A Lomography Guide
The term ‘Analogue Photography’ refers to photography using an analogue camera and film. A roll of film is loaded into the camera and the magic begins once you start clicking: light interacts with the chemicals in the film and an image is recorded. The pictures collected in your film roll come to life when the film is processed in a photo lab.
When it comes to choosing a film camera, it’s important to remember that different cameras shoot different kinds of film. Some cameras use 35mm film, some require 110 format film, some shoot 120 (aka ‘medium-format’) film and some use Instant film. The most common among these choices is 35mm film, which can be processed in your local photo lab, drugstore or supermarket. 35mm film comes in canisters and is characterized by its sprocket holes – little perforations which run along the edge of the film strip. 120 film, on the other hand, is larger and delivers square photos; this film doesn’t have sprocket holes. 110 format film is used with pocket cameras and produces small photos. Lastly, Instant photos do not require photo lab processing; they magically develop within a few seconds!
Pop-art icon Andy Warhol was once quoted as saying, “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting,” and it perfectly applies to analogue photography. There is no LCD screen to check your photos and you’ll only see what you have captured after the film roll has been processed, scanned and printed. Ask any analogue photography devotee and they’ll tell you that the wait is part of the thrill!
Once you get into analogue photography, you’re sure to find it creatively fulfilling. Modern-day apps and software have tried to emulate the effects that you get with film photos, but nothing beats the original; it’s more rewarding when you create it yourself rather than with a filter. Of course, the results may vary (depending on the lighting conditions, the film and camera used and the mood of your photo lab operator, etc.) but overall the analogue look is unmistakable. Colors are richer, the saturation is more dramatic (or ‘wild’ if you wish), and the film grain adds soul and character to your images, they seem to evoke nostalgic and dream-like memories. Experimentation and the thrill of the unknown drive us in our love for analogue.
Light leaks, blank shots and happy accidents – these are normal with your first few rolls. But don’t give up! It takes some practice but you’ll get the hang of it. Our tip? Make sure that you read the instructions. Sometimes even film photography veterans forget about taking the lens cap off! Experimenting with your photos by trying out techniques can give you bizarre results, so don’t feel too bad if your photos are nothing like how you planned them to be. Want to try some tips? Check out the Lomography Tipster page for some ideas!
Most Lomographers are actually happy to find light leaks – these are white or red streaks on film created by stray light that enters a camera body - and “mistakes” that occur as they shoot – these “flaws” make your photographs even more interesting and unique! It’s also best to keep in mind that different film labs do not use the same chemicals and calibrations, so you’ll get varied results with your photos.
35mm - A 35mm camera such as the Lomo LC-A+ or Lomo LC-Wide uses all kinds of 35mm film which can be conveniently developed in your local photo lab. Both cameras are recommended for beginners, because they’re easy to use; the compact size allows you to shoot easily and get impressive results. These cameras produce photos with radiant colors and vignettes that frame your subject; plus, they’re equipped with creative settings for artistic photographs.
120 - Once you’ve mastered the 35mm format, you may want to explore the more advanced medium-format territory. You can start with the Diana F+, a classic camera that emits soft-focused, dream-like square photos. If you’re aiming for sharp shots, go for a premium 120 camera such as the Belair X 6-12.
Instant - Instant photography allows you to enjoy the tactile experience of analogue photography in a swift instant. It’s a great choice for spontaneous moments; once you click the shutter, the camera ejects the photo which develops in less than a minute. An excellent choice for shooting creative and fun instant photos is the Lomo’Instant. What sets this apart from other instant cameras is the creative flexibility that it offers: 3 shooting modes, advanced lens system, multiple exposure function and long-exposure settings. It gives you the freedom to get experimental and see the results instantly.
110 - 110 Cameras are super easy to use and they’re so small, they fit right into your pocket. There are no settings to fuss with these analogue babies; you just need to point and click the shutter.
There are various kinds of film under these different formats (with the exception of Instant Film): Color Negative, Black & White, Redscale and Slide.
Color Negative film produces natural, true-to-life colors and smooth grain. They go through standard processing using C-41 chemicals.
Black & White film, as the name suggests, delivers monochromatic photographs.
Redscale film yields warm hues, ranging from radiant reds to honey hues. You can either do the redscale technique yourself (using a Color Negative film) or get one that is ready-to-shoot from the Lomography Online Film Shop.
This handy guide is lovingly prepared for you by Lomography, a community dedicated to creative and experimental photography. We have been championing our passion for analogue photography for over 20 years!
As Lomographers we are passionate about the unpredictable beauty in film photography – the chunky film grain, light leaks, rich colors and surprising results. We know you’ll love it, too. Rest assured that we will help make your first foray into the analogue lifestyle comprehensive and fun.
It all began with a fateful encounter in the early 1990s, when a group of students in Vienna, Austria, stumbled upon the Lomo Kompakt Automat - a small, enigmatic Russian camera. Mindlessly taking shots from the hip, and sometimes looking through the viewfinder, they were astounded by the mind-blowing photos it produced - the colors were vibrant, with deep saturation and vignettes that framed the shot - it was nothing like they had seen before! Upon returning home, friends wanted their own Lomo LC-A, igniting a new style of artistic analogue photography that we now know as Lomography.
Now we are a living, kicking, breathing global community of photography fanatics who love to share, discover and experiment with a host of cameras, accessories and methods. Analogue life never stops, and neither will you!