Have You Ever Found Yourself Wanting To Create Artistic Shots?

Creating a mood in a photograph is about much more than just focusing and snapping shot, or picking the perfect background. Although these things are important, they are not the only ones that matter. For photographers to develop the right mood and add character to every picture, inspiration has to come from within. The viewfinder of your camera is the medium through which your inspiration comes through.

Photographic effects can vary based on what you have in mind. But let’s focus more on the mysterious and romantic effects. Everybody wants to look at photos and be wowed. Although it’s easier said than done, as a photographer, you can explore artistic lens flare to add that breathtaking feel to your photos or bring out the dreamy, hazy look that will blow everyone away.

city sunset sunrise lens flare


Photographs are designed to capture special moments. They are supposed to build memories for generations to come, and there’s no better way to capture “that love in the air” feeling than by using the artistic lens flare. As photographers, we’re always looking for a moment of inspiration, or a way to add some drama to our images. And lens flare is a great way to do it.

For a photographer who wants to get in touch with their artistic side, this is the way to go. Using artistic lens flare spices up your photography, and we have created a simple guide to get you started.

What’s Lens Flare And How Does It Work

Before we move to discuss the various techniques you can use with artistic lens flare, let’s first talk about what exactly this is. After all, it’s not possible to understand how lens flare works if you don’t know what it is in the first place.

woman during sunset


Lens flare happens when light reflects and scatters (or “flares”) in your lens, causing spots or rings of sunlight in your image. Using it in an artistic way is about adding drama and individuality to your photos. Lens flare is technically an “error” but it can be a beautiful one, and can add an ethereal, dreamlike quality to your photos. Once you understand the theory behind how it works, you’ll see why professional photographers have been using lens flare for so long.

The Technical Aspect Of Lens Flare

Let’s begin with a review of the technical aspects of lens flare. So, the lens is one of the most important pieces of your equipment, and it comes with different elements. When you capture your image, the light will pass through the lens and will use a specified path directly towards the image sensor. The image sensor then makes the impression and alas! You have your photo.

But controlling lighting is not easy. Lens flare is created when the light that’s not needed for the creation of the image makes its way through the lens. However, the light will not move straight through the intended path towards the image sensor. It will reflect various times on the various elements on the lens before finally making its way to the sensor. This reflected light creates the lens flare.

The lens flare is an optical defect that will normally be seen in the photograph as circular discs, starbursts, or even as polygon rings. Lens flare is traditionally seen as an undesirable effect for the photographer. By producing bright streaks of light, the flare significantly affects the scene’s contrast and can also cause a washed out look.

But how can this adversity be converted into an opportunity? While lens flare is undesirable for some, there are some creative photographers who are using it to create striking images.

Sounds crazy, right? It’s not and below are 7 simple steps that can help you use lens flare to create the best photos.

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How To Get Creative With Lens Flare in 7 Simple Steps

  1. Shooting into the Sun

Lens flare can be achieved in no time by shooting into the sun. So, the first step is to allow the rays of the sun to hit the lens at a given angle. What you are looking to do here is to redirect the light so that instead of making its way directly to the image sensor, it reflects several times internally before finally reaching the sensor.

This is the light that makes the magic happen. If you are shooting indoors, use the window as the source of the sun rays.

  1. Block the Light Source Partially

You can only create lens flare by shooting against the sun or any other light source. But natural light is recommended. In case you want to creatively employ lighting effects, you can partially block the light source. If you are using the sun as the light source, that will be even more magical. But even for an indoor light source such as a window, partially blocking it will still have the same effect.

  1. Consider Turning on Manual Mode

When shooting in Auto mode, your camera is designed to adapt to lighting the best way it knows how and as you continue shooting, your camera can easily play some smart tricks along the way. As light penetrates through your lens, the camera will try to compensate for the brightness. This will cause under exposure of the subject and eventually it will not provide your desired lens flare. In order to avoid these scenarios, you must use manual mode. This will help in properly exposing the subject and eventually the quality of shots will be perfect.

lens flare in nature


  1. Aperture Settings

Your aperture can affect the appearance of the lens flare. If you close down the aperture, you will create complementary lens flares that will have sun-star effects. On the other hand, if you decide to shoot with a wide and open aperture, the background details will smoothen out and the dreamy, hazy effects that lens flare creates will now be visible. The amazing photos are a function of shooting in the sun + selective focus + shallow DOF + the dreamy effects + the lens flare. If you get all these things right, then you will automatically have a high-quality shot.

  1. Use Manual Focus

The lens you use will have 2 focusing modes; the manual and the automatic mode. The automatic mode is designed to make your job easier and is used by most photographers in most situations. If you are using automatic focus, the lens may have a hard time finding focus when shooting into the sun. However, turning on manual focus has its advantages. It allows you to fully focus the camera on the object and this will make sure that the photo looks fantastic.

  1. Take Lots of Shots

Creating lens flare in photography is often a deliberate effort. But even then, there’s always an element of surprise that you need to contend with. It’s simple if you are shooting directly into the sun, the light that comes through can affect your eyes. This will make it difficult for you to tell what you are about to get into the camera frame.

In addition to this, the appearance of the lens flare will also be determined by your position, the angle through which the light enters the lens, as well as the aperture settings on the camera. Taking only 1 shot would significantly reduce your chances of getting just the right shot. However, by taking lots of shots, there’s a chance that among 5 bad shots there will be 2 good or amazing ones. And since it doesn’t take any effort to take lots of shots, why not? It will make your job a whole lot easier.

creating a lens flare


Parting Shot

Photography is an art. Having an expensive camera at hand and a great scene to shoot is not always enough. From an artistic sense, photography has to be unique, add more drama and character to the scene and above all wow everyone who looks at these photos. There are many ways photographers have desired to shoot amazing photos but few can match up to the magic that lens flare adds to the picture. If you haven’t tried this before, it’s time to explore the 7 techniques we have offered above and see what we are talking about. Enjoy getting creative!

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