How to Add Light Leaks to Your Photoshop Scenes

In this video tutorial, watch as I show you how to add light leaks to your sky in Photoshop. Light leaks are part of the styling process of your photo manipulations and are added towards the end of your workflow.

In the video, I show you how to use the technique on three different images. Every image needs a different approach, so I want you to see it applied to various scenarios. The technique is quick and takes five minutes or less. So, once you have the hang of it, you can apply it easily. Photo manipulation is all about blending your elements to make it look seamless, and that is what light leaks help you to do.

To apply the light leaks, all you need to do is create a blank layer and use your paintbrush. The final step is making sure you have the correct blend mode. I tend to use screen, linear dodge, and color dodge. By mixing all three together, you can get some cool looks. If you wanted to, you can also add some overlays over the top of light leaks for a stronger effect. If you are confused, do not worry, I guarantee by the end of this video you will be confident enough to create your own.

This tutorial is great for intermediate Photoshop artists who want to start having a go at more advanced Photoshop manipulation techniques. One thing you can take away from this video is how important it is to style your composite to blend all the elements seamlessly.

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Fristen Lasten's picture

Saw this years ago. YouTube date now says Nov 17, 2020.

Clinton Lofthouse's picture

Maybe there has been a tear in the space-time continuum?? This is 2018 right??

Karim Hosein's picture

Why on Earth does anyone want to ADD to photographs and CGI, the things which photographers, camera manufacturers, and lens designers have been trying to avoid for decades?

A light leak is not a neat effect. It is what happens when one has not advance the film far enough before the first frame, because one was sloppy and unprofessional.

One does not add lens flare, CA, blur, scratches, dust, grain, noise, etc. These are things we get rid of insofar as they are within our control.

“Oh, but it looks so cool!”

No, it does not! It looks like one got sloppy loading the film is the camera! Back in the day, one tried to publish that stuff and someone would ask, “Why did you submit this image?”

“I was rushing to get the shot in time.”

“So you were ill-prepared and missed the shot?”

“Well, it is better than nothing.”

“So your standard is,… nothing? Better than nothing is good?”

Now, it is… art?!?

To each their own, I guess.

Karim Hosein's picture

…Then I watch the video…. This is not a “light leak.” This is the result of using an old, un-coated lens, which tends to reduce contrast, due to the internal reflections within the lens, causing light spread, or bloom.

Still, not something we ADD to photographs, but try like the dickens to avoid at all costs!

…And yet, to each their own.