Lomo. It's an effect I'm continually drawn to. I'm also continually drawn to asking if there's a better way. And guess what? There is.
Let me take you through the steps I've followed just because what did/didn't work for me, may/may not work for you:
- Originally dooce introduced me to the lomo sort of style through her awesome daily photos of her dog and family (besides that, you should subscribe to her very very funny blog). She even posted a tutorial that wasn't too helpful to me at the time because a) it assumes a bit of photoshop knowledge which I didn't/don't have much of and b) Her childhood photo example, though funny, seemed like a poor example compared to the rest of her photography.
- Then I found a more spelled out version on Kingyo Senbei, which definitely improved my attempts. In fact, I still quite like them.
Don't take my above example of the quality of this tutorial--I need to feather my vignette a bit more, and maybe come down on the sharpening among other things, but the author definitely seems to command a greater sense of authority over photoshop and why you should use the settings that are used.
Seems like a lot of steps for one image, but you can automate this by creating an action in the actions toolbar and go back and tweak whatever needs adjusting in the end. Actions, however, are for another post. :)