How to create Light Leak effects with presets and brushes in Lightroom

Sponsored: create artificial "light leaks" in your photographs with this quick and easy Lightroom tutorial.

This is a sponsored post by Sleeklens.

Original photograph by Gavin Whitner

Whenever we speak about photography, the fact is implied that we must have a good repertoire of creative effects as a way of standing out among the vast majority of photographers who make up this community so competitively… But, what effect would be quick and easy to apply in the area of post-production?

“Light leaks” is the name we give to a sort of “accident” when there is a gap or hole in the camera body where light can get in, forcing the sensor to process the unintended light. I quoted the word accident, as despite being a mistake that happens from time to time (and can be immensely frustrating if we don’t notice it at that very moment), it can be used as a great artistic resource for creating engaging effects, mostly for forest/landscape photography.

Through this guide we’re going to learn the basics on how to create a light leak effect with the help of presets and brushes for Adobe Lightroom.

Basic Adjustments

I’m going to start working with this image below



So first of all, I need to post produce the image in order to ensure its quality. Start by adjusting the White Balance at the Basic Adjustment panel, using the Temp/Tint sliders (you can always use the Dropper tool if you happen to spot some neutral grey area).


Then I’ll perform some quick adjustments in these following areas:

  • Contrast
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Whites
  • Blacks


The idea is to create an editing effect that can boost the overall contrast of the image while reducing intense lighting conditions, as with the Light Leaks we’re going to create, extra light is going to be added; so we don’t want this image to have any burned areas.

Finally, increase the Clarity slider to add more realism, and that’s all for the basic adjustments – we can move on to the process of creating a light leak effect.


Light Leak effect

For creating this nice looking effect we’re going to switch to the Graduated Filter tool; and for making the effect to look realistic enough we need to create three layers of this effect, with different adjustments.

Apply parameters similar to the ones I added and place your effect in a diagonal direction like I did.


Click on “New” in the Graduated Filter menu and change the parameters to match these conditions.


Then, change the direction to match where light should come from.

Click at the plus symbol at the Presets Panel and save your adjustment as a preset.


For ending up with this effect, I’m going to use a brush made by Sleeklens, named “Add Golden Sun” on top of this image, and that’s all. Nice, clean and effective – this Light Leak effect can fit any kind of photograph you have, although it looks better with outdoor photographs.

Hope this guide was useful for adding some nice looking effect with your camera and keep editing!

About the author

Sleeklens is a Denmark-based company dedicated to innovation in digital post production – Author of several bundles of Lightroom Presets and Brushes, as well as Photoshop Actions, it also hosts communities of users with the sole aim on engaging users in this passionate world of photography.

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This is a sponsored article. The content does not necessarily represent the views of Lighting Rumours editorial staff.