How to Create Vintage Light Leaks in Photoshop


Light Leaks With retro, vintage film styles becoming a popular look in photography; light leak effects are something we see in a lot of photographic work. Question is, what is a light leak exactly?

“A light leak is a hole or gap in the body of a camera, or other optical instrument, where light is able to "leak" into the normally light-tight chamber, exposing the film or sensor with extra light. This light is diffuse, although parts within the camera may cast shadows or reflect it in a particular way.” -Wikipedia

In this super easy tutorial, I will be showing you how to create vintage light leaks in Photoshop.


  1. Open your image in Photoshop.Light Leaks
  2. Duplicate the background image. Light Leaks
  3. Grab your lasso tool and draw the shape of the light leak. (it can be a rough shape.) Light LeaksLight Leaks
  4. After the selection is made. Add a gradient fill adjustment layer (not gradient map) pick the color gradient you want for this light leak. Light LeaksLight Leaks
  5. Change the blending mode of the light leak layer to Screen. Pick Screen (Crop)
  6. Feather the mask of the light leak layer. Light Leaks
  7. With the transform tool change the shape, length or width of the leak. And your done!Light Leaks
  8. Final Image: Light Leak

Now you have four ways to approach the Matte effect in your photos. I encourage you to explore with these four methods and combine them if you would like. If you found this post helpful or want to share some tips and tricks of your own, please comment below or shoot me a message on my contact page! Make sure you share this post with your friends as well. Also, if you have practice work you want me to see, feel free to tag me to your posts on Facebook or Instagram.

Photo Effects, TutorialsTia