How to Add the Lomo Effect to Your Photos in Adobe Lightroom

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The Lomography effect for photos is a popular effect that people like to put on their images. When some people can be distracted in as little as three seconds, editing your images well can ensure that people spend more time on them. It’s a relatively easy effect to replicate in Adobe Lightroom. These fun, vintage-style effects are particularly compatible with these programs. What makes this effect stand out is the vintage look, as if the image was taken with an old-fashioned toy camera.

If you want to create one of these effects in Lightroom, this tutorial is going to show you how to do it. It doesn’t take any real technical experience to manage, so you shouldn’t have many problems getting through it in a matter of minutes.

The Issue of the Preset

If you are lazy and you aren’t interested in tweaking your own lomo, you may decide that you wish to download a preset. You will find plenty of presets online to use. All you have to do is download them and the settings will automatically be attached to your specific image.

But this tutorial is going to assume that you wish to create something from scratch. This tutorial will also operate using an image of your choice. It doesn’t matter what type of image you use, although one with bright and bold colors tends to work better.

Step 1 – The Basic Section

To begin with, you need to navigate to the ‘Basic’ section of Lightroom in the develop module. The following image demonstrates a set of sample settings that can get the effect you are looking for in some images. But keep in mind that you need to use your eyes to get the right results.




In this case, you are increasing the exposure slightly, while decreasing the contrast. There are also some minor changes made to the whites and blacks. If you want to increase the intensity, you may like to increase the ‘Clarity’ slider. You should also decrease the vibrancy and saturation to take away some of the color.

Step 2 – Playing with the Tone Curve

The next step is to play around with the tone curve. In the case of this tone curve, the Medium Contrast setting has been used. You can select this by going to the dropdown menu. It’s always worth playing around with some of the options just to see what sort of effects you can get.


Step 3 – Changing the Colors

At this point, you are going to make some slight changes to the hue. Navigate to the ‘HSL’ section and you’ll find the selection there. You can change these as you please, but for this tutorial only, the purple and magenta sliders have been moved. You’ll find that you don’t have to make any real changes to this section. These sliders are simply about making sure that all the little details come out to make them as realistic as possible.


The next part of this section is about adding the split toning effect. You’ll find this below the HSL window. Change the highlights and alter the hue and saturation. As you can see in the image below, both the hue and saturation has a value of 50. This will provide the golden tone that’s characteristic of this effect.

Make sure you change the shadows as well. Increasing the hue significantly and moving the saturation to 50 can give you a lavender lomo look. This tutorial has altered the balance slightly to further enhance the effect.


Step 4 – Add the Vignette

The final step in this tutorial is to add a vignette effect, along with some grain. The strength of both of these effects will vary depending on the photo in question. This is another reason why you shouldn’t rely on presets in order to get the effect you want.

For the vignette, the amount has been changed to -50, with the other settings left as they are. This will give you a dark vignette, but not one that’s too dark.

To add some grain, you can alter this as much as you like based on the effect you want to create. This is entirely down to personal preference and there are no right and wrong answers.



These steps will help you to create a lomo effect. But you have to keep in mind that the settings outlined in this tutorial are only an example of the settings you may have. You should spend some time manipulating your images until you get the exact effect you are looking for.

What is your favorite Lightroom effect?



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