How to Capture Sun Flare in Photos

November 10, 2009

in Photography Tips, Photography Tutorials

Written by: Boybarian Dad from Boybarian Photo

Do you want to learn how to get sun flare in your pictures like this?

Sun flare has become very popular in today’s photography. It used to be that if you had some flare in your pictures, it was classified as a poor image (you got the exposure wrong). Nowadays, photographers are trying to get glare in a picture. One method is artificially with a photoshop action. Some of these are free downloads and others cost a little coin. However, they don’t always look just right.

The other method would be to capture the flare with the camera. This is the easiest and most cost effective approach. The other bonus is you don’t have to own a photo editing program. This method saves time so this is the route I always follow. So the enquiring minds want to know how it’s done. It’s literally as easy as slicing bread with a Wustof knife!

Here are the secrets:

1. You must have a Nikon. If you want try these secrets with a Canon, your entire image will turn out white.  (Just kidding!!)

2. This might seem silly, but shooting on a sunny day is kind of crucial.

3. It’s much easier to get the flare when the sun is at a low angle behind your subject (try mid morning or late afternoon).

4. Get your subject between the sun and your camera (create that line of site). This is nothing more than creating a straight line with the sun, the focused subject and the camera. Sometimes you will need to move around until you see the flare.

5. The more expensive glass (lens) you have the more difficult it can be to get sun flare. Try your kit lens, they work really well for shooting flare.

6. Remove your lens hood (at least until you get the hang of it). This will give you more of the potential to capture that sun ray. Once you are a sun flare pro, have fun with the lens hood. I always shoot with a lens hood to protect my lens. Sometimes I will cheat a bit and actually catch the sun flare with the tip of the lens hood.

7. Do not shoot wide open. The more the aperture is open, the more the detail will be lost from the flare. You still might get some flare, but it won’t be as defined. What do I mean by wide open? If your lens can open up to a f1.4, that is wide open. The lens is letting in more light than it would at f22. I tend to go for somewhere in between when I shoot flares (still try to properly expose your subject).

The real secret in shooting sun flares is to move around until you see it. Don’t be afraid get on your knees or climb up on something. Shooting flares can be fun, play around with your settings and try different things to get different looks, see what you come up with.

Boybarian Dad is a former I Heart Faces contributor, our resident “funny man” and (obviously) a huge fan of Nikon cameras. We’ve decided we like him and will keep him despite that terrible flaw. 🙂
Angie & Amy – I Heart Faces Co-Founders
(And the two “GO TEAM CANON!!!!!!!” girls)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mailain March 29, 2012

Of course you can do it with a Canon-camera. Jeez.


Elizabeth January 18, 2012

Great article! I love my Nikon. 🙂


Alicia Stanley September 23, 2011

My husband and I love flare, and only shoot Canon. 🙂 We get tons with our Canons. 😉


Maniniyot September 12, 2010

Haha. I thought everything about Nikon was real. Anyway, I will try it out with my Panasonic Lumix. 😀


Heather Schnider August 25, 2010

Thanks for the tutorial. Love NIKON 🙂


Ashley Valentin July 30, 2010

Haha! That’s a lie! I can do the same thing you just said to do with my Canon and get a lovely lens flare too! It doesn’t come out white at all! :p


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