these photos look like taken by a low resolution camera, but i think they aren't. so, i want to re-create that effect, does anyone know how to do that? enter image description here enter image description here

  • 2
    You could just save them as a .jpg with very low quality settings. – Manly Apr 28 '15 at 18:35
  • Or save them again and again as jpg until it looks crappy enough to you. – Scott Apr 28 '15 at 19:05
  • Are you sure they weren't just taken with a low quality camera? The front facing camera on some cheap phones and tablets may only be 1mp (sometimes even less). The tiny sensor and tiny lens on most front facing cameras doesn't lend itself well to high quality photos. – Johnny Apr 28 '15 at 20:25
  • Welcome to Graphic Design, Ijsa. You can obtain such an effect filtering your original image using a layer with a dense sawtooth gradient for example. Tell us something about your efforts. – Paolo Gibellini Apr 29 '15 at 5:10

There are various plugins for Gimp that include old or poor photo effects to be obtained with a single filter action.

The probably most comprensive collection of filters come with the G'MIC plugins.

From the many effects available the filter Degradations > Lomo or the filters Faded Analog or Vintage from the Film Emulation set may come close to the effect you look after.

Here is an online version to test all filters: G'MIC Online


You can at first make bad quality lens like color fringes by moving the R and G channels a little apart from the blue channel. Select all. Then select in the Channels panel one channel and move it few pixels to some direction. Select another channel and move it a few pixels to another direction. This was originally a good quality news photo. Moving the channels apart made this:

enter image description here

Isert a generous lens distortion. You can for example misuse the lens correction filter or apply Filter > Distort > Spherize. The result:

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Be sure all channels are selected when you make new adjustments!

Cheap cameras have a tendency to generate a low contrast hazy photo if some bright light hits the lens. That's because the light reflects here and there randomly between the poorly coated lens components. If the light is strong and there's no anti-reflect coating (which makes good lenses look dark violet) a good part of the light hits the sensor or film with wide distribution. Simulate it by 2 steps:

  1. Reduce the contrast to 70% with Image > Adjustments > Curves (or add a Curves layer) see NOTE1

enter image description here

  1. Insert the haze. Add a new layer and paint to it with a BIG soft low opacity brush white where the strongest light meets the lens. It's naturally around strong lights. Like in this image there's not always lights in the image, but one can guess the haze must be strongest at the top edge. I inserted a radial gradient from white to fully transparent white and reduced the layer opacity:

enter image description here

Bad quality photos have some color cast or at least not so good white balance. It can be simulated for ex. by applying Image > Adjustment > Color Balane to the photo layer:

enter image description here

NOTE1: This result is hazy but not overexposed. If overexposure is needed insert it as you reduce the contrast. Use the next type curve:

enter image description here

You cannot lift the overexposed areas to full white because you must have room for the haze. Overexposure and the haze together make this:

enter image description here

If there's a bright lamp or window in the photo let it stay full white for plausibility. The haze can well be invisible on it. An example:

enter image description here

Text GEN is here considered to have a lamp. The brightest point is letter E. The contrast is reduced like previously, but text GEN is selected and painted 100% white.

The white to transparent white gradient is inserted twice to separate layers. One short range version starts at the middle of E and another long range version with reduced opacity starts from the same point. The short range version probably would be better as layer style "Outer Glow". The light source should be in a separate layer.

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