An Introduction to Lomography

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May 13, 2011

Lomography and lomography-styled photography has been growing in popularity in the past year or two, largely spurred by smartphone apps that make it possible for virtually anyone to mimic the style.

Lomography is characterized by its inherent low-fi quality. Lomographic images often have strange light effects (caused by extra light leaking into the camera body and exposing the film in the original Lomo cameras), ultra-satured colors, blurring, vignetting, and other imperfections generally avoided in traditional photography.

The other main feature of real lomography is the spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment style of images produced.

These "imperfections" are what give lomography its unique look and style. As already mentioned, apps like Hipstamatic for the iPhone and Vignette for Android make it easy to achieve these effects without special equipment. For purists, the original cameras are less expensive than a traditional SLR, but getting film developed can be a challenge (if you don't do it yourself) now that digital is the norm.

A Brief History of Lomography

The original lomography cameras were created by Russian state-owned LOMO (or Leningrad Optical & Mechanical Union) in St. Petersburg. They produced the first Russian camera in 1930. The LOMO LC-A Compact Automat camera was first produced in 1984, and became the centerpiece of the company's activities.

Another company often considered to have a similar aesthetic is Holga, which is a common 120mm toy camera made in China. It produces the same kind of low-fidelity images that Lomo cameras are famous for, and sometimes the term lomo is used interchangeably to refer to either type of camera.

The term Lomography is a trademark of Lomographische AG, an Austrian company that caters to the global lomographic photography community. They are the exclusive distributors of the Lomo LC-A cameras outside of the Soviet Union. They also sell various accessories related to lomography, and publish a magazine about the subject.

Tutorials and Actions

If you don't have a Lomo camera or one of the smartphone apps, there are easy Photoshop tutorials you can follow to create the same effects, as well as a handful of actions for even faster lomo processing.

Tutorial: How to Make Digital Photos Look Like Lomo Photography

This is a complex and in-depth tutorial from Digital Photography School, though it's also easy to follow. The results are stunning.

Tutorial: Lomography

This simple tutorial shows how to create stunning lomography-style images in six easy steps.

Tutorial: Cross-Processed Lomo Effect - Photoshop Tutorial

This tutorial from Abduzeedo breaks down the lomography effect process in eight easy steps.

Tutorial: Lomography

Photoshop Box offers this great lomography effect tutorial with eight steps, resulting in a slightly washed-out final image.

Tutorial: Photoshop Lomo: A Beginner's Guide

This tutorial from .net Magazine is very in-depth and gives a complete eighteen-step process for creating beautiful lomo effects.

Tutorial: Photoshop Tutorial: Getting that Great X-PRO Lomo Look

TutorialBlog offers this great lomo tutorial that includes plenty of keyboard shortcuts.

Action: 10 Photoshop Lomo Actions to Funky-Cool Your Photos

This set of ten Photoshop actions from ABDPBT Tech creates a variety of lomography-style effects quickly and easily. Actions are great for batch-processing a bunch of photos.

Action: Lomography Photoshop Action

This Photoshop action creates a number of adjustment layers that you can then tweak for each individual photo to get the best results.

Action: Free Stuff: Lomography Photoshop Action

This action, from The Blue Fishbowl, creates a simple lomo effect for CS2.

Action: Free Lomography Photoshop Action Pack

This action package is from PhotographyBB, and creates a number of adjustment layers including a vignette layer, sharpness layer, and curves layer, among others.


Fake Lomography

Image Credit: Joseph Ou


Image Credit: Lukas Haider


Image Credit: Cecilia Temperli

Lomography Diana F+ 35mmBack

Image Credit: Sasha, Harmony, Alex


Image Credit: Lukas Haider


Image Credit: Lukas Haider


Image Credit: Ralf-Juergen


Image Credit: Stuart


Image Credit: Marc-Andre Martin


Image Credit: Fabio Luiz C. de Mattos

Lomography - Amsterdam

Image Credit: Vinicius Fadul

Lomography Collaboration (Malaysia & United States)

Image Credit: en. shahdi


Image Credit: Hannahgopa

FishEye 3

Image Credit: Alex Grechman

South Beach

Image Credit: Phillip Pessar

Spectra Vision!

Image Credit: Cameron Russell

Stalagtites from another Dimension

Image Credit: Cameron Russell

Palm Door

Image Credit: Cameron Russell

Lomo Dahlia

Image Credit: Tony Alter


Image Credit: Niek Beck

Sky Corner

Image Credit: Cameron Russell


Image Credit: Fadhirul Fitri Jamsari


Image Credit: Fadhirul Fitri Jamsari

Lomo Church of Christ in Three Oaks, Michigan

Image Credit: Kevin Dooley

Playing with Lomoapp

Image Credit: Thobias Vemmenby


Image Credit: Elfie McGlip


Image Credit: Elfie McGlip


Image Credit: Audrey Stanton


Image Credit: Pravin Premkumar


Image Credit: Juanma

Tchau Guara

Image Credit: Nadja Bium

MKE Lakefront

Image Credit: Jessica F.

We're Trying to Reach the Sky

Image Credit: Thanakrit Gu

Bogenschussbahn und Wikingerlager

Image Credit: Christian Walther


Image Credit: Marcos Mora


Image Credit: Alosh Bennett


Image Credit: Andy Orin


Image Credit: Elfie McGlip

Always on the Run

Image Credit: Carlos Varela

Cow Munching

Image Credit: allielovestea

Sun Lomo

Image Credit: Paul Carroll


Image Credit: BIAU Guillaume

Science Infuse

Image Credit: BIAU Guillaume


Image Credit: BIAU Guillaume


Image Credit: BIAU Guillaume

Death Valley Bottom

Image Credit: Paul Joseph


Image Credit: dimhap


Image Credit: dimhap


Image Credit: dimhap


Image Credit: Pravin Premkumar

Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.

Have your own take on the lomography movement? Or tips and tutorials you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments!

WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

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