Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to Add Lens Flare to Your Photos with Photoshop


Do you love how cool a lens flare looks in a photo?  It is very hard to capture in camera, though.  It can be done, but sometimes it is too much or not right, or you have to invest in a certain filter to do it how you want it. 

Many people in photography will totally disagree with me here, but right now I prefer to add it in post processing.  Oh the photography purists are freaking out (well stop reading here then).  If a lens flare is done incorrectly in camera it could ruin a perfectly good shot.  So here is how to add a lens flare in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements without buying anyone’s actions or overlays.

Here is my photo.  I would like to show you how to add a lens flare to it.


Now to add the lens flare you simply open your photo in Photoshop or PSE (Photoshop Elements).  You ALWAYS want to do this in a duplicate layer.  So press CTRL+J (COMMAND+J for Macs) to create a new layer.  On your top menu bar click on “Filter”.  Then click on “Render”.  Now click on “Lens Flare”.  It is that easy!


A window will now pop up that looks like this…


Simply drag the tiny little cursor to where you want the lens flare to be on your photo.  Now select the type of flare you want and then adjust the brightness.  After you have made your choice hit OK.  You are set.  If you decide it is a little too much you can just adjust the layer opacity in your layers panel (another benefit of doing it in a separate layer and not straight on the photo).


Want to see the differences in the types of lens flare?  Here you go! Play around with the brightness levels to get your desired result.

This is the “50-300mm Zoom” at 100% brightness.



This is the “35mm Prime” at 100% brightness.



This is the “105mm Prime” at 100% brightness.



This is the “Movie Prime” at 100% brightness.  It may be hard to see in this image, but it adds little light streaks as well.


So now you have a super easy way to add lens flare that is completely controllable (not that I have control issues or anythingSmile with tongue out).  If you have any questions about this, please feel free to email me at momtriedit@gmail.com.  If you enjoyed this tutorial you may be interested in my workshop.  I do go through this in the workshop along with so many other things for Photoshop and PSE.  You can find more information here about my Photoshop and PSE Workshop.

workshop button

Joining in over at Jaymi’s blog for Tips and Pics.  :)

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  1. I like it with the little flare .. will have to try this myself sometime x x

  2. Great, great tutorial!!!!!! Absolutely LOVE this!!! Thank you so much - you made one photography addict very happy! :-)

  3. I like that you made it very natural and subtle. I have seen some bad uses of the lens flare on the web. I have also ruined perfectly good pictures trying to get lens flare :)

  4. Love this! Love learning new tricks in Photoshop Kim! Thank you!-StephJordan

  5. But do you have the required number of pieces of flair? :P

  6. Yeah I've played around with this before! Great tutorial! Love that shot by the way!

  7. Do you have a tutorial on how to get rid of lens flare? I lost the hood to my fuji finepix and lens flare has killed far too many great shots.

  8. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing. I love the movie prime!

  9. this is a great tutorial! I really like the movie prime as well. I've seen a lot of added flare that looks way too fake and overdone, but I think it works REALLY well for this shot! I'll have to give it a try now!

  10. That's it?? That's super easy! Thanks Kim!

  11. Great tip. I like how you can make it very subtle if you want.

  12. Direi che ti sei spiegata molto bene, e il risultato da ragione a te, buona serata...ciao

  13. So so cool- I like to control where it is - because if I don't- it always ends up on someone's face :)

  14. I like the added effect a lot! I'm horrible at capturing honest-to-goodness flares with my camera, so I rather like the sure-fire (and controllable) way of adding one in post-processing!

  15. How can i get photoshop?
    please help me

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