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How to remove lens flare whilst shooting

How to remove Lens Flare whilst shooting

Today’s post is a simple tutorial on a technique that you can use to remove lens flare whilst shooting into the sun or when you’re shooting in an environment with multiple lights that are causing you issues.

The only gear you’ll need is your camera a tripod, and your finger(!).

The idea behind the technique is simple, whilst shooting into the sun, it’s the sun and the direct light from it hitting the elements of your lens and causing flare.  To eliminate the flare you’ll need to block the sun out from creating those pesky flares.

As you can see from this first shot there is a some fairly bright lens flare in the bottom left and streaks branching out from the sun:

Once you’ve got your shot set up and your composition sorted, you’ll need to take another picture, this time with your finger covering the sun, you might need to move it about a little bit until you can see that the flare has disappeared, either in the view finder or your camera’s live view mode.

Once you’ve taken both shots, that’s pretty much it! All you need to do is now blend them using a layer mask in in your favourite piece of processing software.

Below is a screenshot of photoshop and the very quick blending process that you’ll need to complete.  Make sure that the layer with your finger in the shot is the top layer of the project. To add a layer mask, you need to click the little white box with the black circle in (very bottom right hand corner of the screenshot.

Once you’ve added the layer mask, you’ll need to paint over the finger with a black brush at 100% – I find a soft brush works the best.

Once you’ve painted in the layer mask you should be left with a flare free image, check out the before and after below to see the difference. One piece of advice is to make sure that you take both images with exactly the same settings, shutters speed, this will make the blend easier as you shouldn’t have any differences in the sky where you’re removing your finger.

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47 thoughts on “How to remove lens flare whilst shooting”

  1. Would never have thought to do this. Thanks.

    Any chance of a tutorial video on how to use masking?

    Tech.n.tweed. ?

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