Lomo tutorial using GIMP

Lomo photography has gained grounds and is today a much used effect also on regular photos. The effect is all about mimic the photos which the old cameras from LOMO generated. Since it also is a very simple effect to mimic with the use of an image manipulation application I will show you how to do this using GIMP. GIMP is a free alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop which can be a bit hard to learn since the interface is very unique. But once learned, you can do very much with it.

The features which distinguish a lomo photo is the colors which are a bit unbalanced with a blue tint and also quite heavy vignetting.

We will use the following photo:

http://www.flickr.com/xenovoyance/

And this is what the image will look like when we have applied the lomo effect.

Let’s begin! Boot up GIMP and follow the work flow below.

  1. Open image
  2. From the menu in GIMP choose Color > Curves and create an ‘S’ shape for the curve to modify the colored tint.

    Alternative: To get even a more complete lomo effect, use an ‘S’ curve for all colors except blue. But as a start, go for the ‘S’ curve on all colors!

    Alternative: Before going for the curves you can also increase contrast and brightness a tiny bit to bring even more colors to the photo. You can find both contrast and hue in the top menu,  Colors > Brightness-Contrast.

  3. Time to give the image a strong vignette. This is done by adding a radial gradient to the image. First select the entire photo by selecting Select > All (CTRL + A)
  4. Shrink the selection a bit, Select > Shrink
  5. Feather the selection to get a soft selection and not get sharp corners, Select > Feather
  6. No invert your selection to select the outer part of the selection instead of the inner part, Select > Invert
  7. Create a new layer
  8. Choose the Gradient tool, set shape to ‘Radial’, colors white to black. Starting from the center of the image, create a gradient down to the bottom of the image and you should end up with something like this
  9. Now with the new layer selected choose Overlay as layer style for the layer to make it darken the edges instead of overflowing them.
  10. End by flatten all layers of the image and you are done!

Lomo photo effect using GIMP, quick and easy!