How to Use (or Avoid) Lens Flare in Photography

Flaring light behind a couple

People enjoying themselves in a field

Lens flare has always been avoided for years in photography. Lens flare occurs due to the scattering of light inside the lens that creates lens impurities and unplanned reflection. It was previously seen as a way to ruin the image, but now, photographers are using it to create acclaimed shots. 

What Causes Lens Flare?

While there are many environmental factors that can lead to lens flare, here are the most important reasons for it:

  • Lens elements 
  • Focal length 
  • Lens quality 
  • Filters 
  • Dust or grease

Ways to Avoid Lens Flare

Lens flare should only be used when you plan it properly, but other than that, you can use the following ways to avoid it:

  • Get a lens hood 
  • Primes or fixed focal lengths 
  • Be mindful of lens flares while composing 
  • Use a hand to block the sunlight from the lens 

How to Use Lens Flares in Photography? 

There are some instances where embracing lens flare is also an option since it can complement the picture you are taking. Lens flare can make the picture look overexposed, covers up a large part of the scene, don’t have contrast, and can be hard to edit. However, their intentional use can look quite cinematic too! Lens flare can be a creative twist for portraits, product shoots, and street photography. 

Getting the flare right requires learning some shooting techniques, getting the proper equipment, and having a bright source of light. But you can also add them in artificially through Lightroom and Photoshop! 

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