It’s Friday and that means another professional pet photography Project 52 blog post. We’re at Week 32 and finishing up our exploration of light with the theme “Lens Flare.” As we have been doing most of this year, we’re following the lessons in the book “The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographers” by David DuChemin

Most of the time lens flare is not a desired element in images, but it can create a certain interest and visual effect. If you’re familiar with any JJ Abrams productions (Super 8, the new Star Trek, the new Star Wars, among many others) you’ve seen lens flare used to excess. JJ Abrams uses lens flare as a visual effect so much in his movies it has become a joke on counting how many times it’s used. However, in photography, you don’t want to use lens flare to the extent that Mr. Abrams does because, as they say, less is more. You can, however, incorporate lens flare to good effect.

Lens flare is created when the light directly hits the front element of the lens, enters the lens, and then, as DuChemin says “bounces around stuff, creating artifacts like rays and rainbows.” The more elements that are in a lens (such as longer lenses) or the cheaper they are (lower quality coatings), lenses are more prone to flare. What lens flare does is make us more aware of where the sun is and the media that we use to photograph it.
Here’s an image from a client session a couple of years ago that had tons of lens flare in it. It was just the right time of day and I was shooting pretty directly in the sun to get it. You can see how the lens is acting as a prism and creating multiple rainbow effects. If I were to edit this image, I would keep the flare in the upper left and remove the flare in the lower right. I like the effect the flare gives, but the portion in the lower right does not add to the image at all.

This next image was taken last year for another Project 52 blog post with the theme of “sky.” I was shooting into the setting sun and my lens created a slight rainbow artifact in the lower left corner. For my post, because I was trying to focus on the sun in the sky and how it illuminated around Mr. Bojangles, I didn’t want the lens flare, so edited it out for my post, as you can see from the revised example of the same image.

This week has been a typically0 hot and muggy Cincinnati August, so spending time outdoors is not my favorite thing. However, since you get some of the best lens flare from the sun, I really wanted to complete my project for the week outdoors and not in studio as I’ve done the last couple of weeks. So, I took a chair and Mr. Bojangles out behind our fence on a sunny morning and got the following image with flare. I like this image because you can see the rays of the sun beaming down on him. Fortunately, the trees provided a filtering effect on the sun, so there were no rainbow artifacts, although you can see a hint of color in the beaming rays.

For more images with (lens) flare, head over to Little White Dog Pet Photography – Sioux Falls, SD, and then around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session in your home or other favorite location, use the hot pink “BOOK NOW” button to the right of this post (at the bottom or your screen on mobile), send us an email to suzi [at], or give us a call at 513-288-1650 in the Greater Cincinnati area or at 650-382-3242 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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