Accidents such as over-saturated colors, lens artifacts, and exposure defects are just some of the wierd and wonderful effects acheived using a Lomo camera.
“In 1991 a group of Viennese students discovered the Lomo Kompakt Automat when on holiday in Prague. This mass-produced Soviet camera was so cheap and easy to use that they shot rolls of film, ignoring the established rules of “good” photography. The resulting snaps were often odd to look at, out of focus and, due to the character of the Lomo lens, garishly coloured. But they were wonderfully fresh.”
– From the BBC 4 website
In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create an image in Photoshop that looks (a little bit) like it was taken using a Lomo camera.
1. Open the photograph that you are going to work with. We’re going to start by making a vignette.
2. Select either the Elliptical Marquee tool (), or the Lasso tool (). In the tool options bar, set the feather to 90 pixels.
3. Draw a circle around the photograph.
4. Now that you’ve made a selection, you’re going to invert it. Do this by choosing Select > Inverse or pressing Shift+Ctrl+I (Windows) or Shift+Cmd+I (Mac).
5. Add a new adjustment layer by clicking on the “New Adjustment Layer” button on the bottom of the Layers palette. Choose Levels from the pop-up menu.
6. Drag the left arrow (representing the dark pixels) towards the centre of the histogram. You will see that the selected are becomes very dark, producing a vignette. How dark you want to go is up to you, so you can try out various settings, but there should be a definite dark edge around your photograph.
That’s the vignette created.
Now you’re going to fake the effect of cross processing. Lomo pictures tend to look bright, blurred and extremely colourful. Like an old TV that’s starting to go on the blink.
7. Flatten the image by pressing Shift+Ctrl+E (Windows) or Shift+Cmd+E (Mac), or choose Layer > Merge Layers.
8. Add another adjustment layer, this time choose Curves from the pop-up menu.
9. In the Curves dialog box, add two points and create a slanted S shape, as illustrated.
10. Add a new layer (just a normal layer this time) on top of the Curves adjustment layer and fill the new layer with solid black.
11. In the Layers palette, make sure the new Black layer is selected and change the blending mode from Normal to Hue. Reduce the opacity to around 40%.
And that completes your “Lomo-like” photograph.
At this point, you could, if you want, sharpen the image using Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. Lomo photographs tend to be blurry – that’s part of their charm – so I’m just leaving my image alone at this point.