Lomo LC-A Instant Back+ Negative Tipster by Mandi


Here's a cool tip for extra-fun LC-A Instant shots! Our resident Film Lab Rat chief Mandi shows you how to achieve a unique "negative" effect to your Instant shots. Come check it out!

  1. Get your Lomo LC-A Instant Back+ ready!
  2. Attach a flash to the Lomo LC-A+ (or Lomo LC-A vintage), set camera to the closest distance and shoot something in front of your lens.
  3. Eject and wonder: the image looks partly like the negative of the original motif. Extra spice with colour flash!

Dark areas won’t be affected too much, bright parts can even become black if you are too close. The flash itself reflected on shiny surfaces or the sun will become a small black spot (you might have seen this before on other Instant products). If you are too far from the subject or if the flash is too weak you will get normal colours or “normal overexposure” aka white.

How can this happen?
The image is recorded in a special way, so that you will end up with a positive image. When you expose the Instant film, it first records the image like a normal negative would do: there are 3 layers, sensitive to blue, green, red. But then there is an additional dye layer for each of the 3 mentioned before: yellow dye for the blue sensitive, magenta dye for the green sensitive and cyan dye for the red sensitive.

As soon as you press the eject button, the developing process starts: When a part of the sensitive layer was exposed, it prevents its associated dye layer from being transported to the actual image receiving layer (the part you are looking at in the end).

Vice versa, when the area is unexposed the associated colour dye wanders to the image layer. This means, if you have a blue image, the blue sensitive layer is exposed, it prevents the colour yellow to be moved on, but the other 2 sensitive layers will give way for magenta and cyan. If you mix cyan and magenta you get: …. right, blue! (The fascinating world of colour theory. There is a lot more to explain, but it’s getting boring already ;)

My theory:
Due to the heavy overexposure the sensitive layer flips from blocking the colour to giving way completely. Let me give you an analogy: There is this guy whose job it is to take a care of a bucket full of yellow colour. When he gets the “development signal” he has to pour some of the yellow colour, the brighter the blue, the less colour, if there is just a glimpse of blue, a lot of yellow. Now comes the Lomographer with his flash and uses it right in the poor guy’s face. The guy gets so frightened that he just drops the full bucket and all runs out.

If anyone out there has some experience in molecular physics or quantum chemistry and can give a good explanation: I’d be glad to hear it!

written by shhquiet on 2010-03-10 in #gear #tipster #lomo-lc-a #tipster #lc-a-back


  1. wil6ka
    wil6ka ·

    "There is this guy whose job it is to take a care of a bucket full of yellow colour"
    This is an instant classic by Herr Mandi! ;)

  2. lawypop
    lawypop ·

    i dun own a lc-a back yet but this is interesting and great tip!

  3. kaho152
    kaho152 ·

    wow this is a superb tipster!

  4. pulex
    pulex ·

    onna try it with my diana!!! thanks!

  5. a10101100
    a10101100 ·

    interesting article! just got my instant back (working) and now, time for some fun!

  6. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    does this work with the Diana instant back as well?? I should try....

  7. mandi
    mandi ·

    in theory this also should work with the diana instant back, you only need a super-powerful flash. the flash intensity depends on the distance and aperture, diana has a much smaller aperture, thus you should get very close. maybe with the 55mm + close-up lens....

  8. deng
    deng ·


  9. dogtanian
    dogtanian ·

    i wondered my ringflash instant picture came out like it did!!! haha

  10. zulupt
    zulupt ·

    Great tip! Thanks for sharing.

  11. graefin
    graefin ·

    this is such a great effect!

  12. cherots
    cherots ·

    this was my first shot of my lc-a+ instant back came out, i thought there's something wrong with my camera or the film to the point i contacted the customer service of Lomo. it turned out to be a 'technique' :) maybe i shot my photos too closes with the colorsplash flash :) thanks!

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