Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add a Light Beam to Your Photos

There are literally a ton of things you can make and do in Photoshop because it’s such a versatile program. You can edit photos billions of ways; you can add different backgrounds, change hair color, add textures, and much more.

One thing you can also do in Photoshop adds a lighting effect to your photos. If you have a dull picture, adding light can enhance it. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to add light to a picture. This might sound a little confusing, but just think about what emits light? A lamp, a campfire, a window with sun coming in, a spotlight, pretty much just about anything you can think of.

In this tutorial, I am going to use a spotlight for example. I think spotlights work in a really neat way because they can add a focus on your image and also add light at the same time. For this tutorial to work best, try and choose a picture of an object or person in front of a black background (or any solid background would work). Some great sites to find an image to work with are sxc.hu and morguefile.com. You can use any picture on these websites for free too!

So let’s begin.

Step 1) Open up your picture in Photoshop by going to File > Open. For the sake of this tutorial, I am going to use a picture of a spotlight and not have anything under it. You can choose a picture of a person or an object. You could even just use the paint bucket to create a black background and make your own barren spotlight.

Step 2) Make sure your layer is flattened and then create a new layer on the layer tool box. The hotkey is CTRL + J.

Step 3) Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool on the vertical menu bar, draw out your light beam downward. Usually, this will be in a triangle shape.

Step 4) Now select the Elliptical Marquee tool. This is that will create that nice oval on the bottom of the light beam as it hits whatever you’re aiming it at.

Step 5) Apply the Elliptical Marquee tool. Just hold down your mouse and make a nice oval at the bottom of the beam. Try this until you’re happy with the result.

Step 6) Select the Gradient Tool. Now select what color you want to the beam to be. It can be orange, red, white (most common light beam color), or any color really. Set it as Foreground to Transparent.

Step 7) Click on your mouse and drag the gradient tool line in the direct from the top of the light downward.

Step 8) Create another layer by clicking CTRL + J and put it in your background and the light beam layer.

Step 9) Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool again.

Step 10) Drag an oval shape again at the end of the beam and fill it in with your solid color again.

Then you’re finished and you have a neat looking light effect. Feel free to add textures (like a brick texture in my example) for an even cooler effect.

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