Simulate a Camera Made by Lomo in Photoshop

Rather than buying a Lomo camera, try simulating the distinct look in Photoshop. Simulating a camera made by Lomo in Photoshop is not complicated and leaves a lot of room for personal taste. Basically, the aim is to increase the contrast while decreasing the saturation.  Some other effects will also help. In the end, the look will feel very old.

Step 1: Create a Vignette

Lomo cameras characteristically vignette the images they capture. To create one, you will need to draw a circle to mimic the shape of a lens around the edges of your photo. Select your lasso tool and in the options bar, set the "Feather" to 85px. Draw the circular shape, then go to "Select", and choose "Inverse". Go to the layer window and select the icon to "Create New Adjustment Layer" and choose "Levels".  When the window pops up, drag the middle cursor to the dark area (the right) until you are satisfied with the vignette.

Step 2: Adjust the Contrast

The dramatic look that a Lomo camera creates comes from contrast. First, merge the two layers you presently have by going to "Layer" and choosing "Merge Visible".  Now, add another "New Adjustment Layer", but this time make it a "Curves" layer.  When the window appears, pull down the lower part of the line to make the darks darker, then drag up the upper part of the line to make the lights lighter.  The curve should look somewhat like an "S".  Never mind that the colors go a little out of control; we will fix that in the next step. The goal is to get some solid blacks and whites in the image.

Step 3: Desaturate the Image

Add a new layer on top of your two layers by going to "Layer", "New", and "Layer".  Grab your paint bucket tool and select the color black. Dump black all over this new layer. Go the layer window and click on the blend mode drop down to choose "Hue".  Then, adjust the opacity to your liking. Now the image should look pretty close to your goal.

Step 4: Add Finishing Touches

To finish off this look, try to add an unnatural crispness. Merge your layers once again. Go to "Image", "Mode", and choose "Lab Color".  This will not change anything on your image, but arranges the aspects of it in a particular way. If you go to the layers window and click on the "Channels" tab, you will see how Photoshop has organized your image. Click on "Lightness" but leave the others unselected. In the preview window, you can find the area you want to reference by dragging the image around. Lower the "Amount" and "Radius". 50 is a good number for both, but trust your eyes. After you hit OK, go back to "Image" and set the "Mode" to RGB color.  Now the process is complete.

It will take a skilled eye to notice that your photo was not taken by a Lomo camera. Thanks to Photoshop, deception is easily achievable.


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