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Photography Lesson: How to capture sun flare in your photos

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Photography Lesson: How to capture sun flare in your photos

Hello and welcome to another photography lesson. Take your seat and pull out your cameras.

What’s that Jeremy? You like my outfit today? Well, thank you.

Sun flare is a technique that I love, and is one of the first that I started playing around with. Here’s a photo I took 6 years of Lacey, when she was teeny and a little slow going in the hair growing department. It was the first time I’d ever captured sun flare and I was so excited. I realised how fun {read: addictive!} it was.

Photography Lesson: How to capture sun flare in your photos

Sun flare is easy and fun, and can be done with a proper camera or any photo-taking device. It’s also the photography prompt for our photo a day challenge this coming Saturday {tomorrow!}.

What’s sun flare?
It’s when light entering the lens of your camera, and creating streaks, or shapes in your photo.

Here’s 6 easy tips for making sun flare happen in your photos.

1. You need sunshine. It’s the essential ingredient.
If you’re lacking in sunshine, then you’ve got a problem. Wait for a day that the sun is out to experiment with this technique.

2. Choose your time of day.
You can shoot at any time of day, but the best light is going to be early in the morning or at night. It’s when the sun is going to less harsh, and at a lower height. If you’re going to shoot in the middle of the day, the sun will be directly above you, so you’ll need to get down low to shoot.

Photography Lesson: How to capture sun flare in your photosImage source: BigStock Photo

3. Point your camera at the sun.
That’s how it works. Point your camera at the sun to take your photo. You can get your subject to block the sun a little, and play around with the light that way. If you’re using a DSLR or the OM-D E-M10, set it to P-mode and choose your focal point. You’ll want to focus on the object, but not the sun itself.

4. Play with your aperture too.
If you can play around with your camera settings, then do {you can do this on the P-mode on your OM-D E-M10, using the top dial on your camera. If you use a smaller aperture for your photo, it will allow less light into your photo and result in a more controlled sun flare {a star-like flare}. If you use a larger aperture, then it will allow lots of light in, resulting in a very light photo and less defined sun flare shape. Play around and see what you like best.

5. Tap the screen!
When I’m shooting sun flare with my phone, it’s so bright that I can hardly see what I’m shooting… but I shoot anyway. I just try my luck and see what happens. Tap the screen where your subject matter is, so that it can be in focus.

Photography Lesson: How to capture sun flare in your photos

6. Move around.

Don’t just take one photo, take many. Move around and let the sun flare change too. Move so it’s behind a tree, or a person. See how it works when you shoot from down low, or up high. Experiment. Play around.

Have a little fun with it, and happy snapping. I look forward to seeing your photos.

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  • I love this effect! I have a favourite photo of mine with the sun streaming in through the beautiful Karri trees in the south west of WA 🙂

  • I absolutely love Sun flare. Such gorgeous examples lovely. Jx

    • Me too! It’s an ongoing love affair. 😉

  • Haidee Ball

    Wish I’d know about this prompt last Thursday/Friday. We actually had some sun then…

    • The sun is hiding from me today too, cheeky thing.

  • I also love this effect but never realised it was called ‘sun flare’

    • Ah, you learn something new every day. 🙂

  • Adriana


  • carolann

    Loveeeee sunflare but yes its very camera shy today.

    • So frustrating. I hope you managed to get a shot. x

  • Thanks for the post. I was actually planning on googling “how to shoot sun flare” before Saturday. 🙂

  • Rosie Smith

    Be careful pointing your camera directly at and focusing on the sun. Sometimes that can damage your lens. Or so I’ve been told.

    • Oh yes, I remember that from last year. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Katie

    If the sun comes out today I will definitely try this. It’s supposed to rain all day.

    • It rained everyday since Saturday. SO SO cheeky!

  • I do love a good sun flare – makes for such a pretty photo. I like your tips about moving around and touching the screen and just taking lots of photos… there could be absolute magic made. x

  • This looks like such a fun effect, and it sounds so easy to play with. I can’t wait to try it out!! 🙂