If you’ve ever watched a JJ Abrams flick, you’ve seen more lens flares in the first ten minutes than most professional photographers will see in a lifetime of taking photos. Lens flare isn’t always wanted, but it can make for a dazzling picture when it’s done right.
There are two ways to get lens flare on your iPhone pictures: download apps that can add lens flare or learn to take pictures with lens flares. The latter is a bit more fun unless you prefer to create lens flare from an app rather than as a photographer.
While going the way of the app is fun, and you can get pretty creative with it, there is something to be said about working with your iPhone camera to take the perfect shot and create a thousand bars of hazy lights or a firework effect of starbursts.
Table of Contents
- How to Get Lens Flare on iPhone
- Apps for Creating Lens Flare
- All Things Considered
How to Get Lens Flare on iPhone
An iPhone camera isn’t much different from a professional camera. Before you shake your fist, we’re speaking about how they function as cameras, including creating lens flares.
As we mentioned above, lens flare isn’t something you always want, especially if you are taking a photo of a central figure or object that you want the focus of the picture to remain on. However, when you do want a lens flare, it’s a matter of angles and timing.
There are several ways you can go about catching a lens flare. When you get the hang of it and understand all the tips and tricks, you can make it a more central theme in some of your photos. In fact, you will learn to create pictures with a focus on the lens flare and pictures where lens flares accentuate the object.
Shoot with the Sun in Front of You
This is how you learn how to do it and do it right. If you’ve never captured a lens flare before, you probably don’t know how the picture will turn out or what the lens flare will look like until you review the picture.
First and foremost, shooting toward the sun doesn’t mean the sun should be fully exposed. There typically needs to be something in the foreground, semi-blocking the sun, whether that’s a person, a tree, a house, or tiny blades of grass.
The lens flare is created by the sun shining through and around these objects.
Depending on where you are, you can use the objects in your environment to capture reflections of the sunlight, rather than shooting directly toward the sun. Oftentimes, those reflections, such as on metal, glass, mirrors, and even glossy plastics, will create lens flares.
Even better, try catching these reflections in the late afternoon and evening when the sun is low and not quite as bright in the sky.
Sometimes, the first angle won’t do the trick. Try a variety of different angles. If you’ve ever watched a professional photographer at work, they are frequently on the move, constantly shifting their position and taking photos at different angles.
Take pictures standing, squatting, and leaning. If you can stand on top of something, do so. The more angles you have, the better the chances of catching a good lens flare.
Mess with the iPhone’s Features
When you’re dealing with sunlight, exposure matters. Just because you’re looking at the iPhone screen and the sun looks too bright doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the exposure before you take the picture.
Oftentimes, that’s all it takes. Plus, the iPhone has a number of features that make life easier when it comes to taking photos. One of them is burst mode. Burst mode takes a series of rapid-fire pictures, allowing you to come back later and pick the best of the bunch.
You shouldn’t use burst mode all the time. However, if you’re having trouble getting the right shot, it might be worth taking a few shots in burst mode and sifting through the results.
Place the Sun Just Out of the Frame
Sometimes, you don’t need to put something in the foreground for the sun to work around. Simply take a photo from an angle where the sun is just outside of the screen. The hope is to catch the lens flares in their descending pattern.
This way, you not only create lens flare, but it will often look like the rays of the sun are pointing at the central object of the picture.
Apps for Creating Lens Flare
PicsArt is one of the more popular apps available on iOS devices that allows you to create lens flare or enhance existing lens flare. It’s not a matter of creating lens flares by accessing the available tools either.
With PicsArt, there is a separate option that lets you create lens flare, so it’s a lot easier than fine-tuning the various elements of the photo to achieve the desired result. PicsArt allows you to remove lens flare as well, in case you accidentally took a photo with too much of it.
Lens Distortions is another app that’s popular on the app store. It’s especially good at creating lens flares but only when there is an existing light source to work from. That’s because the app works to distort what’s already there rather than add something out of thin air.
Rays is another app, and it’s aptly named. All it does is allow you to work lighting effects, specifically the rays of light that emanate from any light source. It only enhances existing light sources, however. It won’t add light effects that weren’t already in the picture.
All Things Considered
Creating a lens flare on an iPhone picture is more difficult than it sounds because it requires some practice and a lot of experimenting with angles and experience in the creative art of photography overall. You can do it with apps but there’s always the knowledge that you didn’t do it yourself.
However, just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s impossible. A couple of days of tweaking the camera settings and experimenting with angles on your iPhone will have you well on your way to becoming a lens flare capturing expert.