Polaroid Lab: From Digital Pictures To Analog Polaroids


While most technology is racing towards a digital future, the Polaroid Lab by Polaroid Originals is rooted in an analog past. It’s somewhat of a modern, mobile darkroom that turns your digital photos into classic Polaroid prints. The Polaroid Lab brings back the nostalgia of not just taking pictures, but making them.

This post is sponsored by Best Buy & Polaroid Originals. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of the sponsor.


The Polaroid Lab is light (1.44 lbs), a little bulky (4.6 x 5.9 inches), and oddly designed. A cradle shaped like an inverted pyramid sits on top of a base that resembles the bottom of an old school Polaroid instant camera. There’s even a film door to pull down and load film. Sitting inside the cradle is a 3-lens system that projects and exposes the photo on your phone onto film.

The power button is on the right side of the base and in the center is a Polaroid logo. The shutter button is big, red and located on the base of the lab. Next to the shutter button are 8 dots that indicate how many photos are left in your film pack.

The Polaroid Lab also packs a 1100mAh, high performance lithium-ion battery that lasts several hours with heavy usage and several weeks with infrequent use. A battery indicator and micro-USB charging port are located on the back of the base.


Polaroid Lab App

When you press the power button on the Polaroid Lab the cradle rises from the base. Making a Polaroid is done using the Polaroid Labs app (iOS & Android). The app has options to make one Polaroid or a collage using up to 9 Polaroids. You can select film type (Originals i-Type or 600 film), and adjust exposure or saturation. Unfortunately, you can’t see how changing these settings will make your photos look before printing.

When done fiddling with these settings, just sit your phone (without a case) on top of the cradle. When correctly placed, the Polaroid logo on the base flashes three times then remains on. Now you’re ready to press the big red button and make a Polaroid. To turn the Polaroid Lab off, simply push the cradle back into the base.

You still have to wait 15 minutes for the Polaroid to develop, but I didn’t mind. The wait succeeded in bringing back feelings of anxiously anticipating the final result of a photo.


The Polaroid Lab app has a special AR feature to add a 10-second video to your Polaroid. You have to use the app to see the video, but this feature can add more sentimental value to your Polaroids. Seeing a photo is one thing, but watching a video of that memory within the photo itself adds a clever futuristic touch this nostalgic format.

The app doesn’t always recognize the videos on the first try, but when it works the experience is impressive.


Printing Photos

The Polaroid Lab isn’t a scanner. No two Polaroids look alike. They don’t even look like the original photos. The Polaroids have more contrast, darker tones and look softer than their digitally sharpened counterparts. The aesthetic works really well for portraits, macro or street photography. It’s not the best aesthetic for nature or landscape photos unless they are close cropped and detailed.

Other factors like your screen brightness and color settings can also influence the look of your photo. For me, these factors feed into the nostalgic surprise at seeing the final results.


Polaroid Lab

I have thousands of photos and post hundreds of them on Instagram. However, it’s been a long time since I’ve printed a photo. The Polaroid Lab reminded me of how many photos we take and rarely see again.

As old school as film may be, there’s something to be said about immediately seeing a photo of my youngest niece, Sa’ryi, on my night stand. I don’t have to scroll through thousands of photos to find my favorite photo of her. It’s physically nearby, patiently waiting for me to return to it whenever I look up.

The Polaroid Lab retails for $129.99. There are cheaper instant cameras, but they don’t make Polaroids out of memories you’ve already captured. The Polaroid Lab complements what you already use to take pictures, bringing them out of the black void of your phone or cloud storage and into your world.

This post is sponsored by Best Buy & Polaroid Originals. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of the sponsor.

Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on SheGeeks.net.