A Lomo-style photograph holds a charm all of its own. Somehow, everything is amplified, making ordinary objects stand out, enhancing details that would normally go unnoticed. They are characterized by ever-changing variables such as the mysterious vignettes that frame the shot, light leaks, lo-fi grain, beautiful blurs, the magical balance of contrast and saturation … just to name a few. So, with that said, I think we can agree that Lomo photography is something special and a lot of fun to work with.
However, for those of us who don’t own a “lomo” camera (although you can for a good price at http://usa.shop.lomography.com/cameras, my favorite is the La Sardina camera and flash in Cubic), I want to share how I add the effect to my photographs in Photoshop. I’ll be working with a picture I took from a plane on my way to leaving Las Angeles in December. I really like the picture, but it definitely needs a little something more. Let’s see what we can do with this!
First, we need to boost the color saturation and contrast.
File – Open the picture you want
- Image – Adjustments – Brightness/Contrast.
- Increase the contrast by 100 (my preference, play with it and see what works best for you).
- Image –Adjustments – Hue/Saturation.
- Increase saturation by 100 (again, my preference).
- Copy background, select layer overlay. This will make a huge difference, giving the color and dark lines in the photograph a boost.
Now, to get some lighter flashes in the picture, kind of like light leaks.
- Select your base layer (the one with the picture on it).
- Layer – New layer
- Change your fill tool to Gradient
- Change your Gradient Type to Spherical
- Change your Gradient Shading Style to “foreground to transparent” (I believe this is the default).
- Change your primary color to white.
- With the fill tool selected, click in the middle of the picture, and drag the line out to the farthest edge of your picture (if it’s a portrait, use top or bottom, if landscape, use left or right).
- Change the blend mode of this layer to Overlay.
- Change the Opacity of this layer to 80% (or whatever you see fit).
Finally, as I look at the photograph, I think that it needs something a little more….vignette, which is pretty easy. All you have to do is: Filter – Distortion – Lens Correction – Vignette -75, midpoint +75 (again, my preferences, play with it a bit). If you max out your vignette and you would like it to be a little more intense, just repeat the process below until you’re happy with it.
That’s it! Now I have an awesome sky-high lomo-style shot of Los Angeles. I know that everyone has their own process, especially on Photoshop, and this is mine. I have seen some other ways to do it, but my way seemed more simple, so I wanted to share!