Controlling And Using Flare In Your Photographs
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Tips On How To Use Or Remove Flare - This article quickly explains why you get flare, how to reduce it or use it to your advantage.
Photo by Peter Bargh
What Is Flare?Flare is caused by direct light entering the lens, which then bounces around the glass elements causing a reduction in the photograph's contrast. Sometimes this will just make the picture look washed out and lacking vibrant colours, but often you would also see a series of coloured shapes across the photo. The shape is an image of the lens' aperture or diaphragm and will often be hexagonal. This is joined with streaks of coloured light crossing the picture. Modern lenses have multicoated lens elements and are designed to reduce flare but even with the most expensive products it can still occur.
How Can I Stop It?The easy way to prevent flare is to shoot with your back to the sun - a method that was always suggested in camera manuals before multicoated optics. The trouble with this suggestion is that there are many occasions when you cannot control where the sun is in relationship to your subject. It's easy, for example, to ask a person to turn direction or change the angle that you shoot a flower from, but try shooting a castle on a hill top or boat out at sea and you're usually stuck with no other choice than to face the sun.
Fortunately there are things that can be done. First make sure the sun is at least out of the frame. If this is not possible adjust position so that a nearby building or tree shields the sun from the camera position. Alternatively shield the lens from the sun using your hand or a piece of card. Take care to avoid this creeping into the frame. Better still, use a lens hood.