What's the effect in photography that these paintings are trying to copy where the colors get blown out and faded at the edges, and the colors start to get all wonky (full album, two examples below):

Is it during processing the photos, or are they like old film type light leaks or something?

I assume they're all the same thing in these examples, but maybe they're not, like the baseball pitcher painting seems like multiple things going on

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Photographers don't call that "effects" (which implies these are wanted) but "mishaps". \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Jun 29, 2023 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xenoid "mishaps" are definitely wanted though, noise/light leaks are a mishap/defect, and they are often under titled "effects" presets in programs etc. but yk semantics \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2023 at 0:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ fun fact: the glowing effect in analog film and movies is known as "halation" and is caused by the thickness of the cellulose film reflecting light between front and back, allowing visible leakage at high-contrast points. The edge effects are "vignette", which can be negative (darker, most common) or positive. \$\endgroup\$
    – dandavis
    Jul 16, 2023 at 6:00

2 Answers 2


This is only an opinion. And as I am not a native English speaker I could be wrong.

If you want an "effect" it could be flares, glows, or blurs.

  • A flare is multiple bounces or reflections of the light on the internal glass of the lens, e.g.:

Example of lens flare

  • A glow is the dispersion of the light due, to either atmospheric elements like fog or a feature on the lens, like a filter or simply smudges. Soft focus photo of a bottle

  • One specific case is when it is directional and can be called a star or streak: A light star pattern on the sun

  • A blur could be something out of focus or something moving fast across the frame.

A photo where the bus in the background is blurred due to its motion

If you want a "defect", probably a light leak:

Credits: Ross - Adrian Lux on Flickr

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ty for the images Saaru Lindestøkke! \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Jun 30, 2023 at 16:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ TYVM! No you're right, I appreciate it. I think I keep thinking it's some other kind of effect for the edges but I assume it must be just a specific type of light leak. I also had looked into polaroids that looked "smudged" and it seems to be when the chemical developer collects in an area instead of being evenly distributed across the photo, but I don't know if there is a name for that kind of defect that would make it easy to look up a ton of examples. But yeah, all sorts of defects I'll have to look into more. thanks again \$\endgroup\$ Jul 7, 2023 at 9:29

I like those effects also. I think the images you show have three effects that are available in photoshop and probably in other image editing programs. The effects are posterization, glow or diffusion, and masking then blur.

Posterization causes the colors to change more suddenly, as is typical of many paintings. Glow or diffusions adds halation and soft edges that soften the image, as shown in your examples. Masking then blur enables you to select an area and then to blur it, as is the background in the baseball player image.

All of these effects can be adjusted to be stronger or weaker.

All of these effects will require some skill in post-processing and in using a program like Photoshop. That said, many image-editing programs, including Photoshop, have filters that will produce a version of these or similar effects in a fairly simple way.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Halation was a term I only discovered recently lol which is handy. I'm just looking for more terms like that I can refer to to find more real life examples for reference, it's replicating them myself digitally that I think I can figure out on my own alright, thank you \$\endgroup\$ Jul 7, 2023 at 9:33

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