Creating images with lens flare effect
Used judiciously, lens flare can add a sense of drama to an image. Mark Galer shows you how to fake it in Photoshop.
Lens flare is something you often see when a lens is pointed directly at the sun or a bright light. As the light reflects and refracts through the lens it reduces contrast, modifies colour and often produces repeating geometric patterns in the image, usually in the shape of the aperture. Mostly, photographers go to some effort to avoid lens flare. Lens hoods, for example, are designed to shield the front element from direct light and prevent lens flare. Same goes for barn doors on studio lights.
That said, lens flare is something that photographers occasionally seek out for that sun-washed aesthetic – think Easy Rider. However, it’s not the easiest thing to control in camera – some lenses are more prone to it than others, and the effect can change dramatically as the camera moves. Further, if you apply the effect in camera, you’re stuck with it. On the other hand, if you add the effect in post-production you can control exactly how and where it appears. And if you decide you don’t like it, it’s a simple matter to get rid of it...
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Creating images with lens flare effect; How to achieve a three dimensional effect with your pictures; Photoshop's Adaptive Wide Angle filter; Looking at digital SLR alternatives; Profile - David Knight; Fujifilm X-Pro 1; Nikon D4
This story was first published in the Digital Photography + Design June-July 2012 issue of Digital Photography + Design > June-July 2012.