How to use Lens Flare to your advantage

A post by: Katie McEnaneyPPFlare can be a polarizing topic in photography, and are many articles written on how to prevent or eliminate lens flare. But there are many situations in which you can enlarge your photos creative lens flare./PPIMG class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-64287″ alt=”McEnaney-flare-columns” src=”http://www.photo-natural.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wpid-McEnaney-flare-columns.jpg” width=”600″ height=”400″/PPLens flare and Sun flare are terms that are often confused in the photography literature. Sun flare generally refers to the Sun run in a vuurwerkshape, while lens flare is an artifact of stray light bouncing around the lens and is recorded by the sensor. This article will focus on lens flare, but you can read more about using Sun flares to create dramatic images./PPLens flare comes in several varieties but all of them are related to the light (generally of the Sun) bouncing around in the lens. The circular, or curved areas of light, around the Sun, somewhat like a natural sun dog, as well as the more common stray flashes of light, or dots and dashes of light in a line./PPIMG class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-64288″ alt=”McEnaney-flare-varieties-snowshoer” src=”http://www.photo-natural.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wpid-McEnaney-flare-varieties-snowshoer.jpg” width=”600″ height=”400″/PPMost articles are full of advice for how to avoid lens flare, that a good place to start is if you plan to do the opposite. The first strategy for avoiding lens flare is to use a lens hood on your camera, which blocks light coming into the camera lens from the sides. The second strategy is to limit the use of filters for your lens, such as extra glass, especially low quality glass, can lead to more flare. There is some debate about whether a UV filter only helps to eliminate or accentuate flare, but the pricier the glass, the less likely there would be adverse effects./PPSo, if you want to intentionally in lens flare to create an image, you must first remove your lens hood. As a result, more sunlight directly into your lens. What filters, you can experiment with your filters remove all together or try to combine more than one filter (such as a UV filter and a polarizer) simultaneously. I have not found much difference between keeping or removing my UV filter, so I tend to keep on for convenience and lens protection./PPIMG class=” wp-image-64289 alignright” alt=”McEnaney-flare-bw-woods” src=”http://www.photo-natural.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wpid-McEnaney-flare-bw-woods.jpg” width=”350″/PPConsider using a zoom lens instead of an excellent lens when shooting for flare. Zoom lenses tend to have more internal elements than prime lenses, which lead to more potential to interfere and extra flair. Zoom lenses also provide you with a range of focal lengths and compositional options that allow you to manipulate the flare’s best place exactly where you want it in your image./PPYou need the Sun in, or near the edge of the frame to make successful flare. This is easier to achieve in the early morning or late afternoon when the Sun is lower in the sky. Be careful any time you shoot directly into the Sun, because there is potential to your camera sensor and to damage your eyesight. Make sure you wear sunglasses and composing shots quickly. Often you can flare effects with just a hint of the sun comes from the top edge of the image, which will also reduce potential damage to you or your camera./PPFlare effects are often more pronounced on narrower openings, such as f/22, since the narrower opening in the lens the light to scatter more potential. But, as you can see from the comparison shots below (at f/8 and f/22 top-bottom), you can lens flare on many openings./PIMG class=”size-full wp-image-64291″ alt=”McEnaney-flare-compare-top” src=”http://www.photo-natural.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wpid-McEnaney-flare-compare-top.jpg” width=”600″ height=”400″Shot at f/8/PIMG class=”size-full wp-image-64290″ alt=”McEnaney-flare-compare-bottom” src=”http://www.photo-natural.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wpid-McEnaney-flare-compare-bottom.jpg” width=”600″ height=”400″Shot at f/22PPDepending on your topic, you may have to shoot in manual or exposure compensation to overexpose your scene (positive values) relative to your camera sensor. Because lens flare extra light in your camera requires, dim or darken your subject might appear differently than intended. Meter for your topic (or set exposure compensation on a positive value), and you will find a subject well exposed against the extra brightness of the flare background./PPFlare become trendy as a way to emphasize the brightness or the perceived warmth of a scene. Lens flare is even started making inroads into films, such as J.J. Abrams ‘ Star Trek reboot, popularized in where he lens flare and lighting used to cement the futuristic nature of the film. Post processing to add lens flare to an image is even common among portrait photographers./PPHow will you share your flare? Show us in the comments below!/PPIMG class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-64292″ alt=”McEnaney-flare-waterfall” src=”http://www.photo-natural.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wpid-McEnaney-flare-waterfall.jpg” width=”600″ height=”400″/P
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