June 14, 2010


How to make a photograph Lomographic in GIMP

Lomography is most commonly recognised in old film photographs and is used aesthetically in photographs. I will show you a quick process to achieve this ‘Lomo’ effect in GIMP!

The Olgas, Kata Tjuta - Lomo Effect

The Olgas, Kata Tjuta - Lomo Effect

1. Starting

  • Choose your image and open it in GIMP
  • Now go, Colors –> Curves – This is the basis of the Lomo-Effect, these adjustments will change the colours:
  • You click on the Channel tab to change between channels
  • Do ‘S’ curves on all, except the Blue Channel:
  • Value/RGB Channel – ‘S‘ Curve, as shown:
Creating an image Lomographic - Value/RGB Channel 'S' Curve

Value/RGB Channel 'S' Curve (Click to view larger)

  • RED Channel – ‘S‘ Curve, as shown:

RED Channel - 'S' Curve

  • GREEN Channel – ‘S‘ Curve, as shown:
GREEN Channel - 'S' Curve

GREEN Channel - 'S' Curve

  • BLUE Channel – Opposite ‘S’ Curve, as shown:
BLUE Channel - Opposite Curve, as shown

BLUE Channel - Opposite Curve, as shown

2. Duplicate Layer – Gradient Map (B&W) – Overlay

  • Duplicate your layer:
  • Go, Colors –> Map –> Gradient Map (Make sure your Colours are Black and White – Default)
  • Then, set that layer to Overlay at 50% Opacity, as shown:
Duplicate Layer - Gradient Map (B&W) - Overlay

Duplicate Layer - Gradient Map (B&W) - Overlay

3. Adding a Border/Vignetting (Optional)

  • Add a New Layer: Border
  • Grab the Gradient/Blend Tool: FG Only Black. Stroke as shown:
  • Set Border Layer to 50% Opacity:
Adding a Border/Vignetting (Optional)

Adding a Border/Vignetting (Optional)

That’s It!

Before and After shot:

Before and After - Lomo Effect in GIMP

Before and After - Lomo Effect in GIMP

Here is another example:

Farmer's Union Ice Coffee - Lomo Effect

Farmer's Union Ice Coffee - Lomo Effect

I have modified this for the GIMP, so if you use Photoshop then here is the tutorial tutorial by TUTVID.com.

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!

If you’d like to use these photographs please Contact Me!

Please comment below if you have any questions and I’ll answer them ASAP!

All images on this site are copyrighted© – All Rights Reserved.

Written by Mike

Michael Scott is the publisher and photographer behind Scott Photographics! He is very passionate about his photography and enjoys sharing the best of his experiences for others to enjoy too! Contact Mike via email!
Read more from Featured, Gimp, Tutorials
23 Comments Post a comment
  1. Deepzz
    Aug 24 2012

    hiii michael,
    ur tutorials are really greate. im really satisfied on each of ur tuts.. Could you plzz add a tutorial about creating a person and backgrounds like the effect of gta video game. Im using gimp 2.8. Plz make the tutor for gimp. Hope u add very soon. Tnx. Muahhh :D

  2. Jan 4 2012

    Hi Jamey,

    Have you already tried changing the layer Mode to Overlay?

    Then, experimenting with the opacity of the layer.

    Email me or comment if you are still stuck!



  3. Jamey
    Jan 3 2012

    Dear Michael

    everytime when i try to apply the Gradient map the image chages to black and white! how do i prevent this from hapening?

  4. Feb 22 2011

    Hi Mie,

    Thanks for the feedback, it is always great to hear:)

  5. Mie
    Feb 22 2011

    Hi Michael,

    Just to say thank you so much for the brilliant tutorial!
    I was looking for the ways to recreate lomo effect for a while and yours is the best! I wish there is a macro function in GIMP and it will be even easier….

  6. Sep 12 2010

    No problem, thanks for the feedback!

  7. Sep 12 2010

    Hi Michael!

    I’m glad I found this, hope you didn’t mind I mentioned this link on my personal blog. You can also check the results of the pic after I followed your instructions.


  8. Jul 21 2010

    Hi zk,

    This has been done in GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program (read more here: https://www.gimp.org/about/) – it is similar to Photoshop, but Open Source! If you’d like to do this tutorial in Photoshop follow this link: https://www.scottphotographics.com/lomo-effect-on-photographs-in-photoshop/!

  9. zk
    Jul 21 2010

    hello! which software u have used for this all about !

  10. Jul 20 2010

    Hey Chetana,

    The idea of the Lomo-effect is to replicate the photos that the ‘Lomo Kompakt Automat’ camera produced, which had a certain colour and style (you can read more about it here: https://www.lomography.com/about)!

    Curves can be a very powerful tool when experimenting with colours, so you can always experiment with different curves. I have given a basis to achieving the ‘Lomo-Effect’, and you can build off of this idea and make really nice effects!



  11. Jul 20 2010

    Question: Does it have to be always red and green in S and blue in reverse S for the lomo effect?

  12. Jul 18 2010

    Thanks for your feedback :)

  13. Jul 18 2010

    Thank you so much for the tutorial Michael!! I’ve been wanting to learn doing this effect for a long time. I didn’t know that it is this simple.

  14. Jun 16 2010

    Thanks for the response, Michael. I do see the difference much more clearly when I don’t have to scroll up and down. I think my source image was the issue, which was also rocks and sky but it started off much too grey to begin with; my next attempt was overall a very green image and the changes there didn’t have a greatly obvious impact. I’ll have to try again with a shot that has more colours. I appreciate the response and the tutorial and I hope I can come back with a good lomo’ed shot to show off!

  15. Michael
    Jun 16 2010

    Hi Lefty,

    I have added a Before and After image at the bottom of the tutorial!

    As you can see it does saturate the colours more and adds a reddish tinge to the overall photograph, which is most dominate in photographs with red (as my does), and the overall effect/point is to create an image that mimics the aesthetics of an old film photograph taken with (specifically) the 1988 LOMO LC-A camera (more on WIKI). I’d have to have a look at your image to work out what is wrong(send a link), but it could be applying the gradient map or changing the blend mode.

    The Blend Tool is also the Gradient Tool.

    If you have any other trouble just contact me via email or comment/reply below!



  16. Jun 16 2010

    > Grab the Gradient tool. FG Only, black. Stroke as shown.

    Which tool is this, the Blend tool?

    When I am all done with my test image, it just kinda appears grey with very little colour. Maybe the concept of “Lomographic image” isn’t really clear, what is the point, more saturated colours? Its kinda hard to tell what exactly is going on, can you put the ‘before’ and ‘after w/o border’ and ‘after w/ border’ images side-by-side?

    Any why cannot I select text on your side, including my comments?

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