It’s been a busy week in the Humble household. We had pretty dramatic storms two nights ago that included thunder, lightning, and hail…and also flooded our poor Corolla. I’m hoping the damage isn’t too bad as we were hoping to get at least something for it as a trade-in, but we’ll see. I opened the windows and am keeping my fingers crossed. As such, I thought I’d share my tried-and-true method of giving your photos a vintage-y feel by making them look like they were made with a LOMO camera.
What is LOMO? According to Wikipedia, LOMO is:
a manufacturer of the advanced optical instruments, medical equipment, consumer still and movie cameras, lenses, professional sound recorders for motion-picture production based in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Lomography is the term generally used for photographs made by LOMO cameras. These cameras are highly coveted in some photographic circles and can usually be found for sale at reasonable prices on auction sites such as Ebay. You can also buy brand new Lomography cameras at Lomography.
Fortunately, you don’t have to own a LOMO camera to get the same effect. Adobe Photoshop can aid you in your desire for LOMO-esque photographs. Lucky you!
So why would anyone want to imitate the photos created by a crappy, plastic camera from Russia? At one time, Wikipedia described it this way:
characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, ‘happy accidents,’ and alternative film processing are often considered part of the ‘Lomographic Technique.’
Processing your photographs with a LOMO technique offers an alternative to otherwise boring processing approaches.
Here is an example of the LOMO effect outlined here:
- After opening your image, crop it as you’d like and do a quick cleaning layer to remove and spots or imperfections in the image that you don’t want in the final product.
- Next, copy your cleaning layer to a new layer (select the cleaning layer then go to Layer > Duplicate Layer) and name the new layer “Vignette.”
- Now go to Filter > Distort > Lens Correction. On the right-hand side under “Vignette,” move the “Amount” slider to the left until you get a vignette that you’re happy with. In this example, I went with -75.
- To edit your colors, add a new adjustment layer for curves (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves. You can leave the name of this as Curves 1.
- In the new curves adjustment layer, you’ll want to create a slanted “S” shape. For my example, I have three points. The bottom one, the output is 32 and the input is 42. For the middle point, the output is 119 and the input is 99. For the top point, the output is 234 and the input is 192.
- You’ll now want to flatten the layers of the image before going on to the next step. Do this by going to Layer > Flatten Image or by hitting Shift+Command+E (or Shift+Control+E on Windows).
- To sharpen the photo and add a little more contrast, change the color mode to Lab color by going to Image > Mode > Lab Color.
- Now go to your Channels window and select the “Lightness” channel, then on the menu, go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.
- You can experiment with this as well, but in my example, I set the amount to 50%, the radius to 50% and leave the threshold at 0.
- Now change the image mode to RGB by going to Image > Mode > RGB Color.
- Your image should now be in color and you are done!
If you’d like to download this tutorial and print it for later use, I’ve made a convenient PDF with screenshots from Adobe Photoshop for you here. Enjoy!