Photoshop Quick Tip: Create a Lomo Effect in 3 Simple Steps

Photoshop Quick Tip: Create a Lomo Effect in 3 Simple Steps

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 10 years then you’re probably familiar with the look of Lomography or “Lomo” style photos. These photos typically feature unique coloring, high contrast, soft focus and dark vignettes. The movement was started in the early nineties when the founders were inspired by the images produced from cheap Russian toy cameras like the Lomo LC-A.

The good news is, you don’t have to have one of these cameras to produce your own “Lomo styled” photos. With 3 simple steps in Photoshop you can create some very interesting Lomo looks.

First up, you need a good photo. Actually it doesn’t necessarily have to be good, just a photo that you like. I found this one, which I think we’ll work well for this tutorial.

Step 1 – Create a Strong Vignette

To create our vignette effect we’re going to add a gradient fill adjustment layer. We’ll need to set this adjustment layers blending mode to soft light.

Now we need to add a gradient overlay layer style to the adjustment layer using the following settings.

You should now have a nice vignette with a brighter center.

Step 2 – Add a Little Cross Processing

Cross processing a photo means that it is color film developed in a different chemical than what is intended for that particular film. For example, color 35mm film developed in chemicals intended for slide film. The result is unusual coloring.

For our purposes, we’re going to use a cross processing technique in Photoshop to produce the often bright and interesting colors of Lomography.

Lets create a new curves adjustment layer. There are no rules for these curve settings. The trick is that we want to adjust the RGB channels separately. I’ve included my settings below, but you may choose something different, especially if you are using a different photo.

Step 3 – Blur the Edges

Next we want to blur everything in the photo except for our focal point. To do this, copy the original photo layer, then choose (Filter | Blur | Lens Blur). Don’t worry about specific settings, just create enough blur with the filter. We’ll be removing some of it with a mask.

Now create new layer mask for the blurred layer. And use a large soft black brush paint in the center to reveal some of the focused layer beneath.

That’s it… These simple techniques can create some interesting and fun “Lomo” type effects. Try them on your photos and experiment to see what you can create.

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Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is a graphic designer who loves working with various media. He combines traditional art styles with a little experimentation and digital flare. Nathan's works have contained everything from ink and paint to leaves and a box of dirt. Everything is fare game when it comes to his approach to art. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas where he has been working as a designer for 10 years.


(+add yours)
  1. That looks great. I never knew what to call this effect, but now I know. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Really good tutorial I have made on similar. You have a really good photo for teaching the style of lomography!

  3. Good Thank you !!

  4. Wonderful, Nathan, thank you. I always learn such great stuff here! : )

  5. thank you for the tutorial. :) its really helpful

  6. don

    it’s awesome dude..

  7. Milan

    Thank you! really nice tuto… :)

  8. Gabriella

    For someone like me who is not a photoshop wiz, i found your steps very confusing as i could not find some sections and yes i got their in the end, but next time put better instructions as to where to find certain tools as i had to do some steps alot of times to get me head around it.

  9. Debbie

    Thanks for the very straightforward tutorial! I like the visuals on how to adjust the RGB on the curves adjustment layer.

  10. nice one there!. keep up.

  11. lexie

    Hi, I am a pretty experienced designer but tend to get stuck doing the same things over and over. So I really appreciate the tips, it reminds me of the infinite possibilities!
    Thank you!

  12. Guzuro

    What version photoshop are you using?

  13. Awesome Tutorial……really liked it. gonna try same on my pic

    Thanks for sharing

  14. yesita

    thank you…

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    nice effect…. (y)

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