A character takes a picture with a camera, and the photo develops, revealing that the photographer had his/her finger(s) on the lens or left the lens cap on, obscuring the subject of the photo. Early cameras used a second lens, directly above the main lens, to provide the viewfinder's view. Since the lens which the photographer is looking through is separate from the lens which will expose the film when the shutter is clicked, it was easy to unknowingly cover the exposing lens. Since most twin-lens cameras were film cameras, the mistake would not be discovered until the film was developed, long after the opportunity to retake the photo had passed.

SLR cameras use a mirror and prism to show the exact view through the lens in the viewfinder, making this mistake unlikely. Digital cameras display the image immediately after it's taken, allowing this mistake to be quickly corrected should it happen. However it's possible with a rangefinger camera, such as the Leica M that's still popular among photojournalists.

See also BodyWipe. Not to be confused with the [[Franchise/FatalFrame Camera Obscura]] or FilmTheHand. Nor should it be confused with the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera_Obscura Camera Obscura]], from which this trope [[JustForPun derives its name.]]


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', [[SupremeChef Sanji]]'s first WantedPoster had a horribly drawn picture of his face instead of the photos on the posters of the other Straw Hat Pirates. This happened because Attache, the Marine Photo Officer in charge of taking said photos, had accidentially left the lens cap on when trying to take a picture of Sanji.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/AmbushBug did this in one of his 1980s miniseries.

* ''Film/CrocodileDundee'':
-->'''Neville Bell''': Oh no, you can't take my photograph.
-->'''Sue Charlton''': Oh, I'm sorry, [[MagicalCamera you believe it will take your spirit away]].
-->'''Neville Bell''': No, you got lens cap on it.
* ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'': [[IntrepidReporter Polly Perkins]] spends much of the movie with only two frames left on her only roll of film, and wants to save them for a truly awesome photo. At one point she accidentally shoots the ground while running away, reducing it to one. In the film's denouement, she decides to take a photo of [[spoiler: Joe Sullivan]], only for Joe to look at her and say ''"Lenscap."''
** Annoyingly, she could still have taken that picture. With the lens cap on, there would have been no light - meaning no exposure. Being that the while movie is 40's retro technology, that was probably a manual camera. If she didn't advance the film, she could have taken the cap off and shot that frame again.
%%* ''Film/SpiderMan2'': Happens to Peter.

* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', Rincewind uses a camera flash to defeat an EldritchAbomination and later finds out that he only has a photo of his thumb to show for it.
* In the original ''Literature/CheaperByTheDozen'' book, the father of said dozen children wants the removal of his children's and his own tonsils filmed. Since he wants to direct the filming of his own tonsil removal, he stays conscious during the procedure, and suffers great pain because of this. The pain turned out to be all for naught when the cameraman revels he accidentally left the lens cap on.
* ''Literature/AutobiographyOfRed'' has a variant. It describes a sequence of art photos made by the main character, Geryon, one of which is just a shot of his pants leg and shoe. This is because another character saw he was about to take an ill-advised photo of some soldiers and pushed the camera out of sight of them at the last second. Geryon apparently decided to ThrowItIn.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* There was an episode of ''{{Series/CSI}}'' where they started trying to identify the taker of a photograph by the print of the picture of his thumb he left over the lens (until they decided they could get more information by looking in the reflection of the subject's eyes. That episode was worrying on so many levels.)
* ''Series/MadTV'': one part of an [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkCSbIJO3EQ Average Asian skit]] ends with this.

* From Heywood Banks' "[[GroinAttack Trauma to the Groin]]":
--> Too bad we left the lenscap on the camera by mistake/'Cause grandpa weren't too happy about the second take

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* There is a running gag in the ''ComicStrip/{{Curtis}}'' comic strips where Curtis' barber claims to have met someone famous. When asked to show proof, he will inevitably produce a photograph of himself with his arm around the celebrity... except that the "celebrity" will be obscured by a finger.
* ''ComicStrip/USAcres'': [[http://www.garfield.com/usacres/vault.html?yr=2013&addr=130316 Wade forgot the lens cover on when he tried to take a picture of the Trough Ness Monster]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/TheSims3'' has this occur from low photography skill, making the photos near worthless.
* ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' has {{White Dwarf Star|let}} Axel trying to rekindle his fame by fighting Adell and "rescuing" Rozalin, who he believes Adell has kidnapped, and having it filmed by the crew of his poorly rated travel show. Although he loses the fight ([[CurbStompBattle badly]]), the director is sure they can edit the footage into an epic scene...or could if the zombie cameraman hadn't left on the lens cap.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', in an area you must explore to get the GoldenEnding, there is the option to watch a series of old video tapes. However, nothing is shown, because they were either filmed in dark rooms, or with the lens cap left on.
---> [[spoiler: Asriel]]: Okay, [[spoiler:[[HelloInsertNameHere (Player Name)]]]], are you ready? Do your creepy face! AHHHHH!! Hee hee hee! Oh! Wait! I had the lens cap on... What!? You're not gonna do it again...? Come on, quit tricking me! Haha!

--->In the next tape...

--->[[spoiler: Asriel]]: Howdy, [[spoiler:(Player Name)]]! Smile for the camera! Ha, this time I got YOU! I left the cap on... ON PURPOSE! Now you're smiling for noooo reason! Hee hee hee.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In the first episode of ''WebAnimation/BattleForDreamIsland'''s third season, Ruby is implied to have made this mistake every day for ''[[UpToEleven three years]]'' because she didn't know what a lens cap is.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadrunner'': Coyote uses a [[ShoePhone gun disguised as a camera]], only for it to literally backfire because he left the lens cap on.
* Happens on ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'', when Dee Dee takes photos of his lab and plans to show it to their mom. Fortunately for him, his lab is barely seen due to Dee Dee's fingers being in the way. Unfortunately, Dexter had just gone through an entire ''Film/JamesBond'' {{homage}} episode to get the photos, which makes Dexter's adventure a ShaggyDogStory (unless you count him taking down a cruel boss at the photo lab).
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' episode "The Sea Haunt": Hadji tries to take a picture of the title monster but all there is on the photograph is a fingerprint.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Fred and Barney capture the legendary whale Adobe Dick and Barney takes a photo of it before it escapes. Unfortunately, the picture was covered by Barney's thumb, which was a BrickJoke earlier in the episode.
* The ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' episode ''Megadoomer'' had this happen at the end, with the HumongousMecha's {{Invisibility}} failed and Dib tried to take pictures of it.
* When WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants made a movie of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, cameraman Patrick left the lens-cap on so he wouldn't misplace it.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/HuckleberryHound'' short "Huck of the Irish", Huck is sent to Ireland by the magazine employing him to take pictures of the elusive leprechaun. At the end of the cartoon, when he showed the pictures to his boss, they were all black, leading his boss to believe that [[GlamourFailure leprechauns cannot be photographed]]. Huck reveals to us that it was actually because he forgot to take the lens cap off.
* On ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'', Irving manages to do this with an ''imaginary'' camera. [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext Yeah...]]
** In another episode, Candace tried to bust her brothers by taking a picture of their latest great idea with her cellphone. When she went to show it to her mom, she found that her thumb was in front of the lens.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* That famous picture of George W. Bush looking through the binoculars and they have caps on (which may or may not have been manipulated; [[http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/binoculars.asp undetermined according]] to ''{{WebSite/Snopes}}'').
** A similar picture exists with Bill Clinton, of course.
** And Amir Peretz, then-Minister of Defence of Israel, has a ''[[http://flix.tapuz.co.il/v/watch-3335401-%D7%A2%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%A8_%D7%A4%D7%A8%D7%A5_%D7%95%D7%94%D7%9E%D7%A9%D7%A7%D7%A4%D7%AA.html video]]''.