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How to Create Beams of Light and Lens Flare in Photoshop

Feb 11

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Creating a Lens Flare/ Lighting Effects

This tutorial is perfect for those images that have a strong backlight, such as when you are shooting into the sun. We show you how to enhance a lens flare and create lighting effects that will make your image more interesting. These techniques only take a couple of minutes and can be used on any image with a backlight.

We start by changing the atmosphere colors around the light, bringing the black levels up on the red and green channels in a curves adjustment layer. This step adds a nice base for the lighting effects.

After creating the base we create another curves adjustment layer and brighten it up. We then use a large hard edged brush to create some flare. This is a great time to play around and place the flare wherever you want.

Next we create a spatter pattern on a layer mask of another curves adjustment layer and use the Radial Blur to simulate light streaks. This is a $500 technique that we are giving away for free.

To finish off the image we create a double vignette, making the area around the subject lighter and darkening the edges of the image.

  • enlodan

    WOW!! Lens flare is something that hipnotises me!!! Amazing tutorial… i’ll be using it for my next photoshoot

  • Rubén Chase

    This is fantastic! Love the main image, but the edit make it flawless. Great job!

  • Sean Tucker

    Trying out the light rays on this images. Great technique Aaron:) Thanks.

  • Sean Tucker

    …and this was the original:

  • Dominique Hablützel

    As cool as always, but if you want to get really nice lens flares and leaks check out this link:

    They made awesome flares and leaks and offer them as a free download. You just have to make an account on their site to get the free download. The link on top goes to their Version 2, they have also a first Version with other flares and leaks. And the point is, your allowed to use the wherever you want without saying form where you got the flares.
    The only negative point, the site is in German so maybe you have to use Google Translate.

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