Lens Flare: How to Reduce or Avoid It?

What is Lens Flare?

Veiling glare, or most commonly known as Lens Flare is an optical occurrence most of us experience especially when shooting outdoors on a sunny day. Lens Flare occurs when intense light enters the camera lens and hits the digital sensor. This occurrence is common when you are shooting outdoors or shooting with an intense light source. Lens Flare happens when the lens is pointed directly at the sun or your light source. It is characterized by light streaks or haze that appears across the image. The light streaks reduce the contrast and saturation of the photo giving it a faded or washed out effect. It can also appear in a polygonal form. Lens Flare can both ruin and enhance a photograph. It can add amazing effects to your photos if you know how to control it.  There are lots of websites that offer downloadable lens flare filters, presets and actions that you can use to enhance your photos. At the same time, Lens Flare can ruin your photographs, and most of the time it’s not easy to reduce or eliminate it in post processing.

What causes Lens Flare?

As mentioned above, one of the most common causes of Lens Flare is the sun. Artificial lighting, such as strobe units, headlights and lampposts can cause lens flare especially when the lens is pointed directly at the light source. Lens Flare can also occur when you’re using your flash and reflective objects are present in the frame.

Photo by: Atomic Taco

How to avoid or reduce Lens Flare?

We now know the different factors that may cause Lens Flare and we are a step closer to reducing and avoiding Lens Flare that may ruin the outcome of our photos. One way to avoid Lens Flare is by using a Lens Hood. Some lenses that are being sold in the market come with free lens hoods, attach the Lens Hood to your lens to avoid Lens Flares. If you don’t have a lens hood be resourceful and try to find an alternative like a cardboard or your hand to shield your lens from the sun or from the light source. Just make sure that your hood can’t be seen in the frame.

If you are using a Zoom lens and you don’t have a lens hood you can try changing your focal length by zooming in or out, this may help lessen Lens Flare and those polygon shaped sunspots. Though it can’t completely eliminate the Lens Flare, it will enable you to move and change the Lens Flare’s position to a less disturbing part of the image. Another way to reduce or avoid Lens Flare is by changing your angle or your shooting position in a way that the sun or the light source won’t directly hit your lens. This is one of the most effective ways of reducing or avoiding Lens Flare.

You can also try to recompose your shot and use or add different elements to reduce or avoid Lens Flare. Lastly, if you really can’t reduce or avoid lens flare, just give in to it and use it as a tool to make a delightful photograph.

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