Creative light.  Photography is all about light, and getting creative with it can make a photo even more interesting than it would otherwise be!


Adding a starburst or sunflare to an image is all done in camera.  It takes practice, but it's worth the effort.  But please be careful!  Never look at the sun directly, and do not focus your camera right on it as it can damage the camera's sensor.

Now for the technique...  For starbursts, a small aperture (high f/stop) is most effective.  Set your aperture number for as high as it can go.. f/16 and up.  Depending on the time of day, you may need a tripod because you will have to slow your shutter down.  The number of bursts to the star depends on your lens and your how many aperture blades it has.  You cannot control that but for using a different lens.  Finally, it also helps if the sun is hidden between something... like tree branches, the side of a building or house, etc.  It really does make that starburst shine!

For a soft and fuzzy sunflare, you will do the opposite.  You will have a large aperture (low f/stop).  Setting your lens to f/2,8 or preferably lower (under 2.0) is the most effective.  Then angle your camera down to your subject until you can see a soft and fuzzy light where the sun is.  But remember, it also creates haze, so playing with your angle will be important.


Hard light can be so hard to shoot in.  It is usually directional and very strong/bright.  It creates dark shadows as well, and it's difficult because, for example, you don't necessary want a hard shadow on half of a person's face.  It's also difficult to expose for if you want some information left in the shadows.  Generally, in hard light, check your blinkies on the back of your camera to make sure you didn't blow your hightlights, and the histogram is helpful to see whether your shadows are clipped.  Sometimes that's OK, and sometimes, it ruins an image.  

In the examples below, I took the same image, within minutes of each other.  One had directional hard light, and in the other, the sun snuck behind a cloud.  Neither is right or wrong, but you will see that the overall feel of the image is very different in each.

25/52 - SOFT LIGHT

Soft light gives a softer, more quiet feel to an image, almost as if you can hear the moment happening.  Generally, the light is diffused, creating few to no shadows.  The second self-portrait above is an example of soft light.  


Reflections can be found in so many places!  Still water, puddles, windows, wet sand in the ocean, and buildings, to name a few.  In order to get a reflection on the ground, you often have to crouch lower to the ground to capture it.  Reflections are a creative way to add interest to an image!

I hope you found this information helpful.  Please remember to post your images to the appropriate albums on Facebook no later than June 30, 2017.  The albums are located here:  23/52 Starburst/Soft Sunflare, 24/52 Hard Light/Hard Shadows, 25/52 Soft Light and 26/52 Reflections.

I look forward to seeing your work.  

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