STEP BY STEP / Achieve a light leak ef­fect

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Safety first At the worry of sound­ing like a risk as­sess­ment, you need to make your­self safe. We brought a bucket of wa­ter to ex­tin­guish matches (and to use in case we dropped them on the floor). We also pre­pared a damp towel to deal with any ac­ci­den­tal burns. 2 Ex­per­i­ment with fo­cal length We found that a 50mm f/1.4 lens was per­fect to frame a por­trait nicely while si­mul­ta­ne­ously com­press­ing the per­spec­tive enough to blur close-up fore­ground el­e­ments con­sid­er­ably. The wider the lens, the less per­spec­tive com­pres­sion oc­curs. 3 In­side with win­dow light We shot this light leak por­trait in­side so that the am­bi­ent light was in­her­ently darker than if we were shoot­ing out­side. Win­dow light has a beau­ti­ful qual­ity, with soft shad­ows and smooth high­lights that wrap around your sub­ject. 4 Set­tings In Man­ual mode we set our ISO to 400 for the lower light lev­els in­side. Our aper­ture was f/2 to blur the fire suf­fi­ciently when held in front of the lens, and our shut­ter speed was 1/500 sec, which was fast enough to keep the im­age sharp as we were shoot­ing hand­held. 5 Matches/lighter We rec­om­mend us­ing long cook’s matches or a long­necked lighter to take these shots. It’ll give you a longer burn time be­fore ei­ther the match scorches your fingers or the lighter warms up so much it burns your skin! Both are avail­able cheaply from home­ware shops. 6 Place­ment We didn’t want to melt the lens, but we had to hold the match close enough to the front el­e­ment in or­der for the fire to blur. If your mo­tor skills aren’t quite as finely tuned as they could be, then use a lens hood to force the fire away from the glass.

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