Shooting Challenge: Sandwich Bag Filter

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Light leaks create some of the most serendipitous moments in photography. But in digital, they're usually created by faking it in post production. For this week's Shooting Challenge, you'll use a 2-cent sandwich bag to recreate the effect.

The Challenge

Simulate a light leak by wrapping your lens in a plastic bag. See how below.

The Technique


The idea comes courtesy of Jesse McGrady (and PetaPixel, where you'll find the full tutorial). It's this simple: You take a sandwich bag. Tear/cut a hole in the middle of the bottom. Then wrap this bag around your lens so the edges infringe upon the frame a bit (leave the center open for clarity). As an added bonus, you can actually color this bag with marker to augment of the light effect.

To get the most bang for your buck, McGrady advises that you "try and catch some direct sunlight in the plastic to get the light-leak effect. Also you kinda need light hitting the bag so shooting with all your light behind you will not really work."


And as always, experiment, experiment, experiment.

The Example

Our lead shot is by Jesse McGrady. Note that it uses purple marker in this photo to get that especially cool flare.


The Rules

0. No watermarks. They're so ugly.
1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a native resolution sized shot in email.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, April 1st at 10AM Eastern to with "Bag" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameBag.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameBagWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!