Digital lo-fi photography - Part 1
1 Digital Lo-fi Photography Part 1: Mobile Apps
What used to be a quirky side-effect of cheap toy cameras, the so-called 'lo-fi' look has become increasingly fashionable among digital photographers in the past couple of years. Amongst other things, 'lo-fi' images are characterized by over or under exposure, distortion, intense grain and low color fidelity. Traditionally, in film cameras, these traits were caused by inexpensive plastic lenses, light leakage and color and exposure changes created by creative or inexpert film processing.
Digital is a highly creative medium, but it is very different to film. With film, you never know exactly what you're going to get until the point of development or printing. With digital, you can see straight away. When shooting digitally, we're so used to on-screen histograms and instant previews that our critical standards are higher. We're much less likely to accept minor errors in composition or focusing when shooting digitally, partly because they're much easier to spot and fix with the camera still in our hands, but also because we tend to look at digital images much more closely. There is no direct equivalent of looking at a photograph at '100%' with film, yet it is the first thing many of us do when reviewing our digital photographs. And it isn't always a good thing.
Inevitably, some photographers - even those who might have enthusiastically embraced digital imaging in the past - miss the more ethereal, unpredictable results that they remember getting from film. This is one reason why 'classic' toy cameras, of the sort produced in China and the former USSR remain fashionable today, and updated versions can still be found for sale new. Of course, while satisfyingly authentic, film lacks the addictive instant feedback that digital can provide.
The cameras built into mobile phones are responsible for a huge amount of the photographs posted every day to social networking and photo-sharing sites like Flickr, Facebook and Google's Picassa. The Apple iPhone (the latest iteration of which is currently the most popular camera on Flickr) was the catalyst for an explosion in inexpensive photo-effects applications, or 'apps' which has powered the current craze in lo-fi photography.
Applications such as Instagram and Hipstamatic (both heavily steeped in the lo-fi aesthetic) allow you to create compelling images that previously would have required both a digital camera and a computer to create and share. Almost all of the most popular photo sharing apps have some kind of 'lo-fi' or toy camera filter available, but for the purposes of this article we have chosen to focus on some of the most representative apps in the 'lo-fi' genre for Apple's iOS. The list of apps covered in this article are as follows:
- 100 Cameras in 1
- Plastic Bullet
- PhotoForge 2
|In this image I chose the 'Hefe' filter to emphasize the green color of the sail cover. I also applied a tilt-shift blur to the bottom of the image to push the eye upwards.|
Instagram is a free application currently only available for the Apple iPhone (development for Android is currently underway), which is designed to allow you to quickly apply filter effects to your images and post them to a photostream, where contacts can view and comment upon them. What makes Instagram different to more convent ional image-sharing applications is that it offers a wide range of 'off the peg' grainy, lo-fi filters, intended to be applied before your images are uploaded.
As well as a range of 'nostalgic' filters, Instagram also includes a simulated tilt-shift effect that can be adjusted to add an artificially decrease depth of field to make images look like miniatures or just add emphasis to your subject.
|You can edit photos from your library as well as take a new photo with in the Instagram app.||One of the key features of instagram is it's photo-sharing network.|
Images created with Instagram are saved as 612 by 612 px which are posted online, and saved to your phone. Following a major update Instgram now allows you to save full-sized originals alongside the adjusted versions.
Platform: Android & iOS
|For this image I chose the 'Sophia' film to add saturation and vignette which brings focus to the subject. The border however was just chosen at random.|
Much like 100 Cameras in 1, Pixlr-o-matic is a simple application that offers a library of filters and borders that can be applied to your images. It's not possible to stack or adjust filters, you just have to take them as they are, fortunately there are quite a few to choose from.
The 26 available filters range from B&W to psychedelic. In addition to 'film' filters the app also offers lighting effects that emulate bokeh, light leaks and streaks that can be superimposed over the image. Overall, it's a very straightforward and easy to use app. And with separate film and lighting filters it offers 806 possible combinations not including border options.
|The film roll menu allows you to pick from the included filters.||It is also possible to add borders and lighting effects.|
Once you have finished editing your image it can then be saved to your phone's camera library at full resolution or shared on Facebook or on Pixlr's own photo sharing site: imm.io.
|This image has had one of Camera+'s retro filters 'Tailfins' applied, as well as the 'Film' border added. The photo was cropped from portrait to landscape using the Camera+ crop feature as well.|
Camera+ is a full featured image capture and editing app and one of the most popular photography apps in Apple's app store (an average of 4/5 stars, over 16,000 ratings). Whether or not you use the app to take photos or just import photos from your phone's library, the 27 effect filters and 9 styled borders provide plenty of room for lo-fi creativity.
The effects have names like 'Lomographic', 'Hipster', and 'Ansel', and for the most part, they produce a look that matches the name. And while there are not a ton of borders, the few lo-fi styled options are well done. In addition to the filters and borders, Camera+ offers 13 image enhancement effects called 'scenes', with options like 'Food', 'Portrait', and 'Cloudy'.
With a little experimentation applying scenes, effects, and borders, it is possible to take what might have started as a rather flat image and producing something that pops. And with slider control as mentioned above, there is an element of flexibility in Camera+ that Instagram and Hipstamatic do not offer. Like many of the apps covered in this article, Camera+ enables the user to share the finished photo directly to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and text message (SMS) straight from the app.
100 Cameras in 1 ($1.99)
Unlike Hipstamatic, 100 Cameras in 1 doesn't attempt to recreate the entire experience of shooting with a toy camera. This app is all about filters.
The majority of the filters involve some kind of pattern overlay which is not exactly in the vein of lo-fi photography but can still create an interesting image. Not every filter lends itself well to every photo but thankfully each group of filters is divided by usage: 'landscape', 'people', 'all', 'world' and 'the beyond'. Like most of these simple one-click filter apps you will spend most of your time trying out all of the filters before arriving at the one that works best.
You have the option of either taking a new picture from the app or adding filters to a previous image in your catalog.
|Filters are divided into somewhat vague categories, but fortunately the app includes a thumbnail next to each.||Once you have choosen a filter the intensity can be adjusted. The image can then be saved to your phone or shared.|
100 Cameras in 1 supports sharing on: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Smugmug and Dropbox. You can also opt to have the image directly exported into Instagram to further edit and share. Images can be saved at a maximum resolution of 1936 x 1936, however processing times are longer when working with higher resolutions.
Dec 6, 2014
Dec 5, 2014
Dec 5, 2014
Dec 2, 2014
|Moon 99% D55 C14 St-Zénon 20170806 DP by MarioSS|
from Best Picture of the Week
|Reeds on lake by kkardster|
from Abstracts in Nature
|Florence & the Machine by Dutch Newchurch|
from Second chances..
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.