Light Leaks

Light leaks can be cool. But sometimes they can ruin a perfectly good picture. If you are experiencing unwanted light leaks, or are looking to increase the amount of leaks you are currently getting, then read on!

Two leaks at the top

If you have an older Holga and you are experiencing streaks of light going from the top towards the centre of your images, then these two holes are the most likely culprits (as noted on Holgamods). You can either tape them up, or cover them up by using the 6x6 mask. Recent Holgas have had these holes filled in, so the leaks are no longer a problem. If you wanted to restore these holes, you could always try drilling them out. At your own risk of course.

Square leak in the middle

If you are experiencing a red leak in the middle of your image then the film counter window is the culprit. This is most common when using 220 or 35mm film in your Holga. If you are experiencing leaks when using regular 120 film, place a strip of tape over this window and fold the edge over to make a tab, so that you can easily remove it when winding. Sometimes you can get cool imprints in your pictures of the lettering from your paper backing through this window.

How can I get more light leaks?

Recently, there's not an awful lot you can do to make your Holga leak more, short of drilling the casing (no don't do that.. actually, do that then contact me with the results!). So the only way to inject some tasty leaks into your images is to obtain a fat roll. A fat roll is where the film base and backing paper overlap the top and bottom of the spool. Normal tightly wound spools have protection against leaks by the design of the spools, but fat rolls have no such luck. Light can come pouring in at the top and bottom producing images like the example shown below:

Once you have your fat roll, if you are feeling especially brave, you can give it a little squeeze to increase the risk of leaks. Once you are done squeezing, you'll need to wind the film back on tight, so as not to complete over expose the roll before you get it developed. The best method I've found to do this is to hold the spool between your thumb and index finger in one hand, and start pulling the edge of the exposed film backing off. Only pull out about an inch so you can see which direction to turn the spool. Once you know which direction, gently hold the paper in place with one hand while rotating the spool with your other hand. Once the edges of the film is covered by the plastic spool, seal it up as you would normally.