Potraiture (Holga Effect)

Yesterday, whilst on my travels to Lowestoft, Suffolk, I decided that I would look at portraiture photography as I had not done this in a while. I’m not one for creating portraiture images within the confines of a studio space, rather I prefer to capture my subject in natural surroundings where they feel most comfortable. I like portraiture in the style of reportage, as the subjects feel more at ease and therefore creating an image that looks more “real” than forced.

I decided to create the portraiture images with a “Holga” effect. This kind of effect is currently en vogue and is popular alongside with lomography and the effects that you can achieve with Instagram.


The Holga camera was designed by T. M. Lee in 1981 and it first appeared outside China in 1982 in Hong Kong. The Holga is a medium format 120 film camera, made in Hong Kong, known for its low-fidelity aesthetic.

The Holga’s low-cost construction and simple meniscus lens often yields pictures that display vignetting, blur, light leaks, and other distortions. The camera’s limitations have brought it a cult following among some photographers, and Holga photos have won awards and competitions in art and news photography.


Holga Camera
Image: Mark Wheeler

Wikipedia. 2013. Holga. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holga [Accessed: 21 Dec 2013].

Wheeler, M. 2013. Holga 120. [image online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holga_120_GCFN.jpg [Accessed: 21 Dec 2013].

Creating My Images

To achieve the Holga effect I used Photoshop CS5 and a plug-in from OnOne called PhotoTools 2.6 that contained the Holga Black & White filter.


Step 1
© Richard Brochu-Williams


Step 2
© Richard Brochu-Williams


Step 3
© Richard Brochu-Williams

As well as applying the filter, I also made adjustments to it, so that the effect would compliment the images. I have noticed that some of my highlights are blown out, this is due to the filter that has been applied and not the images that I captured at the time. I know this, because when I shoot I use the “Highlights” display on my  Nikon D90 to make sure that my highlights are not blown out. At this stage I am not too concerned as these images are just in the experimental stage.


Highlights Display Mode – Nikon

Imaging Resource. 2013. Nikon: Playback Mode. [image online] Available at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D300S/D300SA3.HTM [Accessed: 21 Dec 2013].

My Images

All images © Richard Brochu-Williams, 2013. All rights reserved.

Anyone with a keen interest in photography (especially analogue) and the Holga effect can find information on the following link.

Holga Inspire. 2013. HOLGA. [online] Available at: http://holgainspire.com/ [Accessed: 21 Dec 2013].