If you haven’t noticed lately, I’m minorly obsessed with sun flares in my pictures. I’ve always thought they looked so beautiful and made pictures look so high fashion. I like to pretend I know what I’m doing
So incase the rest of you would like to pretend you know what you are doing too, here’s how (at least how I’ve figured out) to create sun flare in your shots.
Step 1: Get Cozy With Your DSLR
Sorry ladies (and gents?), no way around this one…you need to shoot on manual. I’ve never tried it on auto, so I can’t really say, but in order to get the right balance, you basically need to overexpose your shot. Auto works against this, so it probably just won’t work.
Step 2: Choose Your Time Of Day Carefully
The best time of day for shooting any shots is that last hour before the sun goes down. Same is true for getting sun flare. You need the sun to be low enough in the sky that you are almost shooting directly into it.
Step 3: Compose Your Shot
Yes, I know that goes against everything you’ve ever heard about photography, but you need to have the sun in or just barely out of your shot to get the flare.
Step 4: Adjust Your Settings
Here comes the time where you need to know your manual settings and be able to adjust them. Since shooting toward the sun will creat horrendous backlighting, you basically have to overexpose the shot so you or your subject aren’t just a dark blob. If you look at the pictures above, you can see which times I did this better.
Most of these shots are taken at ISO 100-200, f/4.5, and a rather slow shutter speed of somewhere around 1/50 sec. Depending on your light, you will need to play with these. The main point is that you want to allow a lot of light into the lens.
(Optional) Step 5: Turn On The Flash
Here you can see how much darker I look when there’s no flash, and then how much brighter I am with the flash on. The flash helps compensate for the backlighting. Sometimes you will find that you need to turn on the flash to fill the subject in with light.
The most important thing you can do is practice! The more I attempt to shoot sun flares, the better my shots get. It’s all about learning your camera settings and learning how to capture the light.
Each time you try this, your flare will look different. Sometimes I get the amazing colored dots, other times it’s rainbow lines, and others it’s simply a beautiful wash of lighting. Just as each photograph is unique, so is each sun flare.