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wholenewlight
Mar-16-2006, 05:51 AM
Since early in the year, I've been trying to post a picture-a-day as part of the "Daily Photos" smugmug photo community (http://cs-pics.smugmug.com/community/DailyPhotos) (started by Sebastian Hosche (http://rainforest1155.smugmug.com/)).



A few of the pics I have posted are "Holga" shots. What is a Holga shot? Here's a quote (from this link (http://www.apogeephoto.com/july2001/plastic_fantastic.shtml)):Put simply, a Holga is a twenty-dollar, medium-format plastic camera. The characteristics that make it special are the same things that would make any other camera a “lemon”--light fall-off, lack of sharpness, distortion, accidental double exposure, flare, or any combination of the above. These “problems” are precisely why many Holga users own a handful of the cameras-- one for every special effect.Some people love the look and feel, some think the idea is silly - I'm in the first group. These are not Ansel Adams Yosemite pictures! They look dark and moody, usually nostalgic, snapshot-like, with a "capture the moment" flavor.

http://cs-pics.smugmug.com/photos/60114700-M.jpg

Today, when I posted the above shot, I received the following request:

Love your holga effect on this one and it's a great capture, too! Totally works for me.
Any chance you'll show the original and share a bit of your post process knowledge to get this kind of effect?


So, I decided I would answer the request here with this post.

First, here's the original:
http://cs-pics.smugmug.com/photos/60115306-M.jpg

Shooting the shot

I've thought about buying an actual $30. Holga, Lubitel, or Diana toy camera. I've played with them before. But I've come to the decision, why? I don't want to be bothered with film and really, it's the effect I'm want to play with, not the camera itself. But I have been criticized that my shots are fakes. So be it.

So with my expensive Nikon, I go looking for "cheap" :): Holga shots. Shots that have:

a good square format look
simple composition
maybe a dramatic element in the shot or some action or movement
maybe a "nostalgic" look, since the true Holga shots tend to have that lookPost Processing

Photoshop post-processing is my key to these shots (as you might imagine). There is a great "Holga Simulator" Action at Adobe Studio Exchange. Here's the Link (http://share.studio.adobe.com/axAssetDetailSubmit.asp?aID=/6756) to the action. Tips for download and installation are also found at the link (and as part of the downloaded file). I know there are other PS Actions available and I've tried some, but this is my choice.

Here's my simple steps:

This PS Action has certain characteristics that you will quickly find out. It's going to make your shot vignetted, darker, grainy, and contrasty. I usually play around with some levels and curves prior to "holga-izing" my shot. This will be trial & error with your shots. Just try some different versions of the same shot with the simulator action and see what you like.
I add an USM filter even though the PS Action is going to make the shot softer (especially in certain parts of the frame). I want to start off with a sharp shot.
Then I run the Holga Simulator Action from the History/Actions pallette.
The PS Action is non-destructive - it adds layers to create the effect. The different layers are adjustable for different effects.
http://cs-pics.smugmug.com/photos/60121282-S.jpgClick Here (http://cs-pics.smugmug.com/photos/60121282-L.jpg) for a large version of the screen shot
The PS Action creates 6 Layers: Grain, Saturation, Levels, Luminance/Contrast, Mask, and Vignetting
To adjust each effect, adjust the "Fill" slider of that level
Grain - I usually adjust this layer substantially and sometimes delete it. I think the action adds too much grain.
Saturation - this layer adjusts the amount of color in the shot, ie: 100% is a black and white shot, 0% is a color shot.
Levels - this layer does what it says but it seems to adjust contrast more than brightness. 100% = most contrast, 0% = least contrast.
Luminance/Contrast - this layer seems to adjust brightness more than contrast. 100% = darker, 0% = lighter.
Mask - this layer adds the darkened edges for the effect of film that isn't being held flat
Vignetting - exactly what it is, simulating the light falloff of a cheap plastic lens.Go to this gallery to see more shots using this technique - Link (http://cs-pics.smugmug.com/gallery/722646)

Different viewpoints for different eyes . . .
http://cs-pics.smugmug.com/photos/59367899-S.jpg

rainforest1155
Mar-16-2006, 07:24 AM
Thanks John for the quick tutorial! Good job, this actually looks simple enough for me to pull off. :D
So the real hard work is to chose the right shot to apply it too. Even though it might be considered a fake it's still a great way of expressing an idea you as the photographer had in your mind.

Really dig your Holga shots gallery! Are these really all contemporary photos?? I feel like being at the beginning of photography.

Keep up the great work,
Sebastian

wholenewlight
Mar-16-2006, 07:33 AM
Thanks John for the quick tutorial! Good job, this actually looks simple enough for me to pull off. :D
So the real hard work is to chose the right shot to apply it too. Even though it might be considered a fake it's still a great way of expressing an idea you as the photographer had in your mind.

Really dig your Holga shots gallery! Are these really all contemporary photos?? I feel like being at the beginning of photography.

Keep up the great work,
Sebastian

All of them very fresh. Almost all were shot in the last 12 months. The oldest is the boardwalk shot that has a "Dolle's" sign in it - taken about 6 years ago with my first digital, a fuji something with 1.3mp. There are some shots from a civil war reenactment where the people are wearing century-old period costumes. The smoking airplane shot is from an airshow last summer.

DavidTO
Mar-16-2006, 09:03 AM
John, I'd love to have this on our tutorials page (http://dgrin.smugmug.com/How-To/143180). If you're interested in doing that, PM me.

gefillmore
Mar-16-2006, 04:21 PM
john-

thanks much for posting this-

very neat-

george

wholenewlight
Mar-17-2006, 02:48 AM
thanks for the comments and I'll work on putting this into the "tutes" format over the weekend

Scott Buel
Mar-17-2006, 05:47 AM
Go to this gallery to see more shots using this technique - Link (http://cs-pics.smugmug.com/gallery/722646)

Different viewpoints for different eyes . . .


Love this effect! Your picture of the apple orchard is just plain scary. It just has that "Marlyn Manson/Rob Zombie/horror film" look and feel to it.
:wow

Awesome work!

wholenewlight
Mar-19-2006, 02:26 AM
Love this effect! Your picture of the apple orchard is just plain scary. It just has that "Marlyn Manson/Rob Zombie/horror film" look and feel to it.
:wow

Awesome work!

the orchard shot is one of my favorites. thanks