What is Lomography?
Lomographic photography stems from the first LOMO cameras which were created in the 1980s. Lomography is characterized by vivid and often unexpected colors, along with vignetting and the occasional bout of slight blurriness. The unpredictability of LOMO cameras made them a favorite among artistic photographers, and several of the results from LOMO cameras have been exhibited at art galleries around the world. Thanks to the advent of Photoshop, it is no longer necessary to look for the right camera or for photographers to purchase multiple different cameras. Today you can achieve the lomography effect by simply using any camera and then editing the image in Photoshop. Sometimes there are even iPhone apps that achieve this look.
Special note: Photoshop Elements 8 was used in the creation of this tutorial, but all modern Photoshop programs can create this effect and will do so with virtually identical steps and wording.
Step by Step Process
1.) Upload a photo of anything into Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. The lomography technique tends to work best with photos of an artistic nature but it can be used with any photography.
2.) Click on Filter, then click on Correct Lens Distortion.
3.) In the Vignette Amount box, type a number. You can experiment with it, but for this example use -55, the click OK.
4.) Click on Enhance, then go down to Adjust Color and select Adjust Color Curves.
5.) Experiment with the four sliders. Using the sliders to create an S-curve provides the best results. Once you’re satisfied, click OK.
6.) Click on Layers and go down to New Adjustment Layer. Then select Levels and click OK.
7.) Click the Channels drop down and select Red.
8.) Fill in the first and third boxes provided. You can experiment with these numbers, but for now put 50 in the first box and 220 in the third box. Leave the middle box as it is.
9.) Next you’ll need to merge the layers, by clicking on Layers and selecting Merge Visible.
10.) Now select Enhance and go down to Unsharp Mask.
11.) Yet again, you’ll be able to experiment with the numbers that need to be populated. For this example, I selected Amount 40, Radius 40 and Threshold 0. Once you’ve entered your selections, click OK.
The image that you have now has been lomographied! The really fun part about editing photographs in the lomography style is that you’re able to experiment with colors and vignetting a lot without compromising the feel that you’re going for. All of the numbers listed above can be tweaked by several points in both directions and the end result will still adhere to the general feel of lomography.
Have you experimented with lomography before, either via a LOMO camera or Photoshop? Leave a comment discussing your results.
April A. Taylor, the guest writer for this article, is a Dark Art/Horror and Fine Art Photographer from Detroit, MI. Her award-winning work has been published and exhibited internationally in over 100 different art galleries, magazines, books, and movies.