Have you seen those hipster-chic colourized images with coloured edges and excellent lighting? Have you ever wondered how something is done? I’ll demonstrate how to do it in this Photoshop lesson. The lensflare look is what it’s known as. It enhances your shot with a trendy look and goes beyond the standard Photoshop lensflare. To help you learn on your own, I’ve published both the written and video step-by-step instructions here at PhotoshopCAFE. Read the instructions below, watch the video, or do both for the most learning power!

HOW TO PLACE A LENS FLARE

When strong directed light enters the lens, a lens flare results. His light may reflect off the lens and onto the sensor, creating the rings that cover the image that resemble lenses. Because there are more bits of glass inside zoom lenses, they exhibit greater flare. Lens flare can be avoided or reduced by using a lens hod. Flags are used in studios to prevent direct light from penetrating a lens’ glass. Lens flare is typically avoided in both photography and video. However, there are times when the Lens Flare appearance is wanted and manufactured on the set or in Photoshop. In contemporary photography, aiming for flare has become extremely frequent. Lens flare has two purposes. First off, it lessens an image’s contrast and saturation and can result in artefacts like circles and lines. For information on the four varieties of lens flares available in Photoshop, see the article’s conclusion.

You can’t just put a lens flare anywhere when creating one in post-production. It must be put where it makes sense to avoid looking awkward and artificial. Recall that a bright light source impacting the glass in a “line of sight” line is what causes lens flare. If the light source, such as the sun or a lightbulb, can be seen when looking through a lens, there is a good possibility that flare may occur.

A flare can therefore be produced by the sun, a lamp, a torch, a candle, or any other type of light source. A flare can also be produced by a reflective surface like glass, water, chrome, or a shiny metal. A dark area devoid of a light source or reflected light cannot produce a flare.

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LENS FLARE EFFECT IN PHOTOSHOP: STEP-BY-STEP TUTORIAL

We will begin with this image from Adobe Stock. You can grab the free watermarked version here. Check out my quick video on how to use Adobe Stock for this kind of thing.

Choose 105mm Prime instead. You can move the lensflare such that it reflects off the car’s glass by dragging the window in. For it to appear real, it must be coming straight from a light source or a surface that reflects light well.

Press “OK”

And you will see the lens flare on the photo. (Watch the video above afterwards to see the effect of changing the brightness).

MAKE IT NON DESTRUCTIVE

To reverse the lens flare, use Ctrl/Cmd+Z. For the time being, all we wanted to do was dial in the position. (Note: We sought out the preview image, which is available only on the layer itself. To achieve the same outcome, you could alternatively apply it to a Smart Object, as suggested in the comments).

Click the new Layer Icon in the Layers Panel while holding down Alt or Option.

A new Layer with options will be given to you. Select Hard Light as the mode. You can now choose to check the “Fill with…50% grey” box by clicking on it.

Press “OK”

You now have a new layer that is 50% grey filled (a layer that is empty cannot have a lens flare added to it).

Because of the Hard Light Blending option, you can see how the grey appears transparent. Make sure the grey layer is selected.

APPLY THE PERFECTLY POSITIONED FLARE

There is a keyboard shortcut that will apply the previous filter with exactly the same settings as previously used. Press Cmd/Ctrl+F

You will see that the lens flare is now on its own layer. Because its using a blending mode, you can move it around on the screen if you like. (Grab my free ebook here, to learn more about Photoshop Layer blending modes).

Notice, you can also try different blending modes for a different result, such as Overlay here. We will use Hard Light for this example though.

 APPLY THE LIGHT SPILL FOR THE COOL LOOK

Create a new layer

Choose an yellow/orange color as the foreground color,  from the color picker at the bottom of the toolbox.

Choose the gradient tool and the second option from the gradients at the top. Foreground to transparent

Choose Linear gradient:
Mode:Normal
Opacity: 100%
Transparency on

THE COLOR SPILL

Start at the top right of the screen and drag towards the bottom left in a diagonal direction

You should see a gradient like this

BLENDING MODE FOR LENS FLARE

Change the blending mode for the gradient. Soft Light works well.

And now for the outcome. Remember that you can play with various transparency levels and blending types to get different outcomes.

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