Techniques that help capture the rays of the sun or flare. Read about them below, or register for your free photography journey here for access.
Photographs with sunbeams or flare are funny – some photographers consider them a mistake, others consider them art. I fall into the latter camp! I love the effect, and often enhance the sunbeams or flare that I capture in post processing.
To capture sunbeams, or rays from any light for that matter, use a small aperture – the higher the number, the more beams. This is a great technique for capturing twinkling holiday lights. With a small aperture, of course, you’re going to have to trade off with a long shutter speed or an underexposed subject. You can use a tripod to minimize blur, silhouette your subject, or use an off camera flash to expose the subject. (This picture is straight out of camera – the edited version is here.)
- You know how sometimes you can see sunbeams shining down through breaks in clouds on an overcast day? Duplicate that effect with trees, a fence, or anything else that will filter the light unevenly.
- To get the polygon-shaped flare spots in the image, put yourself and the sun at a diagonal to the subject. Tilt your camera until you find the most flare. You should be able to see it through your viewfinder.
- Capturing this kind of light often reduces the contrast in your images and makes them look washed out. Try increasing blacks in Lightroom or Camera Raw.
- Take off your lens hood, if you use one.