Nov 20, 2014

The Best Way To Use Lens Flares in Photoshop

Lens Flares

When are flares appropriate in photos? Why can’t you customize the Photoshop lens flare filters?? In today’s episode, we show you the best way to use lens flares in photoshop and answer those burning questions!

Be Appropriate!

The first step in using lens flares is knowing when they make sense in an image, and when they do not. If the light is coming from anywhere behind the subject (aka backlit), there will be flare in the camera. You can also think in terms of the camera; as long as the camera sees the light source, flare will occur.

Defy the Rules!

Create a new layer and go to Filter – Render – Lens Flare. A dialogue box will pop up telling you that the action you’re trying to complete is not allowed. (Gasp!) So, we have to wiggle around the rules a bit.

Create a stamp visible layer by clicking Shift + Option + Command + E. This is a layer that you can make a lens flare on. Woohoo! Now, hold Shift + Delete and fill the layer with black. Go back to the Filter menu and choose Lens Flare at the very top of the menu (this will repeat the last lens flare you created).

All you have left to do is change the blend mode to screen, and you are able to edit the lens flare however you’d like. Some things we suggest are changing the hue, saturation, and adding a gaussian blur.


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(will not be published)

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    Charles Cabrera

    Thanks very informative as usual. How about an episode with a quick green screen lighting setup and a Photoshop cutout of the subject on the green screen.

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    I was literally just trying to figure out how to create a realistic lens flare without the whole duplicate image thing. Couldn’t do it, so thought I’d search Phlearn for the answer (as per usual), and here it is… on the front page. Get out of my head, Aaron!!

    No wait…. while you’re in there, would you mind helping out with my image?? 🙂


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    You did this a while back on another tutorial and for some reason it’s one of my favourite little tricks of yours……so sneaky! Photoshop you won’t get the better of our Aaron!

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    Trevor Coultart

    Didn’t photographers just spend the last 150 years or so trying to work out how to NOT get lens flare? And now here we go sticking it right back in there…

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    frédéric from La Rochelle-France

    thks for eveything, your my hero !! You can make the same thing with a 50% grey and “hard light” ? i think is more realistic, isn’t it? But i’m not like you a king !

  • user image

    hi I love this tutorial! I have made one in a pic I took. I actually want to post it and ask your opinion. However i do want it to be deleted afterwards is that possible ? as I made an lensflare were you cant actually see the light source….So i think you will say inappropriate… 🙂

  • user image

    Nice and very smart tutorials.- easy to follow. Have you made a tutorial on “12’o clock sunlight effect on a person standing in day light ” Or can you make one for us. Thanks

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    Dipti Dhadwal

    Just awesome… You are too good with your skills…

    I wish to learn soon and as perfect as you do.