Editing Friday; Velvia Lomofied

Today is according to Lomography is world Film Photography Day. This is a day to celebrate analogue photography. Lomography want people not just to shoot film once a year but for people to take a day a week to have as their analogue day.


I do like to shoot film and I would shoot more film, especially black and white, if I had a film scanner to digitize my analogue shots. Until then i am nearly 100% digital.

In honor of Film Photography Day I am going to edit two images  emulating one of my favorite films for shooting landscapes, Fuji Velvia.

Velvia is a daylight balanced colour reversal film that was introduced in 1990 and was direct competition to  Kodachrome 25. Velvia has very saturated colors under daylight, high contrast, and exceptional sharpness. These characteristics make it the slide film of choice for many nature photographers, including such respected artists as Rodney Lough Jr., Steve Parish, Peter Lik, and the late Galen Rowell.
Velvia was an ISO50 film though many photographers would shoot it at ISO 40 or 35 to over expose the film by one or two thrids of a stop. This was done to reduce the saturation of the film and bring out more shadow detail.

Sunset over one of the smallest of the Thousand Islands. Shot on 6×6 cm Fuji Velvia with a Mamiya C-series twin-lens reflex camera.
Source Wikipedia

When emulating film in Photoshop  you are never going to get the tones 100% right but close enough for the image to have the feel that it was taken on this film. There are many filters available that emulate film stocks. The two I use are Alien Skin Exposure, which has a fantastic library to choose from with the ability to adapt them, and Niksoft Colour Efex Pro, for colour, or Silver Efex, for black and white.

Of course if you don’t have these filters you can copy the tone manually using adjustment layers.

First I imported my image into Photoshop. The image was taken from a wedding I shot last year of two guest waiting outside of the church.


Once the image was opened I chose the Channel Mixer Adjustment layer. this adjustment layer is what i normally use for emulating black and white film, to use it for colour the same rules apply. All three channels must add up to 100.

To emulate Velvia you need to raise each colour on each colour channel by 50. This means on the red channel, the red setting must be 150. In raising this and changing nothing else the colours will shift to red because the the settings now add up to 150. To resolve this you must minus the other two settings by 25. For each channel the settings should be;

Red Channel

Red +150
Green -25
Blue -25

Green Channel

Red -25
Green +150
Blue -25

Blue Channel

Red -25
Green -25
Blue +150


Once the channel mixer adjustment is complete, I added a levels adjustment layer and moved the black point right towards the midtones until I had the contrast I desired.

Untitled-3I sharpened the image using the high pass filter to sharpen the image and corrected perspective and cropped the image.

Final Image


The final image is a really nice reportage image for a wedding. The emulation pulls out really beautiful colours in the guests skirt and the wooden doors of the church, which all contrasts nicely with the mans suit and the curtains in the doorway.

This technique is really simple and you can save the channel mixer settings as a preset.

Although I like the image I thought I could take the process further. I decided to take one of my throw away images and transform it to something else by using the Velvia channel mixer and a faux Lomo Process.


I used the same process as previously to create the Velvia toning.


To create the contrast familiar with Lomo images I duplicate the background layer and set the blending to overlay.


I created a vignette by selecting the whole image (Ctrl A) then adjusted the boarder of the section, Select – Modify – Boarder, then modified the feathering of the selection, Select – Modify – Feather, I modified both by 200 pixels.
I filled the selection with black using the paint bucket set the blending to overlay. I duplicated the layer and set the blending to multiply and reduce the opacity to around 70%.


I added another channel mixer adjustment layer and on the blue channel and reduced the blue setting to +90. The purpose of doing this is to have a slight colour shift in the film.

This is where i would normally leave the edit but i decided to add a grungy film boarder to the image.

Final Image


I imported my boarder and placed the image inside and with the eraser tool used random grunge brushes, rotating them as I went around the image and erased the image.
This part of the edit is to add some age to the image, as if it has been looked at a lot and damaged from being held on the edges. I also burnt in the edges of the image and dodged the center.

Although the final image does not look real, in the sense that this is a real image scanned, i do like the asthetic quality of the image. It does look like a Lomo image, of a random setting. For me the image works and is a nice edit of what is a throw away shot.

Over to you

Is Velvia your favorite colour film? What is your favorite method of emulating film? Most importantly do you like the way I edited the images or do you think I went too far?
If your opinion is positive or negative let me know using the comment box below.

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3 thoughts on “Editing Friday; Velvia Lomofied

  1. I used to shoot Velvia a lot. But now when I look back I find the colours too saturated. I prefer something more natural these days or perhaps the alternative, Kodachrome 25 in Alien Skin Exposure. Nice piece of work Ben. Your understanding of PS is amazing.

    • Thank you Andrew, I keep learning new things in Photoshop all the time.

      I used to shoot a lot of velvia for landscapes and loved the vibrant colours but it was temperamental at longer exposures with a colour shift that would need compensating with filters.
      I also liked using Sensia in my holga because the colours where super crazy. For general shooting i would use provia.

      In alien skin i really like the polaroid film stock.

  2. It has been a very long time since I’ve used an actual film…it was always Kodak I think…back then I was only taking family/vacations, etc…
    I like what you did with the wedding shot…I don’t feel it is over done, looks vibrant yet stately. At this point when it comes to photo emulating I want to please myself…if someone else enjoys what I’ve done,that is a bonus I appreciate…
    what you can do with Photoshop is amazing, I’m so far away from that at this point but it is interesting so see the possibilities.

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