Sometimes lens flare can be beautiful and intentional, simply the way that the flare is rendered in your photo is a combination of the lens characteristics and the angle of the sun in your composition. Not all lenses produce good looking lens flare, and not all lenses render flare in the same style at all angles. Sometimes you’ll take a lens that usually produces skillful looking or at least adequate flare, but then you’ll find that if y’all place the dominicus at simply the right (or incorrect) angle, the flare suddenly becomes nasty enough to ruin a shot.
The ideal for most people would be for lenses to not flare at all. This would allow us to start with a clean slate, and only add flare in post-production if we idea it would ameliorate the ambient of the photo. In fact, Luminar from Skylum Software has a wonderful flare filter that I have demonstrated before.
The reality is that most lenses volition flare to some degree, even the most expensive lenses that proclaim to have a host of expensive optical coatings to combat the problem. Thankfully, there is an easy fix to the problem that I’one thousand going to show you today. I volition be using Lightroom and Photoshop in this example, but the principals tin can be transferred to any other proficient editing platform. As you lot will see, the central to this technique is forethought in the field and a basic understanding of a couple of elementary Photoshop tools.
Since I’m a nice guy, I accept recorded a video tutorial
a written a pace-by-step version.
How to remove flare in Lightroom and Photoshop
Step ane – Paradigm Capture
This photo was taken on an evening walk with my dogs in the Yukon. I happened to be carrying my Sony a9 2 with the lovely trivial Sony 20mm f/1.8 G lens. It’due south an incredibly sharp lens, nigh G Master quality, but it’s definitely not immune to lens flare in quite the same way every bit a more expensive lens might be.
Even though I was using the lens hood, it was immediately obvious through the EVF that some nasty flare artefacts were appearing on the photograph. For this limerick, I was keeping the sun just outside the edge of the frame, which is where you lot are most probable to cause flaring. Unfortunately, my composition was a bit limited by my prime lens – no manner to zoom in to move the sun further from the frame’south edge, and no way to “foot zoom” my manner forrad due to the steep embankment.
At this signal, the first step to solving this problem is to run into it, acknowledge it, and then go alee and take your shot anyhow, with the platonic composition that yous want.
The 2d pace is to place your mitt above your lens and move it effectually until you block the rays of the sun that are causing the flare. This will almost certainly result in your mitt being in the frame of this second shot, only it should not have to be too far into the frame. I observe information technology easier to meet the effects of my manus placement through the EVF of mirrorless cameras. For those shooting DSLRs, you lot might need to have some test shots and examine them on the LCD screen. Once you have that figured out, take this 2d shot, complete with your hand in office of the frame.
Step 2 – Paradigm Organization
Once I have downloaded all my images into my catalogue in Lightroom, I like to locate the pair of images that were created and group them into a stack. This keeps things nice and organized. Simply select both images, right-click on one of them, motility downwards to Stacking and choose “Grouping into stack”.
Footstep 3 – Prototype Editing
Now yous are going to go alee and edit your primary image – the one with the flare in it – every bit you normally would. Ignore the flare for now and but concentrate on your usual editing workflow: Exposure, levels, contrast, saturation, sharpening and noise reduction.
Once this is complete, in the Library module of Lightroom you want to right-click on the master image, go down to Develop Settings and choose “Copy Settings”.
We need to apply the exact aforementioned edits to the 2nd epitome. So right-click on that second image, choose Develop Settings and and so click “Paste Settings”.
Now we have two identically edited images to work with in Photoshop.
Step 4 – Sending to Photoshop
To get these images into Photoshop, you demand to select both images simultaneously, then right-click on either one, go to Edit In and then choose “Open as Layers in Photoshop”.
This volition create a new file in Photoshop, and it will place each of the two images onto their own layer. Bold you shot the primary image get-go, and the image with your mitt in information technology second, information technology will stack them in that gild in the layers palette, with the primary image on height of the secondary image.
Pace 5 – Aligning the Images
If yous used a tripod to take both photos, you can skip this step as both of your photos should be perfectly aligned already. If y’all shot them handheld, every bit I did for the example, we demand to practice a quick auto-alignment.
To do this, select both layers in your layer panel, so go to
Edit > Auto Marshal Layers.
This brings up a dialogue box total of options, but for our purposes we just need to leave it on Auto and press OK.
Photoshop will perform some calculations and so brand any necessary rotations of one prototype to perfectly match the second image.
Step half-dozen – Masking
To remove the flare we at present need to reveal the good parts of our secondary paradigm that is on the bottom layer. At this point, the wrong pick would be to cull the erase tool and but erase parts of the top layer. Using the erase tool is a very subversive method of editing in Photoshop, and the whole point of layer-based non-destructive editing is that you attempt to go on as much info in your file so that you can whorl back your changes actually easily.
To do this, brand certain you have your top layer selected, and then click the button to add a layer mask. Also available via the menu
Layer > Layer Mask > From Transparency.
Now select your brush tool (shortcut: B primal), and make sure the brush colour is prepare to black. Y’all likewise desire to make sure that you have selected the layer mask in the layer console, and not the bodily layer itself.
With this brush tool yous tin paint on the prototype over the lens flare and it will reveal the second image below it, effectively removing the flare from your photo.
If you brand a fault with your paint brush, you lot tin can swap the castor colour to white and paint back on the mask to reveal the elevation layer again.
Stride 7 – Crop and Save
Once you’re happy with the flare removal, y’all’ll need to slightly ingather the paradigm if you performed a layer alignment in pace 5. Then go to File > Save to save the PSD file and maintain the layers. Since we originally opened these files from Lightroom, Photoshop is smart enough to know this and information technology will automatically import the PSD file back into Lightroom correct next to your original files.
Using this technique the flare removal chore was done in less than two minutes. It’s possible that you could have removed the flare using other techniques such equally patching and cloning, but that would probably accept taken ten times as long, and a whole heck of a lot more Photoshop experience.
The beauty of this trick is that if you’re primarily a Lightroom user, yous only need a very small amount of Photoshop cognition to get this washed, and it creates a far neater result than whatever other method.
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