Incredibly Realistic Sun Rays & Flares In Lightroom

palm trees, sunrays

It is often the case that the pictures taken in low level lighting can turn out pretty badly, even when the subject of the photo is great. Lackluster lighting can ruin the greatest of pictures and this is one of the reasons why many great photographers consider lighting to be one of the most essential parts of a photograph. In the olden days, before the advent of such advanced technology, there was no way to improve the lighting of your pictures. In fact, there was no real way to edit photographs properly until the invention of digital cameras and photo editing software.

Since the invention of these products, it has become increasingly easier and more natural to edit photographs in a way that makes them look a lot better than they were when first taken. Technology has advanced so far that editing of photographs has become an everyday thing. Websites and applications such as VSCO and Instagram have tons of filters and editing options that can make your pictures come alive. Now, although these options are well and good and can be passed off as decent, for the professional photographer, it is not enough to just add a filter to a photograph to make it look less drab. This is where Adobe Lightroom comes into play.

One of the best photo editing and manipulation programs available today, it lets you do so many things to your photograph that, if used properly, it can change the entire mood of a picture and make a halfway decent shot look like it came from the camera of Ansel Adams himself! Now, although Adams mostly photographed in Black and White, adding a little extra color and contrast to your photos is just that little extra bit of magic you need to make your photos go from average to excellent.

Lighting in a picture can induce a lot of feeling so it is wise to use it to our advantage. One way of doing this is by adding Sun rays and flares to your photographs with the help of the Lightroom application. Lightroom allows you to add filters to your photograph and also edit certain parts of the photograph to make it look like the picture is brighter than it is in real life.

Now, this may not work for some pictures or even if it does, it will not look natural since there needs to be a distinct light source in the picture, preferably the Sun. In this article we will teach you how to manipulate your images to look like they have Sun rays or flares in them and to make them look magical and radiant.

The steps to adding Sun flares and rays

Add a Radial Filter- The first step to adding sun flares to your photographs is to add a radial filter on to the picture. The radial filter should be placed around the light source and on the areas that the light is hitting and that you want to brighten.

Next you need to increase the exposure on the picture to add the flare effect. If you notice that the effect is the invert of what you intended, as in, the part you wanted to brighten is dark while the part you intended to keep darker has brightened up, then click on the invert mask box to invert the filter you have added. This may cause the exposure to be too bright, so you can turn it down until the picture looks good.

Warmth- To make the picture warmer we need to move the Temperature slider to the right, which will make the picture warmer.

What this means is that the colors on the picture will be brighter and more vibrant, leading the photo to look sun kissed.

You can also turn the Tint slider down a little although you don’t want to go overboard with this as it will lead to the picture losing color.

Feathering- One of the last and most subtle steps of this process is to increase the feathering of the picture. This will make the picture look softer and more natural and the harshness of the photo will be taken away.

In other words, it will look as if the lighting really made the subject look the way they do after editing.

Warming up the picture- The addition of the radial filter has a down side, it doesn’t add warmth to the whole picture which makes the lighting look fake and artificial. To counter this, we need to add more warmth to the whole picture.

To do this, take away a little bit of warmth from your radial filter and then click on the Basic tab, then turn up the temperature just a little bit, until your picture looks warm and natural.

Vignette- The last step in this process is to add a little vignette to your picture. Vignetting is a small but important detail that a lot of people miss but which makes your pictures look just that extra bit special.

A vignette makes the sides of the photo fade a little bit into the periphery. To add vignette, simply go to the Effects tab and then turn up or down the vignette amount based on what you want. A positive vignette will be white while a negative vignette will be black.

And that’s it! That is how you add realistic sun rays and flares to your picture using Lightroom.

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