It can be fun to shoot in the summer or when it is sunny outside. Capturing light flares and light leaks add a little extra to your photos, improve dull photos in Lightroom, and creating more interest.
In both situations it takes light hitting your camera to create the effect. So what happens when you do not the right light or you are not in the right position to create these effects, which are sometimes looked as mistakes. Well, what you do is you create your own effect on location or in post processing. Today we are going to create a light leak using the Forgotten Postcards Vintage preset and the brush from the Chasing Light Workflow bundle. Know more about Lightroom presets here.
1 – What is a light leak?
A light leak is when there is a gap or hole in the camera body where light can get in and expose the sensor to unintended light. This is often seen as a problem or unintended mistake that happens, but it can look great and be used as an artistic choice in certain images. Now that we know what a light leak is let’s look at the starting point of the image for this tutorial. And if you want to know more about presets, click here.
2 – Color Editing
I first start out with editing the colors of the image. I had a lot of the sky that was blown out because of the light I was facing. I was indoors where the subjects back were facing a dark area with not much light hitting it. In order to get a good exposure on the back of the hair and the subject, I have to expose enough which in turn gave me some blown out highlights. Losing the highlights was not that big of a concern for me as the subject is what I was really focusing on. You can see that I wanted the colors of the shorts to pop against the white shirt. I also cropped the image to get rid of some of the distracting elements and to get a little tighter crop.
3 – Adding the Preset
After I had the colors I wanted I then went into the Forgotten Postcards Bundle and used the Light Leak 9 Preset. What this did is add a preset of color on left and right sides of my image. You can achieve a similar and more customized leak using the Adjustment Brush panel which is in the next step.
4 – Using Adjustment Brush
To achieve a customized light leak you can use the Adjustment Brush to add your desired color, size and shape of the leak. After installing the brush set from the Chasing Light Workflow I chose the “Add Golden Sun” brush and brushed the bottom right corner of the image to fill in more of that light leak effect to the image that the preset did not cover.
5 – Conclusion
If you look on the bottom right you can see the area I used the brush to add more own desired light leak. You can use this technique for the whole image and create all of the light leaks or you can start with a preset and fine tune it using the Adjustment Brush. To mimic it better or to match the light in the image you can sample a color and use that color for your brush if the red/orange in the presets does not fit the color you want to achieve. If you need a refresher on how to import brushes and presets then check out our tutorial.