Pixlr Challenge: #retrocamera

Beautiful woman wrapped in colored blanket looking at camera
We’re energized by the great submissions we’ve been getting lately with our photo challenges. This time, we’d like to explore toy camera and retro camera effects.
Plastic or toy cameras have been a big influence on photography even in these digital times. You can find all kinds of effects that will give you the kind of look you might get from a Holga or Diana camera. These cheap plastic cameras were notorious for producing photos with light leaks, saturated colors, and heavy (and sometimes uneven) vignetting. You can find all that stuff in Pixlr, and this week we want to challenge you to add effects like these to your photos to give you a toy camera look.

  • Light leaks: There are two sets of Overlays packs that will help here: Leaks and Leaking HD. You might also try Chem Burn. Note that you can dial these down in opacity to control their strength. Sometimes subtle light leaking is better.
  • Color: Toy cameras are notorious for off colors. Sometimes blown out and sometimes extra contrast-y. Try the auto contrast effect in Pixlr and play with the saturation in the Adjustments tab.
  • Vignetting: Heavy vignetting on the corners is typical. You’ll find all kinds of options in the Vignetting pack under Overlays. Try the uneven ones, too. They sometimes look very cool.

Share what you edit for this challenge with the hashtag #retrocamera on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. We’ll be on the lookout across our social feeds for these hashtags all week long. The reward? Sweet, sweet glory. We’ll be featuring our favorites on our feeds through Sunday.
Also acceptable for this challenge: Actual photos of toy or retro cameras. If you have one, we’d love to see it!
Never made something like this before? Check out the latest video from Susan Tuttle. It’s focused on creating retro-looking skies, but it gives you step-by-step instructions for turning any kind of photo into one that looks like it was made with a toy camera. Just follow her steps and you’ll end up with something neat: