Photographer Forced to Spend Hours Photoshopping Lines From Wedding Photos, Issues Warning That Lasers Can Ruin Sensors

Photographer Forced to Spend Hours Photoshopping Lines From Wedding Photos, Issues Warning That Lasers Can Ruin Sensors

A wedding photographer returned home to make a grim discovery: the images from the wedding she had just spent the day shooting had two lines running throughout them. Upon doing some research, she found the lasers from the dance floor lighting had caused the damage, meaning she had to spend hours removing the lines in Photoshop and buy a new sensor.

Brittany Bay, who runs Bay Productions in Dallas, Texas, had had a successful day shooting a wedding. But towards the end of the day, she reveals in a Facebook post, she noticed two prominent lines that she was previously unfamiliar with. Hoping it was simply an issue with her LCD screen, she was frustrated to return home and find the all of the images were displaying the same issue.

She has now released an image from the wedding in question, adding arrows to illustrate where the lines across the picture. In her post, she also linked to this article which better explains how and why it happens.

In future, Bay says she will “absolutely NOT” take pictures at wedding receptions that have lasers, although luckily, it’s something she says she rarely encounters. A replacement sensor is costing her around $1,000, not to mention the many hours she has had to spend removing the lines manually in Photoshop. Ouch! 

If you want to learn more about wedding photography, be sure to check out our very own tutorial, "How To Become A Professional Commercial Wedding Photographer."

Images: Brittany Bay.

Jack Alexander's picture

A 28-year-old self-taught photographer, Jack Alexander specialises in intimate portraits with musicians, actors, and models.

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"forced" ??

Give me a break

Well, usually, this is at the end of the day, so not sure how many pictures she had to fix.
But she should have noticed right away it was not the screen as a simple zoom in was enough to see the line was within the pictures.
-> No knowledge about laser and sensor
-> No knowledge about checking possible issue with capture pictures (!?)
and I have guessed;
-> Not spare body to switch to when she noticed the defective pixel line.
Sorry for her...

A note to all of the photographers who claim they don't chimp or who think that chimping is bad: you should be chimping. A lot. Chimp in detail. Chimp in depth. Discover defects early. Etc. If problems show up later, at your computer, everybody says: why the heck didn't you chimp!?

I agree with you so much that I actually made an account to reply to you. You should never ignore a potentially useful tool just for appearance's sake. I hadn't heard the term "chimping" before; I guess the term makes sense, sadly, considering the rather competitive nature that some photographer's seem to have. I've seen some crazy arguments happen over the littlest things.

She did chimp, she did saw a problem, but did not understand how a picture is displayed in her camera.🙈🙈🙈
So Chimp or not Chimp was not the issue there.
To review an image on the LCD screen of a digital camera after taking a photograph. In common usage among press photographers. The act was dubbed chimping after photographers were caught making monkey-like noises when they reviewed a good shot in their cameras.

You're saying she should have chimped much more thoroughly. That is, chimp while zooming in to examine specific defects in the image. That's ultra-chimping, which is even better than chimping. Of course, not chimping at all would be an issue for sure. Not chimping means you see nothing until images are on your computer. Lots of photo forum experts advocate not chimping, or take pride in their (supposed) not chimping, or look down upon others who chimp. My point is: chimping can save the day. And ultra-chimping even more so! Anti-chimpers take note.

"Hoping it was simply an issue with her LCD screen"
I'm impress how little she knows about using her own camera.

If she was to play one picture and zoom in or out; she will clearly see the line zooming with the picture showing the screen was not to blame but the sensor/image itself.

I doubt it's the LCD, for starters she edited the pictures I'm pretty sure the lines wouldn't have shown up on her computer screen if it was the camera's screen, and if it was her computer's screen having a line of dead pixels that would be obvious pretty quickly.

So we have to take the warning as intended. Be careful around lasers, because they might damage your sensor.

they damage eyes.. id figure the same for sensors in some degree.. but what kind of lasers since people at concerts and such shoot lasershows as well ;)

The damage occurs when the laser beam hits the lens directly or reflected off of a highly reflective, flat surface. The lense intensifies the light and it shorts out a pixel. Since pixels are addressed by row and column, the entire row and column corresponding to the pixel no longer work. Have read of this happening at laser light shows before. Only takes an instant and the sensor is toast.

Exactly, like a disco ball or something similar.

Don’t be Rollei Joe, Just Me.

What is the point of this?

Rollei Joe is a person who embodies the elitist attitude in the photography industry.

For those that don't know the dangers of lasers on sensors, this is a good cautionary tale.
For those that do know, a chance to engage in self-proclaimed superiority.

I know, right.

"For those that do know, a chance to engage in self-proclaimed superiority" - that says it perfectly.

Oops. I didn't know. I must be an idiot.

I didn't know either, or really just never thought about it. Failure of imagination I guess.

Unlucky DSLR shot, or a negative of mirror-less?

I would expect it depends on sensor really, but since on a mirrorless your sensor is constantly recording the scene that gives it much more chances to catch an unlucky LASER glimpse. On the other hand, you could argue it protects your eyes, which would be hit by the LASER going over the mirror and pentaprism if you were using a SLR (but we should hope such LASER are harmless to the eyes in the first place).

They are all dangerous to the eyes if the retina is hit directly.

That is false. They go through great lengths making sure the lasers are at a power that doesn’t hurt the eyes even if hits directly on the retina. There is a time constant for different types of lasers (wavelengths and powers) that determines what is harmful for the eyes. Usually, for these types of laser shows they don’t harm the eye due to the aversion response (blinking). Now if someone were to stare into the laser, yes that could cause some damage.

Sensor are different, of course.

I don't know who your "they" is or which lasers you're specifically talking about, but I have a host of common lasers for such things as carpentry levels and gun sights. They all carry danger warnings, and I've known of people who have injured their eyes with them. Obviously, a laser is radiation and all radiation damage is a matter of accumulation over time, but with any laser, that time can be pretty brief. There are also numerous reports of pilots suffering eye damage from even brief interceptions with consumer-powered lasers on the ground. If you know of a consumer laser advertised as not dangerous to vision, I'd be interested in a link.

This is going to get worse. "self driving" cars (as well as some automated safety features) are starting to use lasers. These beams take hundreds or even thousands of measurements per second. (recently after a camera was ruined by a car on exhibition at an auto show, the manufacturer replaced the photographer's camera)

It's easy to see lasers on a dance floor but in broad daylight, you can't. And since you have no idea where the next flash is coming from, there's nothing practical you can do to avoid it. This will be everywhere once these cars become more common as well as lidar for all sorts of other applicatons. Even if not directly destructive to your eye (I have trouble believing that, but cameras are known to be vullnerable), thousands of laser devices in use in public areas will certainly take a toll on cameras.

Perhaps at some point the camera will need to be viewed as a 'consumable'


Super Easy Fix....send the photos to India...cost u a buck per picture(at most). You'll get them back in about 24hrs. If she actually retouched these herself....she must have time to waste.

Hours photoshopping? How about dust delete data?? That's about 5 seconds.

Or spot healing content aware. Click on the line on one side of the screen, hit the shift and click on the line on the other side of the image. Voila, gone!

Or maybe - if it is just one or two distinct rows or columns of pixels, just kill the whole row/column (e.g. by cutting & pasting the lower part 2 pixels up). As they should appear in each shot at the same position, you might be able to automate the whole process.

PS "Action" (i.e. macro using the healing tool). I have to do this for a camera I have which appears to have some damage. I just run it on each shot. You can also automate using scripts to do several photos.

Exactly what I would have replied. Thank you!

I dont live in the us and we have some dj that bring lazers. The kind that are in raves/trance parties. We specifically have a clause in our contract that says as soon as the lazer is on, we stop photographing. The couple know ahead of time if there are lazers but we wont deal with them and take a risk.

There is no shortage of articles about the lazers ruining sensors, mostly to the videographer. We sell package deals with stills and video so video also stops shooting also. Its either capture your event or enjoy the lazers

My friend had his sensor ruined. Had to go to small claims court to get reimbursement from the dj but that takes at least a year and more afterwards to see payment. Meanwhile you have to pay for repairs with your money

Hence, we no longer shoot any weddings with lazers. They arent many but were willing to lose the occasional work.

We also at one time used a canon 6d to shoot video and had a corrupt card we sent for recovery. We wound up paying so much for the service and reimbursement to the couple for some lost footage. It could have ruined our business had they not been a nice couple who understood. We payed out of pocket close to $3500.

Suffice to say that we no longer shoot weddings with cameras with 1 memory slot. Piece of mind that we have backup is imperative. Im scared of my business (I support my family with) going bankrupt because of a memory card failure again.
With social media, anyone can bomb you if they have been wronged

BUT, BUT NIKON AMBASSADOR Jhenny Ghionis said ONE CARD SLOT is ok on the Z6/7 because he has shot 250000 weddings on film and digital and has not lost one frame.


Did he say that? Perhaps that's what happens when you're a Nikon ambassador. You start to say things that are dumb, like one card slot is okay for weddings ... because Nikon mirrorless have one card slot.

So ... people are downvoting my comment because they think one card slot is OK for weddings.

+1 Nice sarcasm. Yea ambassadors have no relevancy in my eyes. They are payed. They get free gear. They say anything and everything that sells the gear. Nothing they say is sincere and without bias. If nikin payed me and gave me free/reduced price gear id also say nikon is amazing all day every day. Everyone would. Did ypu ever see an ambassador say anything bad about a product of the mfr theyre payed from?
No? Why would they


Good one

You would have to establish that a duty of care existed in the first place. The operator of the lasers could rightly claim they had no knowledge the lasers could destroy photographic equipment; conversely, they could claim the photographer should have been aware and was therefore contributorily negligent. I don't think a suit would go anywhere.

Every one of those lasers have a users manual which state that the lasers should not be placed in a manner which allows it to hit people. The DJ would be negligent in stating that he did not know, as he ought to read the manual of the devices he uses.

Additionally, as someone stated, it has a bright yellow warning sticker, so he did not need to read the entire manual to know this.

The photographer did not have the laser, and would not likely get close enough to it to read the yellow warning label, and, unless they stood on a ladder/table/chair/object to take the picture, should not have been hit with a laser beam.

There is no negligence on the part of the photographer. Negligence is acting in a manner that an otherwise prudent adult would not. Prudent adults take photographs at weddings. Prudent
adults do not shine laser beams where a human can be exposed.

If you are going to start throwing legal terms around you should get it right.

It would be *contributory negligence* on the part of the photographer. And the test is a *reasonable person test* not a "prudent adult" test.


Ⓐ How did the photographer contribute to the reckless usage of a laser? The camera was not damaged because it took pictures at a wedding, but because a laser was improperly deployed. Unless the photographer was involved with the improper deployment of the laser, the photographer had no “contributory negligence,” whether an otherwise prudent adult, or reasonable person.

[EDIT] I think that I misunderstood. I think you were saying that I ought not have said, «…no negligence on the part of the photographer,» but, «…no contributory negligence….» That being the case, contributory negligence cannot occur without negligence on the photographer's part. Contributory negligence simply means more than one party was negligent. Therefore, it was correct to say no negligence on the part of the photographer. [/EDIT]

Ⓑ I said there was no negligence, in the discussion of liability, neither of which are “legal terms,” but everyday English words, with everyday English meanings. This is a photography forum, not a legal discussion, (albeit that legal discussions are relevant to photographers), and I never threw around any legal term, but that being said,…
«Definition. A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.»

[* MIC DROP *]

I have been visiting the Fstoppers site for some time now and I generally spent quite some time reading because the articles have depth, are insightfull and helpfull. But I never looked further down the page and missed the comment section. Untill today. Is this thread indicative for the sort of readers FStoppers has? Is it bon-ton to immediately insert the gender of the photographer into the discussion without any obvious reason? Is it normal to immidiately find something the photographer did wrong and in doing so making sure everone reading knows you will never make such a stupid mistake?
Reading the article, my first thought was: this could have happened to me, the second thought was: that must have been awfull. And the third thought was: is this a commonly known problem that people should be aware of?

These kind of people tend to be the most vocal on any forum. I would't jump to the conclusion that most of the readers here are incels.

Why are you bringing up gender, again, when it hadn't been mentioned in this thread?

In my eyes, it was not a *stupid* mistake. It was a mistake and a learning experience. There is no reason whatsoever to label it "stupid*. I personally had never heard of lasers damaging the sensor and it could have happened to me easily. The photographer was brave enough to make her story public and she did so to warn others. I am warned now, I'm glad she did.
And how do you come to the conclusion women are treated differently than men? The gender of the photographer was inserted out of the blue into this discussion solely to make the point that you apparently can not chastise a woman for making a mistake. It was flamebait in it's most pure form. That's exactly what triggered me to ask if this was normal. It isn't (I've read more discussions by now) I am happy to say.

No more old and boring that being sexist.

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