May 23, 2017

Watch: 4 Tips on Creating Better In-Camera Lens Flares

Lens flares can add a nice touch to your images. Here's how to get them to look the way you want.

Though they were initially thought to be a technical mistake in the early days of cinema, lens flares have become an aesthetic choice for many filmmakers. (Some more than others, J.J. Abrams.) If you want to take your flare game to the next level, Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens shares a bunch of great tips on how to create the effect in-camera, as well as which tools will help you give them the appearance you're looking for.

Now, lens flares can totally be added and styled in post-production, but if you want a more organic look, creating them in-camera isn't all that difficult if you know a few tricks. Morgan lists four things that will help you out:

  • Take off your lens hood: Lens hoods are designed specifically to minimize flare, so you might want to remove yours when you start shooting.
  • Use an artificial light source: Flashlights, torches, cameraphone lights, lighters, candles...all of these things create some interesting lens flares. Experiment!
  • Control the light: It's not that hard to control the sun (when it comes to light flares, at least). If the flare is too intense, try to decrease the amount of light entering your lens by putting your subject in front of the sun a bit, or putting a building, structure, or material between the it and your subject.
  • Change your aperture, chance the flare shape: Your aperture will change the look of lens flares: open it up for a big, blobby flare, close it down for a spiky, star-like flare.
Credit: The Slanted Lens

What are some other tips for creating better lens flares? Let us know down in the comments!      

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