Well, due to popular demand, I’m posting a little bit of info about how to make a fake Holga photo. I’m not really an expert, having not even used a real Holga before, but it’s fun to play with the technique. I’m sure with a few tips, people will be making more convincing fake Holga pictures than me in no time. 🙂
First of all, go out and take some pictures. You’ll want to use a fairly wide angle lens. I made the mistake of using a 50mm lens at first, because I thought it was close to the 60mm lens that the Holga uses. I forgot that the Holga’s medium format imaging area captures a wider field of view than the 35mm sensor on my camera, so really, a Holga’s 60mm is more like a 28mm lens on my 5D. So, if you have a lens around 20-24mm, use that. Set your aperture to about f4 or f5.6. The Holga lens is fixed at f8, but because of the bigger imaging area, the depth of field will be less (I think), so compensate with a wider aperture.
The whole idea of Lomography is to be spontaneous and fun. No need to spend a lot of time meticulously composing and focusing and all that. Remember that the Holga’s viewfinder is horribly inaccurate, and the lens is fixed-focus, so even if you framed your photo very carefully, you probably wouldn’t get a result that looks much like what you expected. Experiment with shooting from the hip, or just pointing and randomly snapping.
The Holga takes square pictures on 120 roll film, so crop your pictures to be square. Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it (be spontaneous), but try to get as much of the image in as possible to preserve as much of the field of view as possible.
What comes next is really up to you. I use a variety of Photoshop filters, including AlienSkin’s Exposure to simulate cross processing and different film stocks. You may have your own method for doing this, including playing with levels and curves and selective color adjustments. There are a few actions on the Adobe website that simulate cross processing too. There are lots of different ways to make your image black and white too, although picking ones that produce low contrast and faded images seem to be consistent with the Lomography theme.
When you get the colors (or lack thereof) that you like, the next step is to uglify your photo. This is the part I find the most uncomfortable, because I’m so attached to my sharply focused details. But, if we want to be convincing we have to do a few things. First of all, run the Photoshop Lens Blur filter. Blur things just a bit so that you can still see what’s in the picture, but it looks unsharp. This will simulate the stellar optics of the Holga plastic lens. Finally, add some vignetting by darkening the corners. This simulates the light falloff at the edges of the Holga’s imaging circle. I use the free PTLens plugin to do this. PTLens is a must have for digital photographers anyway, because it corrects lens distortion as well. In this case, I click the checkbox to correct vignetting, and adjust the sliders until I get the effect I want. The PTLens vignette effect is more uniform than a real Holga, so you may want to burn the corners a bit more to simulate it more convincingly.
That’s it! I’m far from being a pro at this, but it’s a fun new toy that I’ve been enjoying. I hope that other people can take it further and enjoy exploring it too. 🙂