Embracing optical distortions can enhance the feeling of a photo and even create unique compositions that you can only see through a lens. See how you can use flare and glare to add a burst of light to your next photo – perfect for a washed out day at the beach or getting creative indoors.
Look Into the Light.
Image by mirandanderson
It's not uncommon to completely avoid photographing directly into your main source of light. This helps prevent unpredictable exposures and harsh contrast, but it's also ideal for creating lens flare or glare. Placing a subject between you and the light can help you find that sweet spot where it bends and streaks the most.
Experimenting with the sun when it is low in the sky is a great place to start, but artificial lights can also create unique results. Always try different angles to see how it changes the final image.
Image by heidinauss
Flare is caused by bright rays of light bouncing between the layers of glass inside of your lens. Finding a reflective surface brings this effect from inside your lens, out onto surfaces within your composition – creating glare. A window, glass table, or even a puddle can reflect light that you can use to create dreamy streaks and stars.
Make it Subtle.
Image by stellagl
When used, elements of flare and glare don't always have to be central to the composition. Trying to control the size of the streaks by shifting your perspective is helpful, but even simply placing the light along the edge of the frame can help create the effect you want without being too distracting.
Use the Highlights slider in the Tone tool to bring back some tone to otherwise completely blown out areas of flare or glare. This helps reduce the extreme contrast and makes the light feel less harsh.