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How to achieve a light leak look – In camera or in post?

Posted on 1 October, 2014  in Wedding Video

Light leaks used to be the film photographer’s bane- where light would leak through onto the film and create flare effects and wash out the photographs when the photographer of filmographer had not intended for it to happen. However, it’s being used more and more as a trendy new way to spice up dull pictures and create a nifty vintage look to your work. Here’s the low down on light leaks:

In camera or in post?

This answer will depend on what you’re doing. If you’re just tinkering for fun, it will depend on the mood you’re in. If you’re looking to achieve something very specific, it will undoubtedly be easier to achieve it in post production, as you will have a ton more control over how the finished product come out. Ultimately, your goals, your time constraints and how you feel about the project will impact which method you’d choose.

Tell me more about achieving light leaks in camera.

Modern light leaks are achieved mostly through a technique called ‘lens-whacking’, where the lens is slightly lifted away from the camera to allow a teensy bit of light to leak in.

Although we no longer work with expensive celluloid film and you can feel free to experiment to your heart’s [or data card’s] content, you still don’t have an awful lot of control over how light leaks form on the camera. The plus side is, that in the age of digital cameras you can immediately see the result of a light leak and decide if you like it. It just might not be easy to replicate, or to adjust with any kind of regularity. Choose this method when you’re laying around, having fun or experimenting artistically.more detailed info on the website

Light Leaks

Light leaks in post production.

Adding a light leak in post production will give you ultimate control over the results. And if you don’t like it, you can just change it. While it is ‘cheating’ in a way, as it’s not the product of a natural shot, it’s a ton more reliable. It can be used to make beautiful but ‘flat’ imagery unique, and is a popular choice for wedding photos, of course. That’s the sort of situation that has to be done in post, as you’ve no way of knowing what shot you have until then. It’s usually best not to risk a paying shoot on possibly-worthless in camera shots, so unless your model is happy to be part of the experiment, post production is generally best for client’s shots.

Post-producing light leaks is actually fairly easy, especially as a ton of free light leaks and light leak downloads are out there to be had. If you don’t feel confident enough in your gradient and brush skills to create your own, these wonderful packs can make your life considerably easier, and you can find them in almost any colour, shape and type you could want.

Whether you want to achieve your light leak effects via post production or in camera is a choice that’s up to you, your goals and wants.

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