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How to do a light leak effect in Photoshop

Let me show you how to achieve that hipster vintage camera light leak effect on a photo using Adobe Photoshop CS5.

 
  Author: mat | Version: CS5 | 25th August 2012 |  
 
 
1.
 

Open a picture where you want to apply the light leak to.

 
 
2.
 

Click the Edit in Quick Mask Mode button (or Q for a keyboard shortcut).

 
 
3.
 

And press Ctrl + I to invert the quick mask.

Press D and X to set a white foreground color.

 
 
4.
 

Choose the Brush Tool.

 
 
5.
 

Right click the photo, choose a soft brush, set Hardness to 0% and a large brush size depending on how big your photo is.


 
 
6.
 

Set Flow to about 20%.

 
 
7.
 

Now start painting where you want your light leaks to appear. They are usually on the edges of photo, but you can add them where ever you want.

 
 
8.
 

... and a bit on the right side.

 
 
9.
 

Now again click the Quick Mask button (or press Q for a keyboard shortcut).

 
 
10.
 

Your selection should now be visible.

 
 
11.
 

We will now create the actual light leak effect.

At the bottom of  layers window, click the New Adjustment Layer button and choose Curves...

 
 
12.
 

Curves should appear under Adjustments tab.

Push the RGB  curve up a bit (see picture).

 
 
13.
 

Choose the Red channel and push the curve up a bit (see picture).

 
 
14.
 

Now choose the Green channel and push the curve down a bit (see picture).

 
 
15.
 

Now choose the Blue channel and push the curve down a bit (see picture).

Play with the curves and observe you photo changing until you are satisfied with your light leak.

 
 
16.
 

And that's all!

 
 
17.
 

To add or remove the light leak, click the Adjustment layer's Mask thumbnail (see picture) ...

 
 
18.
 

Choose the Brush Tool and paint away. Keep pressing Press X to swap between black and white color to remove or add the light leak.

Click Comment and let us know how you did it, or even better, send a picture with the light leak of your own. And remember, signing up to Dreevoo takes only a few seconds, as now confirmation email is needed.

 
 
 
   
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