Tips and Tricks #2 – Light Leakage
What is light leakage?
Light leakage is a phenomenon often encountered when shooting long exposure photographs. Unwanted light enters the camera and causes banding and/or color casting on your photographs. This effectively ruins your images.
What causes light leakage and how do I prevent this?
Light leakage can occur through a number of causes.
I will start with the number 1 cause of this problem: an uncovered viewfinder.
An uncovered viewfinder like in this picture is just asking for all kind of problems. Light leakage becomes even worse if the sun is in your back and thus directly hitting the viewfinder. Even if the sun is on the other side of the camera, it still can cause problems due to reflections of the landscape. The sun might be reflected in the building behind you. Water and sand can also reflect a lot of sun.
The solution is simple: cover the viewfinder. Put your hands on the viewfinder, use an umbrella to block the sun or use your body to block the sun. The easiest solution however is just using a bit of black tape to cover the viewfinder.
Light can also leak through the sides of the camera.
Ideally you would use a wireless remote and apply some tape on the sides. Since I do not have a wireless remote, I taped the side over with the remote still plugged in.
Lenses usually do not cause any problems. Tilt-shift lenses
Here are two images shot in sequence from the same position with the same filters and the same settings.
This image was shot with the same set up as the other image. However, this time I covered the viewfinder, the side of the camera and the filters. This makes a huge difference (again, click to enlarge).
In short: tape off every part of your camera, tilt-shift lens and stacked filters to prevent light from leaking through especially when you’re shooting in very bright, sunny conditions. Don’t cover the viewfinder only, cover everything! I’ve seen
Want to know more?
– my complete long exposure photography guide that you can find on this website
– The upcoming book From Basics to Fine-art in collaboration with co-author Julia Anna Gospodarou for everything related to fine art and black and white photography
– My video tutorial on my personal Black and White Post photography processing technique called iSGM in which I guide you step-by-step through my black and white postprocessing workflow in collaboration with FOTOTV.COM. You can order it here or read all the reviews on the videos here.
– My video tutorial Exploring Vision for everything related to the