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A Certain Flare

Shooting with the sun behind the subject, either filling or shifting key using strobe, is  a common technique I often employ when on location. This allows the sun to serve as both a rim light (providing a nice highlight around the subject) as well as serving as a fill (which my strobe may also do). It also keeps my subject from looking directly into the sun, so they tend not to squint. And of course, if I fill or shift the key (from the sun to my strobe), I also eliminate the sharp contrast the sun provides by controlling the exposure.

And, if I shoot directly into the sun, I also get flare.  Which is cool. I wouldn’t do it all the time, but, used with discretion it can add oomph to an image.

Even portraits.

Of course, it’s a 2-edge sword: particularly with wide angle lenses, flare can appear when least expected (and not wanted), either softening the image or injecting greenish streaks in all the wrong places.

But, assuming it is called for, I can actually control the flare (well, to a certain extent – I can control which form it takes). The perhaps-overdone-but-still-interesting starbust effect is achieved by using a small aperture:

Ksaundra, Flare

 The compromise is depth of field.

Going wide lends softness, as in this dreamy rendition of Suzi West at Big Talbot Island:


It’s not for everyday use, but it does add variety – something I try to lend to every shoot.

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