I was lucky enough to receive a Diana Mini for Christmas and it’s reinvigorated my photography some what.
After the clean and crisp world of digital photography, lomography (or lomo for short) has been a breath of fresh air. I can’t say I’m great with the lomo (I’d struggle to go so far as to say some of my shots so far have even been good) but even from my first roll of actual analogue film I’ve learnt a load and had a whole bunch of fun.
The whole idea around lomography is that it’s back to basics, back to manual focusing, choosing your aperture, selecting the most appropriate film, and ensuring your framing is good.
So… without further ado, here’s a few lessons I’ve learnt from my first roll of film!
Lesson 1: Wait till it’s sunny outside
You might want to wait till it’s sunnier outside before you start snapping away, I’ve ended up with a lot of shots that are just far too dark! Always check you’ve selected cloudy or sunny aperture. Cloudy, and you’re at F/8, sunny and it’s F/11.
Lesson 2: Shooting in-doors? Not without a flash
Unless there is a lot of light inside, even if you’re running with 800 iso film, you’re probably not going to get great results without flash. I wasted a lot of film because of this! You can try Bulb mode, but you’re probably better off with sticking to Normal (1/60th of a second)
Lesson 3: Shoot from the hip!
Your Diana Mini (or whichever flavour of lomo you have) isn’t quite the same imposing beast as your SLR. Also, it’s cute and fun, so people are less concerned about it being thrust in their face!
Lesson 4: Check your focus
You’re never going to get perfectly crisp photo’s with a toy camera, it’s not about that (it’s about soft focus and vignetting if you must know). That said, it’s still good to at least get it close! Always check the manual focus ring on the front of the camera. I ended up just measuring my arm and using that as a rough guide till I got it down in my head!
Lesson 5: Colour is your friend
Colour is great, even more so with your trusty lomo camera, a little over-saturated maybe, but that’s probably down to the film too!
Lesson 6: Find something interesting, and/or random
Your Diana Mini has character, find a character to shoot, something… unusual!
Lesson 7: Composition still counts
Just because it’s lomo, doesn’t mean the normal rules of photography go out the window. Composition it still important, leading lines, vanishing points, rule of thirds… well, the rule of thirds gets more interesting with the square format I guess…
Lesson 8: Jump into a crowd!
That said, it’s lomo, it’s about instant karma! Be spontaneous, shoot from the hip, and jump into a crowd… who knows what they’re up to!
Lesson 9: Stop worrying
My first roll of film was 400 iso 36 exposures, and when I took it into the developers (the bog standard Boots) it was with a mixed feeling of happiness and trepidation. I was sure that most of the pictures were rubbish, that the guys developing the film would muck it up, and that I’d be laughed out of the store for being a terrible photographer. None of those things happened, Boots were great, did what they could with my terrible shots, and then gave me my negatives and pictures and I went on my way. And my shots were terrible, out of 36 shots, there are maybe 9 that I can at least put my name to, but it’s a learning curve, and it’s fun!
Anyways, there’s my run down of what I’ve found so far with the Diana Mini. If you’ve managed to nab yourself an old school toy camera, I hope you’re having fun with it too! Good luck, have fun and don’t take it so seriously.