How to Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos: 8 Easy steps to follow

Lens flare is a common problem in photography that can ruin an otherwise great photo. In this comprehensive guide, we will teach you how to remove lens flare using Photoshop. Lens flare can be caused by many things, including sunlight reflecting off of the lens, too much flash, and lens reflections. Luckily, it can be easily removed in Photoshop with a few simple steps. But, let’s take a look at different approaches to eliminate the lens flare.

What is a Lens flare?

Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos
Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos

It’s amazing how the tiniest details can have a huge impact on a photograph (both for good and bad reasons).

The sunspot (or lens flare) is one such little thing that may either improve or degrade an image. On a sunny day, shoot towards the sun (or intense light sources). You’re going to get them in your shots at some time or another if you do this on a sunny day (or into bright lights).

When they’re in the right position and in the ideal sort of photo, they may actually enhance a shot – giving it a more casual and paparazzi feel (in fact, certain picture editing software can help you add sunspots to generate this effect).

However, in many cases, sunspots or lens flare might be a negative element – an issue that can seriously degrade an otherwise fantastic photo. Of course, you may attempt to remove them later, but it is usually preferable to do so beforehand.

Is Lens flare always a bad thing for photos?

Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos
Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos

In short, No. Lens flare may be attractive and deliberate in some circumstances, but the way it appears in your photograph is a result of both the lens features and the position of the sun in your shot. Not all lenses are created equal when it comes to producing appealing lens flare, and not every lens flares in the same way at various angles. Some lenses are prone to flare, but when you put the sun at the perfect (or incorrect) angle, they may suddenly generate ugly enough glare to ruin a photo.

The best situation for most individuals would be if the lenses did not flare at all. We’d be starting with a clean slate and adding flare in post-production if we feel it will improve the ambiance of the shot.

The fact is that most lenses flare to some degree, even the most expensive lenses that claim to have a variety of pricey optical coatings to help with the issue. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for this problem I’m going to show you today. I’ll be employing Lightroom and Photoshop in this example, but the concepts can be applied to any competent editing program. The secret to this approach is preparation in the field and a basic grasp of a few simple Photoshop functions.

Remove Lens flare before even capturing one

Clean Your Lens

You can read our guide on How to clean your lens effectively to learn more about keeping your lens clean.

Lens flare is more likely if the lens is filthy or smudged. If you see smudges on your lens, or if you’ve been shooting on the beach and a salty film can quickly build-up, it’s vital to clean it. Use lens tissues or a microfiber cloth to clean your lens, starting at the center and working your way out. Take care that no tiny pieces of grit are in the cloth or on the lens itself;

Lens flare is more likely as a result of dirty lenses. Shooting outdoors (particularly in scenarios where there is dust, such as the desert or salt film, like on the beach) makes it more probable that your lenses become so dirty that they cause a flare.

Cleaning is simple! To remove dust and grime, use a blower brush or lens tissue soaked in a lens cleaning solution. Check your lenses (and filters) on a regular basis to make sure they are clean. To check for dust or grease on the front element, shine a phone torch or some other bright light source onto it.

Use Lens Hoods to remove Lens flare

Professionals typically use a lens hood on their DSLR lenses to combat lens flare. The majority of DSLRs and prosumer digital cameras are available today come with the option of attaching a lens hood (in fact, most professional-grade lenses do).

Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos
Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos

When shooting into direct sunshine, lens flare is generally the result. Purchase a lens hood to block incoming light from reaching your front element as one of the simplest methods to minimize lens flare. A lens hood will also prevent damage to your camera if you happen to trip over something or if you drop it. Most lenses come with a lens hood, but if yours didn’t, they are inexpensive and easy to obtain.

Take care when using a third-party lens hood because incompatibility might cause vignetting at the shorter focal lengths. A round lens hood and a petal lens hood are available when purchasing a lens. Round lens hoods are most often seen on long lenses, whereas petal-style hoods are best for wide-angle lenses.

Sunspots are reduced by these hoods, which are formed to keep the sun out while yet allowing as much light into the lens as feasible. They come in a variety of designs and sizes based on the lens’ design, focal length, whether it has a zoom and other factors. The major disadvantage of them is that they are inconvenient to transport (some lens hoods for my lenses are as big as the lenses themselves). They DO, however, work effectively and genuinely enhance your photographs (and they can look rather nice and make you seem like a professional!).

Block It With Your Hand to remove lens flare

If you don’t have a lens hood (or your camera doesn’t support one) or if you just need a little help shielding your lens from the sun, use your hand (or someone else’s). If you’re shooting at a wide-angle focal length, be careful not to put it in the corner of your frame; especially if you’re using a viewfinder that isn’t on a single-lens reflex camera (where what you see through the viewfinder is slightly different to what you get in the actual picture).

If you’re caught without your lens hood, you can utilize your hand to assist block the light. Simply form a “c” with your hand around the top of the lens and adjust the shape and angle of your hand until the lens flare is gone. Just be careful that your palm or other shadows don’t make it into the shot!

Adjust Your Angle to remove lens flare

Another choice is to change your stance. Direct light striking the sensor causes a flare, so taking refuge in the shade might help prevent it from happening. You could also try turning your camera in a different direction to avoid shooting straight into the sun.

Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos
Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos

Move yourself to a new shooting position to minimize lens flare – either so that you aren’t shooting into the Sun directly or so that your lens is shaded by some other object from the Sun or main light source. Experiment with moving your subject around, but also consider altering the height at which you’re shooting (i.e., get low or shoot high). All of these factors alter the angle at which light hits your lens, so try varying them.

Block the light to remove lens flare

If you don’t need the light in your picture and aren’t willing to live without it, eliminate it. Close the drapes or blinds, move an object into the light’s way, or arrange a movable thing in its path. Blocking the light may be the simplest solution for a variety of shots.

Sometimes you may reduce flare by refocusing your photo and utilizing trees, rocks, a mountain range, or other objects to block the light source, resulting in an effectively-composed shot with less flare. Alternatively, consider partially hiding the light source – for example, making it look like a starburst rather than totally blocking it out – often producing the light as a starburst.

Using Filters to remove lens flare

Filters are a crucial instrument for many outdoor photographers, and they can give a lot of control to a photograph while you’re still shooting. However, adding extra glass might boost the chance of lens flare. If you want to use filters despite the risk of flare, consider purchasing coated ones. They’re a bit more expensive, but they’re typically effective at preventing lens flare. For each sort of lens, you may easily discover UV, neutral density, and polarizing filters with anti-reflective coating.

Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos
Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos

Take off any or all of your filters if you’re getting lens flare and don’t need them all. It’s one less chance for the flare demons to ruin your shot.

However, if you’re seeking to enhance the flare rather than reduce it, consider anamorphic bokeh and flare effects. These lenses are ideal for use with medium to long focal lengths (50 mm or longer) and wide apertures (f/0.95 to f/2.8). Because of their distinctive appearance, including horizontal lens flares and oval bokehs, anamorphic flare filters are popular among arthouse and independent filmmakers. They’re designed for use with prime lenses. Anamorphic flare filters are fashionable among arthouse and indie filmmakers because of their unique look, which includes horizontal lens flares and oval bokeh.

Avoid narrow apertures to remove lens flare

When you take pictures with a small aperture, such as f/22, the lens opening shrinks to such an extent that light can pass through. The light enters the lens via a tiny hole and is deflected as it passes through. Ghosting and flares may easily result from this diffraction. The light sources, such as the sun or streetlights, can also produce a starburst effect. This is an intriguing visual element with aesthetic merit.

To avoid a lens flare in your photograph, use an aperture setting 1-2 stops less than the maximum value available on your lens. Shooting at f/16 or f/11, for example, will help you avoid lens flares if your lens has a maximum aperture of f/22.

Remove lens flare in Post-production

You can eliminate or reduce lens flare in post-production if nothing else works. It may be difficult to remove the cloudiness that comes with lens flaring (and you don’t have to), but you can certainly remove the brightest region of the light. Simply utilize the spot healing tool or clone stamp tool to blend in or remove those trouble areas.

Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos
Remove Lens Flare from Your Photos

The primary issues you’ll encounter in post-production when it comes to flare in photos are as follows:

  • Lack of contrast
  • Washed out colors
  • Strange color shifts

An image may appear muddy with insufficient contrast, and your subjects will be difficult to stand out and get lost in the shot. Raising the contrast allows for more distinct details in the photograph, which helps to avoid lens flare from distracting from it. You may also use a radial burn, which focuses attention to a certain area of the picture, or you can darken the blacks in the image for greater contrast.

In Lightroom, you may fix any color shifts in your photos caused by lens flare by adjusting the HSL slider to precisely target them. If the skin tones appear too orange, use the saturation sliders for yellow, orange, and red hues to correct them just drag the slider down and these colors will begin to change.

Lens flare is a term used to describe the bright light that emanates from the camera lens. It’s an unavoidable occurrence, despite how many precautions you take. So keep shooting and taking precautions, and minimize the likelihood of a little lens flare spoiling your finest photograph.

You may also use a little bit of flare in your photos to make them appear more powerful. On the other hand, if you want to intentionally add lens flare to your photographs, keep reading for some additional advice and techniques:

  • Remove the lens hood. The sun’s rays, or another light source, may produce flare if you don’t take care of your glasses!
  • Place your subject in the shade with his or her back to the sun. You’re essentially inviting that stray light to create some interesting effects if you do this!
  • Change the subject’s posture and/or camera angle. You’ll be able to enhance the light source’s flare effects if you do it on purpose.
  • Even if your subject isn’t moving, take several shots. The flare produced by a lens is unpredictable – it may appear out of nowhere with only a little shift.
  • Experiment with metering. You may, for example, try spot metering. You can also capture one image that is correctly exposed, one that is a stop overexposed, and one that is a stop underexposed – any of these might cause lens flare!

There are some wonderful photo editing apps that can help you remove spots, lines, and circles from lens flare after the fact. This is the ideal solution if you didn’t use any of the above tips before you captured the shot and are seeing the blemishes now.

If you can’t remove lens flare, try WORKING WITH IT. You may need to experiment with a few different framing and settings to ensure that your shot is in the best possible location and contributes to the impact of your photo.

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