Have you “Lo-Fi”’d a photo? - Digital Photography School
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Have you “Lo-Fi”’d a photo?

a Guest Post by Mary Andrade from Pam Photography.

After discovering the fast, easy and creative effects available via iphone camera apps, I have been searching for similar software to creatively modify photos I take with my DLSR and my pocket camera. I stumbled upon Lo-Fi, which was recently launched.

1_Man with Character.jpg

This reasonably priced standalone piece of software is not a plug-in and does not require knowledge of Photoshop or other photo processing software. The interface is intuitive and easy to use, and the “owner’s manual” consists of three short videos totaling seven minutes. I love this software because it mimics the retro look of old images and photos made on toy cameras. Here are some tips to get you started on creatively re-interpreting your photos:

Tip 1: Randomize

Lo-Fi has a randomize button that will pick a combination of three looks for you. I am usually surprised at how much I like the combination of effects I wouldn’t normally have picked. It is a great way to break out of your comfort zone and expand your creative range.
[Insert 2_Spots/Butterfly Photo]

2_Spots.jpg

Tip 2: Match

Identify which looks are consistent with the mood and feel of your image. For example, If it’s a gritty street scene, do you want a more contrasty and grungy look? If it’s a portrait do you want a dreamy look with a white vignette?

3_inquisitive child.jpg

Tip 3: Contradict

Choose looks that are completely opposite of the look and feel for the image. I chose a yellow film, a plastic or blurry effect, and a dirty border which was completely opposite of the crisp, sharp, clean feel of these fishing boat lights.

4_ fishing lights original.jpg

5_fishing lights lo-Fi.jpg

Process tip

I usually start from the top with the Film set of looks and work my way down. Sometimes, I find it easier to toggle off the looks underneath the one I am currently working with. This layering approach helps me visually build the end result as I go.

Lo-Fi has quickly become a verb in my vocabulary, I now find myself saying, “you should Lo-Fi that photo”.

Check out more from Mary Andrade at Pam Photography.

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  • http://celesta.smugmug.com Celesta

    Good stuff. I like to “lo-fi” in Photoshop from time to time, but it would be nice to have an application that does the job in one click…

  • http://celesta.smugmug.com Celesta
  • http://forteau.comlu.com Haron

    Hey im doing this. actually on my website and facebook page im having a “retro week” where i post images and give them a low-fi feel to them. its glad to know i am not the only one with this idea, seems like a trend!

  • http://forteau.comlu.com Haron

    Hey im doing this. actually on my website and facebook page im having a “retro week” where i post images and give them a low-fi feel to them. its glad to know i am not the only one with this idea, seems like a trend![eimg url='http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/199252_10150442368740384_827185383_17707318_2503809_n.jpg' title='199252_10150442368740384_827185383_17707318_2503809_n.jpg']

  • http://kirantarun.com/lens Kiran

    Nice tip! Thanks for sharing. This software seemed so much easier if I need a quick edit :)

  • http://www.DOEPHOTOG.com A.Barlow

    I love the lo-fi look, especially in b&w photography. The moody look and the gritty details along with the often grunge aspect just appeal to me most. The majority of my photography I guess has been lo-fi’d. Mostly in LR3 though…

  • Bastien

    I think the idea and the output are quite interesting, but the user interface is really terrible. I think the worst part is to have to hover elements that might have a functionality and wait a second to get a tooltip with the information. Also the camera layout uses a good deal of space that could be better use to display the actual picture, isn’t that the whole point? I can’t get passed the UI, otherwise i think it could be an interesting little app.

  • matty78

    i hate the effect that the iphone apps have on creative photography. Apps like the “hipstamatic” one just seem to randomly make perfectly good ones look like they were taken with a “retro” camera, or that the film has been ruined somehow. Not impressed at all!

  • http://www.photoexpressionsbychris.com Chris Thompson

    This look really nice. I’m going to have to give this a try. Who knows it may be a new photography gateway drug, like the canon’s prime lenses :).

  • A Canuck

    Yes, in response to your question. I tried it on a free trial, and then bought the software. And even better, it’s on sale (ending today – the 15th) for 30 per cent off from Alien Skin. Not that much more than an iPhone app, at the sale price. The program will save your processed file to disk and/or output to your Flickr or Facebook account, too. Now that’s what I like! I processed a few photos from a friend’s baby shower using Lo-Fi, and can’t wait to see how she liked them. Admittedly, this retro look isn’t for everyone, but I also shoot with various toy cameras (e.g., Holga, Holga 135BC, Diana F+, Zumi Digital Super 8) so I like the look. I think Lo-Fi is great!

  • http://thymindseye.com chew

    The retro look and feel of it is appealing. And it’s good to know that such a term “Lo-Fi”d exists. Never heard of it until now.

  • http://www.lightshootedit.com scott detweiler

    Here is my contribution:
    –www.lightshootedit.com/2011/03/said-spider-to-fly.html

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/froastbytephotography/ ulysses

    Used a trial version a month ago and it was so fun! Very amazing. Yet very limited.

  • http://www.bvcphoto.com B

    I really hope nobody ever tells me “you should Lo-Fi that photo”.

  • http://carolbrowne.com carolbrowne

    Yup! I just discovered it this week. Here’s one of my favourite Lo-Fi photos:

    I don’t have an iphone, so I’m happy to have this option on my desktop.

  • http://carolbrowne.com carolbrowne

    So that didn’t work. Here’s the link to my favourite Lo-Fi photo – http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolbrowne/5530965555/

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/26473210@N04/ Evelyn in Oregon

    I am so impulsive when I read about something like this application! I went right to buy it! Then I went to my files of rodeo photos.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/26473210@N04/5532516434/

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik

    Hi

    This was Lo Fi’d a bit to get a vintage feel to it

    “Bearing North North East”: http://t.co/hcyzbrV

    Regards, Erik

  • http://www.moronosphere.com/ Karl Elvis MacRae

    I was actually kind of underwhelmed with this app.

    I love the idea, but i found the interface to be clunky (the ‘camera’ idea is cute but wastes a ton a space), and I found the few built-in settings both generally unpleasing, and severely limited.

    I did buy it (the discounted price was ok), but I have the feeling I’ll lose interest in it very quickly unless they keep adding in more presets.

    It also doesn’t function as an ‘external editor’ (at least in Aperture), so I have to export files and then drag them into lo-fi, making it somewhat laborious to use.

    Things it needs:

    – toggle off ‘camera’ interface
    – ability to modify the pre-set looks, and save them
    – a lot more pre-set looks (ideally, with a way to save and share them).

    The concept is great, but the execution is lacking.

    –Karl

  • http://scene.posterous.com Farhan Shaheen

    Its just addictive. I just have been lo-fi’d.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/popat/5533026297/

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    This one was Lo Fi to create the vintage look with skates

    Regards, Erik
    Kerstenbeck Photographic Art

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Oops

    Yin Yang: http://t.co/VYZs4Wy

  • http://foodiebudgettraveler.blogspot.com Ezra

    hey i tried it! it’s awesoooooooooooomeeee! i looove it! waaaaah!
    what do you think? : http://foodiebudgettraveler.blogspot.com/2011/03/foodie-budget-traveler-was-just-in.html

  • http://www.lofiapp.com Jeff Butterworth

    Mary, thank you for the detailed article on Lo-Fi. The photos are beautiful and I’m sure the advice helped your readers get started quickly. We saw a huge number of visitors after you posted the article!

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback. We read all of it and think hard about ways to improve Lo-Fi. We have heard many people say they love the camera interface and many say they hate it. Maybe a poll is in order.

    We would love to see all of you share your Lo-Fi creations on our Facebook wall and Flickr group. Please stop by to share and see what others are doing!

    Cheers,
    Jeff Butterworth
    Queen Bee, Wingnut (makers of Lo-Fi)

  • http://www.paperscissorsandglue.blogspot.com Katrina Hunt

    LOVE my Lo-Fi…..downloaded the trial a few weeks ago and purchased it within a day!!! And they are quick with issues also. I had trouble uploading to facebook and had an email from support within a couple of hours and they stayed in touch until it was resolved.

    No it may not be for everyone…but I love to add stuff to my photos that I scrapbook. This gives me a QUICK way to do it. I do use PSE, but sometimes I just don’t have a lot of time!

  • Photoguy

    Cool program unlimited in what you can do to your photos….

  • http://www.maupinphotography.com Larry

    Try lo-mob for your smart phone. It looks very similar.

  • Heather

    Sounds like a smaller version of picnik… looks fun though

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/whalemap Mark
  • Jonattend

Some older comments

  • Jonattend

    September 7, 2011 04:53 am

    http://jonattend.tumblr.com/

  • Mark

    April 12, 2011 01:31 am

    Flatiron building, Toronto
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whalemap/5596977404/

  • Heather

    March 19, 2011 06:18 am

    Sounds like a smaller version of picnik... looks fun though

  • Larry

    March 18, 2011 07:35 am

    Try lo-mob for your smart phone. It looks very similar.

  • Photoguy

    March 18, 2011 02:45 am

    Cool program unlimited in what you can do to your photos....

  • Katrina Hunt

    March 18, 2011 02:13 am

    LOVE my Lo-Fi.....downloaded the trial a few weeks ago and purchased it within a day!!! And they are quick with issues also. I had trouble uploading to facebook and had an email from support within a couple of hours and they stayed in touch until it was resolved.

    No it may not be for everyone...but I love to add stuff to my photos that I scrapbook. This gives me a QUICK way to do it. I do use PSE, but sometimes I just don't have a lot of time!

  • Jeff Butterworth

    March 18, 2011 01:35 am

    Mary, thank you for the detailed article on Lo-Fi. The photos are beautiful and I'm sure the advice helped your readers get started quickly. We saw a huge number of visitors after you posted the article!

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback. We read all of it and think hard about ways to improve Lo-Fi. We have heard many people say they love the camera interface and many say they hate it. Maybe a poll is in order.

    We would love to see all of you share your Lo-Fi creations on our Facebook wall and Flickr group. Please stop by to share and see what others are doing!

    Cheers,
    Jeff Butterworth
    Queen Bee, Wingnut (makers of Lo-Fi)

  • Ezra

    March 17, 2011 08:27 pm

    hey i tried it! it's awesoooooooooooomeeee! i looove it! waaaaah!
    what do you think? : http://foodiebudgettraveler.blogspot.com/2011/03/foodie-budget-traveler-was-just-in.html

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    March 17, 2011 05:14 pm

    Oops

    Yin Yang: http://t.co/VYZs4Wy

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    March 17, 2011 05:13 pm

    Hi

    This one was Lo Fi to create the vintage look with skates

    Regards, Erik
    Kerstenbeck Photographic Art

  • Farhan Shaheen

    March 17, 2011 11:49 am

    Its just addictive. I just have been lo-fi'd.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/popat/5533026297/

  • Karl Elvis MacRae

    March 17, 2011 07:58 am

    I was actually kind of underwhelmed with this app.

    I love the idea, but i found the interface to be clunky (the 'camera' idea is cute but wastes a ton a space), and I found the few built-in settings both generally unpleasing, and severely limited.

    I did buy it (the discounted price was ok), but I have the feeling I'll lose interest in it very quickly unless they keep adding in more presets.

    It also doesn't function as an 'external editor' (at least in Aperture), so I have to export files and then drag them into lo-fi, making it somewhat laborious to use.

    Things it needs:

    - toggle off 'camera' interface
    - ability to modify the pre-set looks, and save them
    - a lot more pre-set looks (ideally, with a way to save and share them).

    The concept is great, but the execution is lacking.

    --Karl

  • Erik

    March 17, 2011 07:20 am

    Hi

    This was Lo Fi'd a bit to get a vintage feel to it

    "Bearing North North East": http://t.co/hcyzbrV

    Regards, Erik

  • Evelyn in Oregon

    March 17, 2011 03:34 am

    I am so impulsive when I read about something like this application! I went right to buy it! Then I went to my files of rodeo photos.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/26473210@N04/5532516434/

  • carolbrowne

    March 17, 2011 02:50 am

    So that didn't work. Here's the link to my favourite Lo-Fi photo - http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolbrowne/5530965555/

  • carolbrowne

    March 17, 2011 02:49 am

    Yup! I just discovered it this week. Here's one of my favourite Lo-Fi photos:

    I don't have an iphone, so I'm happy to have this option on my desktop.

  • B

    March 17, 2011 01:39 am

    I really hope nobody ever tells me “you should Lo-Fi that photo”.

  • ulysses

    March 16, 2011 10:18 pm

    Used a trial version a month ago and it was so fun! Very amazing. Yet very limited.

  • scott detweiler

    March 16, 2011 03:52 pm

    Here is my contribution:
    --www.lightshootedit.com/2011/03/said-spider-to-fly.html

  • chew

    March 16, 2011 02:15 pm

    The retro look and feel of it is appealing. And it's good to know that such a term "Lo-Fi''d exists. Never heard of it until now.

  • A Canuck

    March 16, 2011 12:13 pm

    Yes, in response to your question. I tried it on a free trial, and then bought the software. And even better, it's on sale (ending today - the 15th) for 30 per cent off from Alien Skin. Not that much more than an iPhone app, at the sale price. The program will save your processed file to disk and/or output to your Flickr or Facebook account, too. Now that's what I like! I processed a few photos from a friend's baby shower using Lo-Fi, and can't wait to see how she liked them. Admittedly, this retro look isn't for everyone, but I also shoot with various toy cameras (e.g., Holga, Holga 135BC, Diana F+, Zumi Digital Super 8) so I like the look. I think Lo-Fi is great!

  • Chris Thompson

    March 16, 2011 11:25 am

    This look really nice. I'm going to have to give this a try. Who knows it may be a new photography gateway drug, like the canon's prime lenses :).

  • matty78

    March 16, 2011 09:51 am

    i hate the effect that the iphone apps have on creative photography. Apps like the "hipstamatic" one just seem to randomly make perfectly good ones look like they were taken with a "retro" camera, or that the film has been ruined somehow. Not impressed at all!

  • Bastien

    March 16, 2011 09:21 am

    I think the idea and the output are quite interesting, but the user interface is really terrible. I think the worst part is to have to hover elements that might have a functionality and wait a second to get a tooltip with the information. Also the camera layout uses a good deal of space that could be better use to display the actual picture, isn't that the whole point? I can't get passed the UI, otherwise i think it could be an interesting little app.

  • A.Barlow

    March 16, 2011 08:38 am

    I love the lo-fi look, especially in b&w photography. The moody look and the gritty details along with the often grunge aspect just appeal to me most. The majority of my photography I guess has been lo-fi'd. Mostly in LR3 though...

  • Kiran

    March 16, 2011 08:22 am

    Nice tip! Thanks for sharing. This software seemed so much easier if I need a quick edit :)

  • Haron

    March 16, 2011 07:44 am

    Hey im doing this. actually on my website and facebook page im having a "retro week" where i post images and give them a low-fi feel to them. its glad to know i am not the only one with this idea, seems like a trend![eimg url='http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/199252_10150442368740384_827185383_17707318_2503809_n.jpg' title='199252_10150442368740384_827185383_17707318_2503809_n.jpg']

  • Haron

    March 16, 2011 07:43 am

    Hey im doing this. actually on my website and facebook page im having a "retro week" where i post images and give them a low-fi feel to them. its glad to know i am not the only one with this idea, seems like a trend!

  • Celesta

    March 16, 2011 07:10 am

    My "lo-fi" experiment:
    http://celesta.smugmug.com/Portfolio/Art-Prints/14611192_Ju9NB#1087422976_FJtdU

  • Celesta

    March 16, 2011 07:08 am

    Good stuff. I like to "lo-fi" in Photoshop from time to time, but it would be nice to have an application that does the job in one click...

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