Capturing Sun Flares in Landscape and Portrait Photography

Sunflares to some are a pesky issue but when done right, you can use it as part of your photo. The best way to accomplish this is to use a small aperture. As you can see in the diagram, the smaller the aperture the more of a star shows up on the shutter. This is great at not only at getting the star shape in your flare but also helps to not make your image overexposed. The photos in this post were taken at about f/8-f/11 to get the best flare. This also depends on what time of day you are shooting are. For a day time shot go for a bigger aperture so you don’t lose the light in your photo. 


Lenses with different apetures


Sunset or Sunrises for Sun Flares

A creative way to get sun flare in your landscape photography is to use the sunset or sunrise to your advantage. I took this photo at Grand Teton National Park at sunrise. The flare was created using three differently exposed images called braketing. This allowed me to expose all parts of my image and not blow out the sunflare.


Faces for Sun Flares

For an artistic approach you can capture a sunflare where your subject’s face is. This will create a whole new look but not showcase the features of your subject’s face. This is not best for portraits but can make your photos creative and unique. To do so you will need to have the subject face away from the sun, so their back is towards the sun. You will then have to shuffle around and position yourself until you get the best position of your sun flare. I used a prime lens and a larger aperture. 


Daylight Sun Flares

It is definitely possible to capture a good sunflare in the middle of the day. This was possible with an ND filter. I was able to open the aperture up a bit without having an over exposed image. The filter makes it possible for less light to come in. I would reccomend a lens filter for daytime sun flares so you are able to get the color of your subject or sky and not have the light blowout your image. You can always work with a darker image rather than a lighter image.


ND Filter


Peeking Out Sun Flares

Another creative way to showcase a sun flare is to have it peeking out from behind an object. This creates a nice emphasis on the subject while not drawing away too much from the image. This was again taken as a bracketed image to best capture the color of the car and not overexpose the car. The peeking method is a great way to change up directly facing your sun flare. 

Thanks to Plush Floral for the amazing floral arrangements!!     Visit my friend Jessie’s website for some sweet shots