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We are focusing on building a community, bringing the Mortal Muses photographers together, and making the world a bit smaller. On this page, you will find mission: MUSE, muse university and special features.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

muse university - flare

by muse kirstin

I must confess that I am a flare addict. I love flare just because it is so ethereal, so difficult to capture, so fleeting and otherworldly. I love it that my children know that when the sun is out and low that I will be out there taking photos, pointing my camera towards the sun to try and capture some flare. They love to shout "FLARE" at me while I take them. We all whisper "flare" to one another in the cinema when we spot a flare shot. I hope I have passed on some of my love of flare to my kids. And I hope I can get you out there taking flare shots too.

Fence, flare...and feet!

The most important ingredient for capturing lens flare is sun. And it needs to be low, ideally. And of course, since lens flare is a lens fault, you need to use a lens with lots of elements and preferably not a prime. This is when your kit lens can really make itself useful.


Metering on the subject, you then point the camera at the sun or catch a few rays from the side, and tilt it so that light scatters within the lens elements to make the flare. I sometimes use my viewfinder as it's easier to see what's going on but always make sure not to look directly at the sun.

To get big arcs of flare, open the aperture.

For you Vikki x

More recently I've been playing with getting flare to drip across the picture by using a smaller aperture.

fence in the woods

I love knowing what kind of flare each of my lenses can produce. Have a play and see what you fancy! Maybe you too can become a flare addict.


by kirstin of fleeting moments

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If you would like to provide a post for this series, please contact kat [at] kateyeview.com


  1. I keep wondering if you like the movie Bladerunner, Kirstin. Those of us in the visual efx field always laugh at it as the film of FLARE! (you do flare amazingly!)

  2. Beautiful flare shots! Thank you so much for the lesson. I had no idea that capturing flare worked best with the kit lens and now I regret giving it away!

    I love your story about how your kids see flare. I wasn't familiar with the circular sparkle of bokeh until a year or so ago and now I see it in movies or tv all the time. There's a shot in the teacher's lounge on Glee with fabulous bokeh.

  3. I love flare and when I can catch a flare shot ~ it just makes the images magical. Beautiful photos

  4. thanks kristin! i love hearing about your technique and of course LOVE those gorgeous shots!!!! So beautiful. And as this is one of my all time favorite things to shoot, your post is just perfect for me!!! I find that i get my most defined flare out of my zoom lens but that i get some funky flat flare out of my 50mm with the lens hood where I can play with a little more shallow DoF as it goes to 1.4. The zoom only gets down to 4.0 but gets nice and wide for a different effect. Thanks for the lesson!!!

  5. Thanks Kirstin... It was wonderful to read about your technique.You do flare so beautifully. I also love the story of how your kids share the flare with you.It's so great...
    Thanks again for sharing...

  6. I, too, am a flare addict! I love love love it & I sometimes fear that I over use it, but my clients have said it's one of the reasons they hire me. I actually laughed out loud when I read how your kids whisper it when they spot it in cinema shots! You must be a proud momma :)

    Check out my flare shots: http://www.thewayiseeitthroughmylens.blogspot.com

  7. WOW, I told you to go look at my flare in my blog & none of my recent posts have any! Dig deeper into the the older posts, or try looking in my flickr gallery.

  8. Thank you Kristin! You do flare beautifully. I don't think I could begin to put this into words. I do get some pretty great flare out of my primes. My best flare though comes from my cheapo plastic "dreamy diana" lens.

  9. Gorgeous light. I love the flare here too!

  10. loved this post kirstin. now i've got to get myself out there and flare!

  11. and you, my dear, are the flare master. I am always amazed at the different ways you capture it. You make it look so easy, but I know different.