Ahh sun flares. One of my favorite things to capture in a picture. Sun flares used to be considered a flaw in a picture. However, they have become increasing popular with photographers lately, myself included. I try not to take every picture during a session with sun flares but if I see the opportunity, I catch them! Clients think I am bit nutty {well only sometimes} when I get excited over sun flares. I tell them to just trust me and they will see when they view their gallery. And when they do see it? They love it!

There are two ways to capture sun flares: artificially through Photoshop or other photo editing programs; and naturally. While there is nothing wrong with adding some flare in the editing process, I prefer natural sun flares. They look, well, more natural! So how do you do it?1. The best time of day to catch sun flares is when the sun is relatively low and behind your subject. The golden hours before sunset {1-2 hours prior} are best. You can also achieve the look mid-morning,

2. Make sure your subject is in between you and the light source. This will provide nice backlighting and make them look like they are bathed in the light.

3. Take the lens hood off. I always have a lens hood on my lenses more for protection than warding off glare. When starting off, you want to take the hood off to catch your flares. You can catch them with a hood but it’s easier with it off.

4. Keep your aperture closed. It’s easier to achieve sun flare when you are shooting with a smaller aperture {f/12 vs. f/2}.

5. And while you’re at it, keep your ISO low. 100 or 200 is best!

6. Don’t focus on the sun! You want your focal point to be on your subject with the sun {or light source} in the back. You may need to use manual focusing but I have never run to that problem.

7. Move around. You have to move around your subject to get the look that you are desiring. Try shooting down low. Switch up your angles. Catching sun flares is really fun!

Once you start shooting sun flares, you will be adding them to a lot of your pictures. I know I do!


Challenge time. It’s easy! Get out there and catch some flares! Make sure you share them on our Facebook wall.

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