I like to use overlays when I edit my images to add creative color effects, and there's nothing better than having overlays that are real photographs instead of created purely digitally.

I created this pack with 170 free overlays of light trails and light streaks to help enhance my own photographs, and decided to share it here for free.

You can use them to add that extra creative touch to images. You can scroll down to see an example where I make use of one of these overlays. These light trails don't have the same look light leaks, from old film cameras, but they can sometimes approximate the look when tweaked a little bit.

Download light trail pack

Usage Example

Below is an example of one of the light trails used on a dark fashion photograph. The light trail is subtle, but it adds just a touch of extra interesting dimension to the final image.

And here are the steps to arrive at that result:

1. Drag the desired light trail file into a new layer. Right-click and select Convert to Smart Object so that we don't lose quality as we resize the layer.
Add to new layer
2. Set the blend mode to Screen to that the color of the underlining images punches through the black in the overlay. At this point you can also lower the opacity of the overlay layer to reduce the effect.
Blend Mode change
3. You can move the overlay around to find the perfect spot for it. Don't be scared to also rotate it, stretch it and resize it. This is optional, but here I added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer clipped to the overlay layer to increase the saturation of the overlay a little.

You could also apply something like some Gaussian Blur to the overlay layer so that the edges are less defined.
Adjust saturation
4. Finally you can use the eraser tool to remove parts of the overlay that don't work as well. Photoshop will warn you at this point and you'll have to revert back to working on a rasterized layer.

That's Ok if you're sure that you won't need to resize the layer anymore. If you want to keep working on a Smart Object, you could instead add a layer mask and mask out certain areas.
Erasing certain sections of the overlay