Lens Flare: How To Use This Optical Effect

The Sun is a great source of inspiration, and it is also the main responsible for lens flare since it is the most intense source of light that we know of. Therefore, we must also bear in mind that it can do a lot of damage to our eyes, to our camera and finally to our photos, that is why it must be photographed with care. But do not underestimate the flares of your camera and give them a try. These flares that occur in the lens also add a very aesthetic and creative value. Knowing how to control the flares shows a perfect technical knowledge of your camera.

We have some tips for photographing this beautiful star in the article on how to photograph sunsets. Today we will deal with how to force a flare to use it when we have the right moment. We will leave a formally correct photograph to use this optical aberration to our advantage.

lens flare

What are flares or lens flares?

Flares are a type of flash, a stray light that suddenly enters the lens when lights that are too high appear in the field (not to be confused with the bokeh effect, the effect produced by blurring). Flares can be captured in different shapes and colors, such as circles or spots of light, star-shaped peaks or beams of light, and white haze, which acts as a veil that impoverishes the contrasts and intensity of the light. Black. These are all classic flares, well known for having spoiled many photographs. This is why they have earned a bad reputation, and most photographers prepare to prevent them from occurring.

lens flare

Let’s see some of the most used measures against flares, which will serve as a counterexample, what we should not do, from the optics side, if we are looking for a flare: Use parasols and cover the objective so that light is not reflected in the lens, you also avoid putting many filters and lenses with many lenses, as is the case with zoom lenses. Likewise, the lenses’ cleaning is taken care of, and lenses with anti-reflection treatments are used. All of this is what is done to prevent a flare from appearing in the photo. In our case, we will do the opposite.

But other factors that have to do with the composition and physical location of the elements that enter the frame also play a role. If we want to force a flare, the first condition is to expose ourselves to intense lights, such as the Sun. It also helps if we put objects in front, which are outlined by the light. In this way, there is dispersion and refraction in the light rays. So a flare can be easily seen in landscapes, backlights, or planes in which the light falls from the side, or the light appears on one side of the frame.

Even as a last resort, they can be added with editing software. Some filters and brushes can simulate realistic flares. This will allow us to have more control over the image and obtain a more careful finish.

From the point of view of audiovisual language, flares give a special meaning to photographs. They give tints of luminosity and also dreamy, or even become dreamlike, especially when iridescent flares are produced. A magical atmosphere is created, which is why lately they have become fashionable in photography, especially in wedding and pre-wedding photography. More and more photographers are using this optical defect as an effect to beautify images.