Bring a Vintage Feel to Your Pictures with Instant

You’re surely no newcomer to the fad of vintage photography, led most notably by the iOS app Instagram. I’m a big fan of the app and the ease with which it lets you share cool looking pictures to all of your social networks in a matter of seconds. However, the fact that it’s only available for iOS makes it kind of a bummer, as I’m sure people without any iOS devices have felt left out (don’t worry though, it’s coming to other popular devices soon).

We’ve shown you ways to navigate through your Instagram feed from your Mac before, but we haven’t shown you just how to make your photos look as cool right from your computer instead of having to go through your phone. That’s what the app that we are reviewing today, Instant, is for. Care to check it out?

Getting Started



Because Instagram is by far the most relevant app in the category, I’m sure some people might confuse Instant as being kind of related to it (even its name sort of resembles it). Make no mistake though, the only thing that this app shares with Instagram is that they are both used for manipulating photos through select filters. Instagram, however, is much more of a social network, as it has features like sharing, following, loving, and much more.

Instant is not like that at all. It can take images from your hard drive and apply any filter you’d like to them so that they look like pictures taken from a Polaroid, but that’s about it. All the sharing and uploading must be done on your side. Aside from that, there’s no relationship at all between the two apps.

Instant is currently on sale for $4.99, although the developer says that it’s only a temporary 60% discount.




The coolest thing about this app (aside from the pictures you end up with), is the interface that you use to modify your pictures. It actually looks like a classic Polaroid camera, as if you were looking at it from the front. A lens and a few buttons stand out, although they don’t really have any specific function.

Double clicking anywhere in the camera will bring up a Finder window where you can select the picture to be used, or you can just directly drag it inside the app. After you have selected your picture, it will be unveiled on the bottom of the camera, as if it were actually coming out of a real Polaroid camera. From there you can tweak your pictures, which we’ll get to next.

Handling Photos



After your picture has been unveiled, if you hover over it you’ll notice a few icons on the bottom of the frame, with which you can modify the filters (we’ll get to these later), add a caption to your picture, share it to Flickr or just simply save it.

The “text” feature is very well-implemented, as it makes you pictures look like they’ve been signed just like you might have done with an old Polaroid picture. The fonts available even resemble handwriting, and you can also change the colors, alignment and size of the fonts. Although you are probably more interested in hearing about the filters.

The Filters



Instant has an amazing variety of 28 filters, and most of them don’t disappoint. They’re divided into a few categories, which are “Polaroid Photo Mania” and “Viva La Vintage”. Both are quite similar, although the vintage ones have a lot more color effects.

The best thing about them is that all of them are sort of customizable, as after you have selected a filter you can play around with the intensity, vignette and emulsion of the filter, and even set a blur layer, all of which can make your pictures look very original and cool.

Worth It?

Playing around with this type of apps could surely be fun for a little while, but without the discovery factor that social networks add to the experience of making and sharing cool pictures of what you’re doing, I’m afraid this app could get lost in your folder after playing around with it a few times.

It’s also quite evident that this isn’t the only app of its kind available for the Mac, as the “vintage” fad has gotten massively popular. It’s not even the cheapest of the bunch, but it is way more original and easier to use than similar apps like Analog or Photo Effects.


Instant might not replace social apps that let you broadcast cool-looking pictures of what you’re seeing, like Instagram or Path, but if you don’t have access to a smartphone and instead would prefer to play around with your pictures directly from your computer, this app can help you do just that.

With the increasing popularity of vintage pictures, Instant surely isn’t the only app of its kind on the Mac App Store either, but it has proven itself to be a worthy competitor, as it differentiates itself from the rest by adding the Polaroid gimmick. What do you think?


Instant is a simple app that can make your pictures look like old school Polaroids by applying certain filters to them.