Tool and make a small selection anywhere in the image. You can move your selection by holding down the Space key. Copy and paste the selection. Make a new layer using the New Layer Icon in the Layer Palette. Turn the other layers invisible and take the Rectangular Marquee Tool again. Make a selection around the first one and keep in mind that you’ll going to make it look like a Polaroid photo, so make the selection look as the border of the Polaroid.

Press D key to reset the foreground and background color to black and white. Now press Ctrl + Backspace to fill the selection with white. Deselect (Ctrl + D). Drag this layer under Layer 1.

Let’s merge these last two layers together. Select Layer 1, hold down Ctrl key and click on the Layer 2 (but not on its thumbnail – this will tell Photoshop to load layer’s selection and you do not want this now). Now press Ctrl + E. You can rename the layer: double-click where it says Layer 1.

Step 3

Now you can use Free Transform to rotate the layer. If you want you can use the Warp Option to make the image a little curled.

Keep doing the last two steps until you have the result you want.

Step 4

Let’s apply a Blending Option. Double-click on one layer and go to Drop Shadow. Apply the next settings: Blend Mode: Multiply, Opacity: 47 %, Angle 148, Distance: 23 pixels, Spread: 23 pixels, Size: 8 pixels.

Right-click on the same layer and copy its layer style. Select the other layers, but not the Background layer and paste the layer style.

Step 5

Make a new layer above the Background layer and fill it with white. Reduce it’s opacity to 45%. This will make you Polaroid effect stand out. And you’re done!



Easy and useful. Good tutorial as usual Adri.


I like :)

Very nice. Good idea.

nice tips, great tutorial, thanks for this really useful post


Frankly,you should put a little more effort in it.Don't worry,you will be better next time :)

i am a beginner ilike your website very much thank you,sir

srk biplob

I am a beginner of A.P.I think this kind of knowledge sharing is very helpful like a photo shop illiterate

I've been using photoshop for about 3 years and I've been looking for the way to do this and it only took your tutorial to learn it...good job!

Great job man ! Really enough to learn.


Kay B

I just can't seem to get the hang of this. It's really difficult. I can't get past Step 2! GRRR!! I'm confused about how, where, why, and when to do Layer 1 and 2. I've tried this step about 6 times and it never works out right. I hate Photoshop, but I have to learn it.

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