A Guide for Newbie Shooters Who Want to Become LomoStars!


Sometimes, when browsing through all the Lomohomes, I see some Newbies who don't have any pictures uploaded yet. They complain that they do not have enough experience or money to choose a Lomo cam, sometimes even upload digital pictures. But it could be that easy to start immediately! Here's a quick guide for new people for the first steps into the world of anaolgue photography.

Choosing a camera

Most of the users here will have already many, many cams in every part of their room! But I remember how fixed I was when I started: I absolutly wanted to have a Diana.
I could not believe that also other cameras could do such great Lomo-style pictures. But even if sooner or later everybody will fall for the Diana F+ or LC-A+ , at the beginning you can also use very cheap cams. The “magic” is mostly in the film! So go to the next 2nd hand store or the next flea market, you will get really cheap stuff there. When you invest up to five or ten dollars, you already have the choice!
Before you buy the camera, take it, open the back, hold it against the sky or a light, and press the sgutter (sometimes you have to wind before). When you see the shutter opening for a mili second, the camera is still working. Some cameras need batteries, but in most cases, they’re only for the flash. You can also use “single use cams”, often they are also reuseable. And you even find underwater single use cams for a really cheap price!

Here’s a little checklist that can help you to decide for the right camera:

  • Which film do I want to use? The easiest thing is to use 35 mm Film, but you also can still get (for example) 120 films, APS and some polaroids
  • Do I need double exposures? Some cameras have a MX button, others can be used at every film position
  • Do I want an integrated flash or at least a hotshoe? (if you buy a camera with flash at the flea market please check if the batterie didn’t leak inside the camera!)
  • Do you like an integrated lightmeter? (like in the LC-A or most SLRs) Then you do not have to think about the right exposure
  • Do you want any other “special effect” like fisheye, multilenses, sprockets, …
  • What about a bulb setting? (long exposures during the night)
  • Should it be possible to focus with the camera?

For summer time, simple cameras are already great, which only have a shutter button. When taking pictures indoors, at night or bad weather conditions, a flash is necessary or at least the possibility to choose different apertures and exposure times.

What are all these numbers and settings on my camera about?

When you got a new camera, you can often get a detailed information here. And if not, that’s also good, then you can write the review and get some piggies!
From an easy single use cam to a sophisticated SLR there is a different number of settings on a camera. Mostly you find: aperture, exposure time, distance to the object (focus), picture counter. When the camera has a lightemert, you can also often set the iso. If not, a 200 iso film will be ok.
There is also the shutter button, sometimes a hotshoe, automatic release… inspect your camera (without film), try to google, try it with film… you will love it! And mostly there is also the manual somewhere in the internet.

And if it should absolutely be a Lomography camera?

Pros and cons for a selection of Lomography cameras…

  • Colorsplash
    At the beginning I thought from the pictures in the internet “wow, that’s really an ugly camera”. But luckily I got one on the photokina, and I was really enthusiastic! The camera is lightweight and easy and makes great colorful pictures. Long exposure and many different flash color (three inside, but you can change them) – you don’t need more to go out in the evening and capture fun night shoots!
  • Diana Mini
    A princess with her own charm. People who just bought it often complain that they have problems with the film transport, but after some trying you know how to take her. She’s doing great square or half pictures. Diana Mini can shoot the film at every position, so it is possible to do great endless panoramas! Here is a great review from mephisto19
  • Action Sampler (with or without Flash)
    A simple camera which is taking four pictures on one. Although the name contains “action”, the images are easy blurred when you move too fast. The normal ActionSampler is a sunshine cam. With the Action Sampler Flash you get great portraits (that do not blur because of the flash), but you must account that everybody will be half-blinded after you flash them four times! Anyway, a great cam. The effect gets a bit boring over time, so you should not always use the cam. Leave it somewhere, forget it for some weeks, and after, find and love it again!
  • Fisheye 1
    The Fisheye 1 is doing simple Fisheye shoots and is also a sunshine cam. This effect can get boring too after some time, so don’t use it too often and always try to discover it new!
  • Fisheye 2
    Like Fisheye 1, but with integrated flash and the possibility of doing double exposures (MX).
  • SuperSampler
    Four stripes, a great effect! Also a sunshine cam.
  • Oktomat
    Like the Action Sampler (without flash), but the double of pictures!
  • Pop9
    With flash, 9 times the same motive. Can be a bit boring, but you have a lot of possibilities to experiment with double exposures and masking some of the lenses.
  • And a lot more!
    Just browse through the online shop and have a look at all the sample pictures.

The cheapest camera

…is still a self-made pinhole! No matter if carton, can, or whatever — you will find a lot of DIY tutorial on the internet!


  • Expired Films
    The cheapest way to get films is to ask all your friends and friends of friends. Or directly search on flea markets. Although a film which expired 32 years ago can still be great!
  • Crossing
    Everybody who never tried cross processing will ask himself how all the other lomographers get these great colors and why they absolutly do not get them! The films will get great and different styles! There are two main procedures of developping, one is C41 for the standard negativ film, the other one is E6 for positives (slides).

E6 → C41
Develop a slide film, which is normally developped in E6, in C41, result: negatives. You will LOVE the colorful results! No matter if provia-green or velvia-pink – you have to try it!

C41 → E6
A “normal” negative film, which is made for C41, in E6, result: slides. The colors get blunt and pale, but sometimes you want even this effect! But consider: you should overexpose at least one step (better two) or push the film, if not, it’s getting too dark. And slide films are not as forgivable as negative films for the exposure!

  • Redscale
    You can buy them directly, but you also should try it at least once yourself!It is really easy, and when you are too lazy to do it again, you still can buy the Lomography or Rollei Redscale. For redscaling 35mm film, several tipster exist, for example this one, 120er is not that easy to redscale. You should try 220 film, it’s easy, just put it in the camera with the other side. But you must close the little window at the back really, really good!
  • Pushing
    Did you exposure your film one or two steps too much/less? With a sunshine cam on a cloudy day, or the wrong ISO setting of the LC-A? With “push”, you can increase the ISO the double (for example use an ISO 100 film as an ISO 400). “Push+2” would increase the ISO two times (for example: ISO 100 —> ISO 400). The other direction is “pull”.

Films are more or less good for being pushed, just try it!


  • Color gels
    You can have a lot of fun with color gels! Just hold them in front of your flash like in this tipster. You can do masks for the Diana (or every other cam) like here.

Double Exposures

  • Doing immediate double exposures
    Some cameras (like LC-A+ or Fisheye 2) have the MX button. Others can always and at every position expose the film (Diana F+ and Mini, Holgas). SLRs like the Canon EOS have a setting for double exposures. With a splitzer, you can also combinate different parts. A nice DIY splitzer tutorial.
    If your camera does not allow double exposure, try this
  • Doubles with you/myself
    Expose a film, rewind it, but not completly, and use it again. There are no borders! Use it in different cameras, redscale it for one exposure, exchange with other lomographers…

written by shoujoai on 2011-10-22 in #lifestyle #colorsplash #diana-mini #panorama #lofi #cheap #lomo #holgarama #newbie #plastic-cam #dianarama #flash #action-sampler #mx #lomography #filter #mask #money
translated by shoujoai


  1. kshen
    kshen ·

    brilliant article!

  2. dearjme
    dearjme ·

    This was published already, no?

  3. kneehigh85
    kneehigh85 ·

    @dearjme - yeah. Still good though.

  4. pomps
    pomps ·

    great article!

  5. sadiekiss
    sadiekiss ·

    Omg... Thank you sooooo much for posting this reading this really helped me understand more. Plus I've been taking beginner classes at my local Lomography store in West Hollywood where the staff is Great in gelling me if I have any Questions!! Also been trying to meet other newbies just to have adventure in the analog world-

  6. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    Just want to add, actually it's not my own trick, I know it from lomography.com/homes/ngoki : "Burn the film before process at lab, or boiled at water."

  7. shoujoai
    shoujoai ·

    @dearjme: yes, I published it one month ago already, but the article was lost - so here it is again ;)

  8. triliaeris
    triliaeris ·

    this is great! thank you for the article!

  9. pitfall
    pitfall ·

    Great article. Nice tips!

  10. dearjme
    dearjme ·

    @shoujoai, the articles get lost? But anyhow, great read. :)

  11. thomas12
    thomas12 ·

    nice article,

    but the availability of 2nd hand or used lomo equipment for starters is really a big problem.

    i never saw a lomo used in a 2nd hand shop or on a flea market in germany, on amazon or ebay
    its mostly commercial stuff for high prices and i can completely understand that a lot of people are shying away because of the high cost, just to try it out.

    Even I myself am currently mostly not buying, because of price-related reasons.

    Next problem, concerning labs, for development and prints (another story).

    Still a nice guide for "beginners" who dont know (yet) or dont understand what you can do with toy cameras.


  12. shoujoai
    shoujoai ·

    Thanks Thomas (and all the others!), I know it's not easy to find 2nd hand Lomo cams - but the thing is that you can just take EVERY cam from the flea market to start, even if it's not a lomo! For example I found once a very cheap plastic cam from china, which was doing nice pictures with slide film or b&w. Then you can just start shooting, and maybe later, when you collected some piggies, buy a Diana Mini or sth else.
    @dearjme: yeah, this happens very rare but I had bad luck. But the good luck was that I still had the english text ;)

  13. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    very nice article to read also for an "old" lomographer like me :))

  14. imysworld
    imysworld ·

    YAY I only just found this site a week or so ago, and just ordered a camera and this has helped it kinda has had lots of articles ive read so far condensed in to one :-) Thank you!! Cannot wait to receive my Diana next week and start taking photos and see how they come out! EEEEEK!!!!! I am very excited, i have spoken to my bf so much about it over the past few weeks hes got fed up with it, but he will be jelous when she arrives ;-) YAY!!!

    Thank you again :-)

  15. orange_vespa
    orange_vespa ·

    I have found two Lomography cameras I use at fleat markets here in Berlin, Germany. Action sampler and Supersampler, Supersampler was unused and I got it for 5€. But they are pretty rare. I also bought an unopened Action Sampler bundle with two rolls of Lomography film that has to be around ten years old. Anyway, at flea markets you can find toy cameras and also quality analogue point and shoots from the 80´s and 90´s for just couple of Euros. I have old Nikons, Yashicas, Canons, Konicas, Olys etc. Cheapest working Olympus AF-1 I got for a mere 50 cents. Nice and cheap hobby. And addictive.

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