advanced photoshop
Dec
22

How to create a light leak effect in Photoshop

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Julie Bassett

In this tutorial we show how to create a light leak effect in Photoshop that gives a dated, ‘retro’ look to the image

Retro photo effects are huge at the moment, and luckily Photoshop makes it really easy to create authentic-looking styles that emulate traditional film effects. Here we are going to show you how easy it is to add a simple light leak effect to your images.  You can download our sample image from Stock.XCHNG.

How to create a light leak effect in Photoshop
How to create a light leak effect in Photoshop

Step 1: Sharpen the image

Open your background image in Photoshop. Duplicate the Background layer and then go to Filter>Sharpen>Smart Sharpen. Set the Amount to 200% and the Radius to 5 pixels. Make sure that Remove is set to Gaussian Blur and tick More Accurate. It looks over-sharpened now, but it will help us to achieve our effect.


How to create a light leak effect in Photoshop

Step 2: Add some noise

To add some realistic noise to our image, we first apply a Black & White adjustment layer. Then, making sure that the mask thumbnail is selected, we go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Set the Amount to around 120%.

How to create a light leak effect in Photoshop

Step 3: Bring in some colour

Create a new layer at the top of your Layers stack with the blending mode set to Soft Light. Pick a soft, large brush and choose a nice pastel pink colour. Paint over the right and left of the image, moving in towards the model. Change to a green colour and paint over the middle section. You could use any colours that you like here. Lower the Opacity of the layer to suit how strong you want the effect.


How to create a light leak effect in Photoshop

Step 4: Lens flare

We’re going to bring in a lens flare to the image. Create another new layer and fill it with black. Go to Filter>Render>Lens Flare. Set the Brightness to 100% and the Lens Type to 50-300mm Zoom, positioning it in the top right of the photo. Set the blending mode of this layer to Overlay and the Opacity to 50%.

How to create a light leak effect in Photoshop

Step 5: Vignette

Finally, we are going to create a vignette to finish this piece off. First create a copy-merged version of the whole image by hitting Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Alt/Opt+E. Now go to Filter>Lens Correction. In the Custom tab, pull the Vingette slider towards Darken to get the look you want. And we’re done!

How to create a light leak effect in Photoshop

  • Dasseleer

    I love this effect, it has something special.