Leaking light into your images might sound like something bad, or a technical mistake, but it can actually really give your images style and impact.
When used properly, light leaks add a new dimension to photographs. Done wrong, however, and you could end up with your main subject obscured by a big blob of light! For this reason, many now chose to insert lighting effect artificially in post-production rather than chancing it in-camera.
Here, we look at five actions from Envato Market to help you add light leaks to your images in Adobe Photoshop, and tutorials to help you make your own.
With 6 options to choose from, plus an additional vignette option, these actions will add a retro glow to any photograph.
Lomo… but soft! Get a dreamy, soft light with warm red tones when you download this action.
This download includes a set of five lomo actions designed to non-destructively add great light-leak effects to your images.
Lomo Leaks add a gorgeous pop of saturated light to your pictures. Choose from different styles and colours to get your perfect look. We'll take a closer look at this one shortly.
With two options, Lomo Image Effect Actions lets you add a retro feel and colouring to your images. Adjust the effect intensity to give your images a definitive style.
Hot to Use Light Leak Actions
Let's take a look at Lomo Leaks Photoshop Action, to see how it runs and what exactly it does to your images.
Once you've installed your action, hit play and a box will appear asking you to make a selection. Go to the Light Leaks folder that came with the action download and choose which light leak you’d like to try. This is Light Leak 1:
After running the action, you'll see it’s produced a set of layers.
There’s a Colour Fill layer which adds a matte cast to your image. The Black and White layer puts a little more contrast and punchiness back into your shadows and the darker areas of your image. Layer 1 is a duplicate of the background image, with the Blending Mode set to Screen, which lightens it. You can mask out some of these changes if they don’t look right with your image.
Here's another example of how light leaks can brighten up a shot. This is the original image:
And here it is after adding a light leak:
DIY Post-Production Light Flares
Light flares, lens flares, and color effects are fun and easy to do in Photoshop and Lightroom. Here are a few free tutorials to get you started: