Shooting Against the Light: Flare Up Your Frame
Immerse your senses in the warmth of the sun even as the flare fills your eyes, lens and your photographs.
While it is a fact that flare is indeed an optical flaw, it cannot be denied that it is a wonderful effect to add in your pictures. Oddly enough, dirty lenses are more prone to flare. Wide angle lenses have a greater propensity to cause flare when the sun is in the frame. Also, complex lenses like zooms, which have more optical elements, will flare more than single focal length lenses.
How to Achieve it
Getting usable flare that looks good in your photograph will take some trial and error. It is easy to go wrong with this technique. Flare occurs when strong rays of light enter the lens at an angle. For the flare to be easily visible, a darker background is preferable than a brighter one. Narrow apertures like f/8 or 11 will give you better looking flare. Apart from this, ensure that the sun is inside your frame, but towards the edges or just immediately outside your frame. Because the sun is such a strong source of light, your camera’s meter will reduce the overall brightness in the scene to a great extent. Therefore, you will need to adjust this by slightly overexposing.
A Dream-like Effect
Flare can also cause a loss of overall contrast which can make colours appear washed out and soft. When used well, this effect can look really good. Fashion and wedding photographers tend to use this effect in their pictures quite frequently.
Sunbursts (or starbursts) are created by sharp, pointillistic sources of light like streetlamp or the sun in the frame. To get a starburst, shoot at narrow apertures (f/8, 11, 16 and so on).
For more techniques on backlighting, click here.
This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Better Photography.Tags: Shooting Technique, Chandni Gajria, backlighting, shooting against the light, sun flares