10 Photoshop Lomo Actions To Funky-Cool Your Photos

by anna on October 12, 2009

in making things pretty

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I remember it like it was just yesterday. Oh yeah, it was just yesterday, wasn't it?

I remember it like it was just yesterday. Oh yeah, it was just yesterday, wasn't it?

A while back, I directed your attention 27 Photoshop Actions To Pretty-Up Your Photos. Today, I’ve put together a pack of Lomo Actions to add a new dimension to your photographs. What is Lomo? “Lomo” is short for “Lomography,” which refers to a type of analog photography that uses cameras each of which are designed to produce just one kind of lens effect, e.g. a fish-eye effect, or whatever. The name is inspired by the former state-run Russian optics manufacturer, LOMO PLC. Lomo photographs are distinguished by their distorted, kinda funky look: they use vibrant and slightly shifted colors, sometimes the edges are “vignetted” (darkened around the edges), and there is a higher contrast than in regular photography. If you have seen the movie The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, that movie uses a lot of Lomo photographic effects, particularly the fish-eye camera view and vignetting. These Photoshop Actions allow you to get a Lomo effect on a picture that you took on a regular camera.

To get an idea of the Lomo effect, I’ll apply some of these Lomo Actions to the same picture to try it out. Here’s an unmodified picture of Mini at preschool:

Here's Mini checking under the hood of the tricycle

Here's Mini checking under the hood of the tricycle

If we apply the Hazy Memory Effect from the ABDPBT Lomo Action Set, we get this:

I remember it like it was just yesterday. Oh yeah, it was just yesterday, wasn't it?

Here's the same photo after applying the Hazy Memory Action

For even more drama, you can use the Vague Recollection Action, which will darken the edges more dramatically:

Now it seems like maybe this picture was taken a long time ago, instead of just last week.

Now it seems like maybe this picture was taken a long time ago, instead of just last week.

The difference between these variations of Lomo is subtle, but by using a different color mode and playing around with the opacity of layers, the second one (Vague Recollection) has a slightly more vintage feel to it.

You can preview all of the different Lomo effects in this Action Pack side-by-side here:

That's some serious lomo right there.

That's some serious lomo right there.

To review, a Photoshop Action is just a pre-recorded task (like a macro in a word processing program) that you can load onto your copy of Photoshop and use again and again. You can tell a file is a Photoshop Action by the .atn file extension, and all you have to do to install it is to drag the file into the Presets folder of Photoshop (Applications –>Adobe Photoshop–>Presets–>Actions on a Mac). To get these Lomo Actions, just read the descriptions below and click on the link to download the set to your computer.

Download ABDPBT Lomo Action Set

  1. Hazy Memory. The Hazy Memory Lomo Action is the first one pictured above. It darkens the edges of the photograph slightly, but the overall effect is just to make the picture look slightly darker and more mysterious. Use it when you want to convey mystery or psychological depth/turmoil. Like on a picture of your creepy step-uncle. If you have one.
  2. Happy Childhood. This Lomo action has darker edges than the Hazy Memory Lomo Action, and the middle is brighter. It takes a happy picture and makes it seem like it’s a little bit older, like you’re remembering something fondly. I’d use it on pictures of kids having, well, a happy childhood.
  3. Vague Recollection Lomo. The Vague Recollection Lomo has very slightly darkened edges and a brighter middle than the Hazy Memory Lomo. It conveys the same mystery as the Hazy Memory, but without the dark and creepy effect.
  4. 1969 Lomo. The 1969 Lomo is very similar to the Happy Childhood Lomo, but it adds a yellow tint to the picture that gives it a vintage effect. It reminds me of the opening sequence to The Wonder Years because it has that specific late-sixties feel to it. You can use it for anything you want to take back in time, but it’s particularly useful when you want to do some kind of retro layout.
  5. Rose-Colored Glasses. Where the 1969 Lomo adds yellow, Rose-Colored Glasses adds red. The effect is a subtle overall red tint to the photograph; when viewed side-to-side with other Lomo photos, this is very obvious, but when done on its own it is much more subtle. Use this when you want to match a color scheme that has red (or is contrasting with red), or if you want to make things look just rosy.
  6. Zhivago Lomo. This Lomo uses blue where the previous two used yellow and red respectively. Unlike the other two photos, the coloring effect is difficult to identify without looking at the steps contained within the Action, but the overall effect is kind of icy and wintery.
  7. The Artist Formerly Known As Lomo. This Action casts a purple haze over your photograph. This is useful if you are really into purple, or if you want to match a purple layout, or if you are Prince.
  8. Green With Envy. This Action casts a greenish-tint to your photograph, which helps you to match a green color scheme (or use it to contrast), or to convey a very subtle suggestion of envy in your photograph’s subject. Maybe for your snotty older sister who is always raining on your parade? I don’t have a sister — do they do that? Not sure.
  9. Polyvore. Polyvore is a color and contrast action without vignetting. It doesn’t have darkened borders, but it changes the color scheme of the photo to look like it’s from an earlier period.
  10. Technicolor. This is my favorite Action in the pack because it gives you the vignetting on the side with an extra bright center. It is a dramatic, overdone, Hollywood, Back-to-the-Beach way of doing a memory, and I love it.

{ 5 comments }

1 Kerry October 12, 2009 at 8:37 am

Can I use these on Photoshop Elements too? I have that, but I don’t really know how to use it. That’s one of my winter projects.

2 abdpbt October 12, 2009 at 8:40 am

Kerry, I’m not sure. I’m not sure if Actions are enabled on Photoshop Elements. I will look into it. I have a feeling not, though, because I’m guessing they cut out stuff other than really basic editing.

3 Phoebe March 22, 2010 at 5:03 am

Hey, it looks great. But the link for downloading this action set doesn’t work. Thanks.

4 anna March 22, 2010 at 6:34 am

Phoebe, it’s working on my end. Have you tried right-clicking on it?

5 Eliecia August 20, 2010 at 6:35 am

Hi.. thanks for the actions! just downloaded.. gonna try em out later! :D

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