This is our new regular feature — a technique post on Thursdays.  What do you think?  Love it or hate it?  Tell us true.

I picked lens flare because I personally love it and wanted to learn more.   I think its a love it or hate it sort of thing.  I LOVE it. But I love urban outfitters catalogs and free people where I frequently see them use sun flare.  When I first started collecting submissions for this post (Monday :)), my first thought was that I was handicapped with lens flare by using film.  I was actually thinking maybe I do need a digital camera after all.  However, after getting both film and digital submissions, I realize I couldn’t be more wrong. Film holds it own and more.

But whatever the medium, I don’t think you can go wrong with lens flare. Its gorgeous.  My personal favorite is the rainbow flare — big surprise there, right?  Lets look at some examples and see what is what.

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credits (in no particular order):  brothers wright, tanja lippert, neal carpenter, wendy laurel, heather perrara, amelia johnson, shannon renee, caroline tran, fabio ventura, melody idol, jen badalamenti, andreanna armabula, lizzie metcalf, amanda chafe, the itchy eyes, john fong, mph photos, two birds photos, kjrsten madsen, darren roberts, leah kua, phenom image

I am no expert. And I’m not here to make comparisons. All I can say is WOW.

Who knew that I would put a simple post up on facebook and get all this glory.  What talented readers we have!

And regardless of film or digital or medium format or 35mm or portra or 400h or lab, sun flare can be had.  It seems the best advice we can take away from this is to experiment. Put that sun in your lens and see what happens. Take risks. Be adventurous.  And really push your limits.  And like always, get to know your gear.  Im out trying for some new sun flare today!  I will get that rainbow yet.

And thank you to all who submitted. This was fun. I learned a ton.  I am inspired and I cannot wait to do this again next week.




  • Margaret says:

    Oh my gosh!! Make my day, you used one of my photos! This is the coolest and proudest moment of my life!! Not counting having babies and getting married. 😉 Thank you!!! 🙂

  • Jonah says:

    Really interesting. Great topic. Also, great debate. I personally love it too. But after seeing so much flare I start to ask myself; would the shot be the same without it? Sometime, no doubt, it sets the mood and brings a sense of time and place to a shot like no other. But in some portraits I start to question weather it’s adding anything—enhancing the authenticity of the subject. Oh, and the black and white of the wedding ceremony took me there.

  • Justin says:

    I think the advantage digital has in the area of flare is that you can review the end result after taking the photo. It is quite hard to predict how flare will look through an optical viewfinder because of how the human eye processes images with flare. An “electronic viewfinder” camera would also be a great way to go.

    One advantage film has is that it less reflective than CMOS sensors (I believe) and that it better fills the image plane compared to a crop format digital sensor. So while with some digital images you will actually see a square “image” of the reflection of the sensor in strong backlight, you shouldn’t see this much with film.

    Film invites beautiful backlighting situations because of its wonderful highlight latitude, so flare is going to be an ever present friend in such shooting situations. 🙂

  • sarah c. says:

    Loved your compilation here. It makes me want to learn how to use film! I’m excited for your future Thursday posts.

  • anonymous says:

    Love the idea and the post itself! However, when speaking of technique, I read the article thinking that you would offer tips on how to accomplish lens flare rather than just showing beautiful examples and expressing how much you love it. Disappointed article with great photos.

    • Wendy says:

      Hey. The tips the photographers shared are really all the technique there is. Put the sun in the lens either partially obstructed by an object such as a tree or at the edge of the lens. It’s all experimenting. You don’t change how you would normally expose for the situation (backlight). Hood, no hood either way the sun is in the lens. Thanks for your comment. We appreciate you taking the time to write in. Next week we will be more clear

  • I love a good golden sunlight lens flare.

  • Karen Hibler says:

    These are such beautiful images. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  • Sam says:

    Love the technique post idea! And love this post in particular too! Great shots, all. I’m totally floored by that second one from Brothers Wright, of the wedding parties. I’ve never seen lens flare quite like that. I’d love to know if there’s anything done to accomplish that specific kind? It’s just…wow.

  • Thanks so much or including me in your feature! Really means a lot to be among some wicked talent! I have to admit, after seeing sun flare with film, I like it less than I did with digital, at least with my own images. It seems to really wash out some photos, rather that give me some of the the cool rainbows and such. It also is a lot less predictable. If I get a good flare photo, I more feel like I lucked out, rather than intentionally meant for it to look killer :). Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true. Anyhow, thanks again for the feature!

  • Lisa says:

    Where is the technique how-to? Great photos but a Tutorial would be helpful.

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