Frame by Frame: Photographing Flare on Film

St Louis MO Wedding - Jordan Brittley Photography I love illuminated portraits and tend to stray from harsh light. You might be surprised that I enjoy adding flare to some of my film images, but it’s only because I have found a way to do it in a way that leaves me feeling like the image is still authentic! I don’t want to look at one of my images and notice the flare first, so I only choose to add it if it is going to photograph in a non-distracting way! Below are a few tips for how to photograph flare on film so that the results are gentle and soft!

MAKE SURE YOUR LENS IS BEING HIT BY THE SUN - If your lens can’t “see” the sun then you won’t be able to photograph the sun’s effects (aka the flare!)! Even if your clients are standing in the shade, you can move into the sun!

In the image above, I had the bride and her maids stand in the middle of the bridge. They are backlit only slightly because the sun was heavily diffused by the trees to the right. I was standing in the sun several feet away and not shaded by the trees so I was able to add the flare.

DON’T SHOOT DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN - If you are wanting to avoid a dramatic flare, then you should avoid shooting directly into the sun. You will want to look for the sun’s rays in your lens, but avoid the sun itself!

I have experimented by shooting directly into the sun (without using the clients or another source to block the sun) and the result is a bright red flare.

FIND THE SWEET SPOT - Once the sun is on the left or right side of your clients and you are standing in the sun, look for the flare through the viewfinder. It’s still possible to add a harsh flare at this point, so rotate yourself slightly to the left or right so that the lens is letting in a little more light or a little less light. Once you find the kind of flare you are looking for, go for it!!

Make sure that you are not just adding haze! Haze is gorgeous too, but if you want to photograph the flare, look for the flare!

Camera: Contax 645
Lens: Karl Zeiss 80mm
Film Stock: Fuji 400H rated at 200
Lab: Richard Photo Lab

Aperture: f/2.0
ISO: Fuji 400h rated at 200
Shutter speed: 1/125

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