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Kerri’s Post-Processing Tips: Creating a Lomo Effect in Photoshop

Photo by Marie Fisen
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!

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