Instagram-Effect in Photoshop

Instagram is getting more and more popular these days amid increasing smartphones and android phone users. That’s why it’s no surprise hundreds of images are uploaded everyday via Instagram application. So sad though for non-android or smartphone users that they cannot have the cool application. Well, I don’t have it either, but that’s not a problem anymore, as long as you have your PC and a Photoshop installed. So, for you all that have no Instagram like me, here is an easy tutorial to make your photo with effects like an Instagram. This is also known as Lomo (short for Lomograph) effect.

01Bring in your photo in Photoshop. With your selected photo now on the window, a corresponding layer of it is also created as a result as seen in your layers palette (named ‘Background’).


The photo above is credited to Theresa Hardy (via Vera Machado) and can be seen here.

02First thing that we will do is to make the photo with higher contrast. Click the Adjustment Layer button below your layers palette and adjust the slider in the Levels dialog box, with values best for your photo. I’ve used the following settings below:


03If you notice, Instagram-applied photos have the following features: high contrast colors, dreamy or blurry parts, color channels more pronounced individually, and focus is clear relative to the background, among others. Next thing that we will do here is to adjust each of the RGB color channels. To do so, click the Adjustment Layer icon again, but this time, choose the Curve… With the Curve dialog in view, apply the following settings:





04Now, go back to your background layer and make a duplicate out of it. Click the Adjustment Layer and this time choose Gradient… Set the colors to black-and-transparent. Black-and-white is okay also as long as you lower the opacity. What we’re doing here actually is rendering a vignette to the photo with the black color at the bottom.


05Apply Lens Blur (Filter>Blur>Lens Blur…) with the following settings:


06To reveal the focus of the subject (e.g., the dogs), we will apply Layer Mask by clicking the icon of it below the layers palette. Make the opacity at a low level (about 25-30%) so that you have room for adjustment and you can choose the right opacity for your picture. To do it, pick a large, soft brush and click to the center of the photo. Repeat painting till the desired effect is met. By the way, don’t forget to set your FG color to black to apply layer mask.


07Set blend mode to Screen (or Soft Light/Overlay), opacity to 50%.


FinalResultLet’s take a look at our before and after images shown below to compare the original to that of the edited one. Well, I hope you enjoyed it. Try it yourself!


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