Sunday, January 10, 2016

How to use lens flare to create atmospheric photos

Usually photographers work hard to avoid lens flare. It can be distracting, causing metering issues and introducing specular highlights. Sometimes, however, you can take advantage of it. For this technique to work, the sun needs to be near the edges of the frame, so check the forecast before you head out, and shoot early or late in the day when the sun is close to the horizon.

Position your model between the camera and the sun; the low sun will backlight the subject and give you some great flare. Don’t look directly at the sun through the viewfinder, though; if you’re concerned about this, use Live View to compose your shot. Finally, don’t just stick to one position – move around to change the perspective. Just be sure to keep your model between yourself and the sun. This also works if you are not shooting people like in the image below:



How to use lens flare to create atmospheric photos


1. Broaden your horizons 

On a sunny evening, find an open location, as for this technique to work the sun needs to be near the horizon, with a direct line of sight to your camera. To see when and where the sun will set in your location, visit www.suncalc.net

2. Get down low

If the sun is still a little high, try getting down low. You can lay down in some tall grass to place the sun behind the model, and allow the grass to intrude in front of the lens to add spots of blurry highlights and enhance that intimate mood.

3. Watch the background

Place the model between your camera and sun. The flare will wash over your model. Be aware of the background, too. You can get some really nice light there as well, and even have some fun with the  bokeh.

4. Bounce the light

Set your camera to aperture-priority mode. If you expose for the sunlight, the model will be too dark. Set some positive exposure compensation to brighten the model, and bounce light in using a reflector so you have a balanced exposure.

5. Step aside

If the flare obscures your subject, move the light source to the edge of the frame by stepping to one side. You can also try moving the light of the sun behind your subject, but that's a bit more tricky. Usually it helps if you move around until you see it how you like it. A little lens flare is nice. Too much and you can't see anything.

I hope these tips could be of use. Now we just need some sunny days to test them out!

23 comments:

  1. So beautiful Mersad! Super useful...

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  2. Sehr schöne Bilder und bei dir immer wieder diese gelben Lichter drinnen, die mir so gefallen, die machen eine besondere Stimmung.
    Liebe Grüße

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  3. I am bookmarking this post for future use. thanks. it is to funny but my post that is scheduled for Monday has this flare in it. mine was by accident and i did not even know what i did. now i do. i am going in now to add an update at the bottom to come here to learn what i accidentally did.

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    1. That's fun. Well sometimes we discover by accident something that we like. Happened to me more then once.

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  4. joli photo j aime bcp le traitement ;o)

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  5. I love to capture sunbursts peeking through trees or over horizons! Thanks for the tips.

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  6. Lens flare can be fun! I've yet to master it, mine usually come out best when they are happy accidents. :) Or maybe it's like you say, playing around with angles til the magic happens. Good advice and tips!

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  7. Lens flare can be fun! I've yet to master it, mine usually come out best when they are happy accidents. :) Or maybe it's like you say, playing around with angles til the magic happens. Good advice and tips!

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  8. Thank you so much, Mersad, for the tips!! Your information is terrific and helpful!! Have a great new week!!

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  9. Beautiful captures. Thank you for the tips. I have played around with lens flare a bit and do love the atmosphere it adds.

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  10. Good tutorial of the creative use of lens flair with your excellent examples. Also you have the best models.

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  11. Lovely! I love lens flare!!! I've just blogged some low-sun photos from tonight. Sunsets are wonderful. Thanks for the tips!

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  12. Some great tips and wonderful photos. Thank you

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  13. I especially love the last two shots!

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  14. Beautiful images, Mersad! Thanks for the tips! Enjoy your new week!

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  15. It's an interesting effect, I've often noticed I get it but usually try to retake it. Now I may look for the beauty and interest instead.

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  16. A good topic. I have fun playing with solar flare from time to time.

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  17. Lovely examples! I find that standing in the shadow of a tree trunk and then shooting into the general direction of the sun can yield interesting results.

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  18. I always love and appreciate your photography tips.

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    ReplyDelete

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