Technique Thursday – Shooting with Sun Flare, Part 2

We are returning this week to share a few more images that incorporate sun flare in a way that enhances the story the photo is telling.  I love that each of these photos is so completely different, and that we are showing both film and digital images.

Joshua Gull  – Shooting with flare on film is always interesting because you never know exactly what you’re going to get…which is compounded even more with a camera like my Mamiya C330f TLR because you’re not even looking through the lens that is taking the actual photo. I’ve found that I personally like to compose an image so that there is obvious flare through the lens and then slightly move so that the sun is just out of frame or obscured by something like the top of a tree or building. Doing this usually gives me a mild flare that always turns out interesting and still keeps good contrast on the subject of the photography. I also like older film cameras and lenses for this as they have more character especially when you introduce flare.

Posy Quarterman – Photoposy – I find that afternoon evening (lower) light is easier for catching good flare. I either move my subject or move around my subject until I find good flare or glow. Focusing can be really hard with a backlit subject, so I’ll often hold up my hand to block out some of the light while I focus, and then remove it (obviously) to shoot.

Shoot manual. Practice. Fail. Try again. That’s my best advice for all techniques. Ha! 😉

Kia Gregory – I love this little spot that I shoot at because of the way the light falls. On this day the sun was just starting to drop behind the hills and trees and while I was getting my girl in the frame I saw the light hitting just right, focused on her shadow, and snapped.

Daniele Rose – Lavendar & Twine – When using the sun as a focal point, or to provide a little extra visual interest in a photograph, I find it works best if you either shoot at an angle or use the subject or their surroundings to partially diffuse the light.  Too much light flooding into the lens causes the image to be excessively hazy.

Natalie Gibbs – I love the feeling that a little flare gives to an image.  My most important tip would be not to overdo it… one or two images in each gallery seems to work well for me.  Too much flare and it just starts to look like a mistake.  And I have definitely had moments in my career where I get absolutely sick of the romantic sunsetty flare look.  In this image, I love the combination of the morning sunlight with the mother’s big smile… it just made me feel warm and happy.

I always find that more flare enters the final image than it appears will through the viewfinder.  I try to keep the light source out of frame and shade with my left hand (I hate messing with lens hoods) to get just a *touch* of flare in the corner, and when the photograph is processed, there seems to be just the right amount.  If you can see individual light rays, you’re really rocking it.

Michelle Warren – MW Foto – Shooting into the sun can have great outcomes. I try to wait for the right light when there is some or a lot of diffusion. Either a bit of clouds or haze or foliage so it’s not so harsh coming straight at the lens. Some of the best opportunities to get cool flare are right before sunset but that also can be the harshest direct light so look for ways to position you and your subject between some tress with the light coming through or something that will help soften the light a bit if there aren’t clouds or haze in the sky to do it naturally. Also, always shoot in Manual mode!!! If’ you’re an AV kind of shooter you will go crazy with the way it will under and over expose the images!!!

Abbie McFarland (me) – Shooting primarily film, I tend to shy away somewhat from sun flare, and either shoot in open shade or lots of tree filtered sunlight.  However, at this particular session, I shot a roll of tri-x on my Holga, and just kind of had fun with experimenting.  My Holga in particular is a camera that I am more apt to just embrace quirky photos with……you just never know what you will get.  This image is also double exposed and had a bit of a ghostlike effect that was trippy and different.


Thanks so much to everyone that shared sun flare images with Let the Kids!

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