When doing portrait photography, many would try to avoid lens flares in the images as it can ruin what you want your photo to “tell” with the scene. However, this is not always the case as there are some scenarios wherein lens flares actually make for a more dramatic photo. Adding these as a secondary form of light source can give the image just the right amount of haze as it floods the photo with a soft, bright light in the horizon. It can also help in reducing the contrast of the leaves if they’re a bit too green for your tastes.
Adding Lens Flares to Portrait Photography
If you want to capture that “good” lens flare in your attempts at portrait photography, then can be a whole lot easier on your part if you shoot in the late afternoon. Also, you have to make sure that it is a sunny day so you can properly place the sun low in the sky right behind your subject. Should you choose to shoot in an earlier time within the day, then you might frame your model in an extreme, unflattering angle.
Speaking of angles, finding the right one is key to good portrait photography, especially when you’re trying to add a bit of lens flare in the scene. To do this, you can try to position your model to the west. Therefore, you’re going to be shooting directly into the sun while still being able to do so at an angle wherein the sun is partially blocked due to your subject. The light coming off of the sun will wrap around your model which will create a rim light effect.
Do take note that if you have too much sun in your frame, it will blow out the highlights and can even completely flood your subject, which can obscure their face. Block out the sun as much as you can from your view, then slightly move to let the sun’s light to creep in around your subject for a more subtle effect. In creating lens flares in photographs, remember that less is more.
On a side yet important note, shooting into light can cause auto-focusing problems which can be quite difficult if you’re doing portrait photography. To counteract this, set back-button focusing. This way, the shutter button will only fire the camera. This will make it a whole lot easier to focus on your model that’s blocking the sun, as well as being able to shoot the image with the lens flare without having to refocus and recompose.
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