If you’ve ever taken pictures looking towards the sun, chances are you’ve had problems with lens flare. This can go unnoticed when taking the shot, but is obvious when you view your images on a computer. In this post we’ll offer three simple tips for how to remove lens flare to rescue your shots.
Lens flare can appear as brightly coloured geometric shapes and streaks that extend across the frame, or an overall haze that reduces contrast and saturation and masks subject detail.
The problem is caused by light reflecting inside the lens and is worse in images taken with zoom lenses that have a lot of lens elements within the barrel.
Basically, it’s bad news for the quality of your shots, so here’s the best way to remove lens flare should you find yourself shooting in bright sun…
Use a lens hood
If your lens came with a hood, use it when shooting in bright conditions. Even on overcast days, bright light entering the lens can degrade the image and reduce clarity and contrast. You can buy a hood to fit most lenses, but ensure it’s fitted correctly to avoid vignetting (darkening of corners).
Shield the lens
If the lens hood is ineffective, which will happen if the sun is just outside the edge of the frame, try shielding the lens using your hand or another prop, such as a piece of card. Often this simple method can help remove lens flare. Then use Live View to view 100% of the frame and ensure flare has been eliminated.
Rescue in Photoshop
You can remove most lens flare in Photoshop using the clone tool, but an alternative technique to remove lens flare entirely is to shield the lens with your hand without worrying about whether it appears in the picture. You can then clone or crop out the hand to reveal a flare-free, contrast-packed shot.