Photography Tip #2 - Avoiding Sun Flare & Sun Haze

Let’s talk about sun flare and sun haze! Photography is all about light and when sunlight goes straight into your camera lens you can end up with something we call “sun flare” or “sun haze”. When you point your camera straight into the sun your photos will be super bright and sometimes you’ll little colored circles or the pictures will get kinda hazy or fuzzy looking. The shinny and colorful circles or streaks are called ‘sun flare’. The fuzzy blurry look is called ‘sun haze’.

When the sun is not pouring into your camera lens (i.e. if the sun is behind the photographer or off the side) then the picture will typically be quite crisp. You can see all the details in your picture with strong contrast between light and dark. The minute the sun beams can slide directly into the camera (even from at an angle) you’ll start to lose your crisp contrast and you’ll start to see flare & haze.

You must think of the sunbeams as a straight line drawn from the sun in the sky down to the earth. They aren’t going to bend or curve. So in your mind, draw a straight line from the sun down to your camera. If that line points into your camera lens you’ll get flare/haze. If that line hits the side or back of your camera (i.e. not going inside the camera lens) you won’t get flare/haze.

Like most of our tips, photography tricks, it’s a matter of inches. You can point your camera right at the sun and moving it even just 1 inch to the right or left can avoid sun flare/haze.

The photos on the left DO NOT have sun flare or sun haze. The photos on the right were taken in a similar location or moment but they DO have sun flare or haze simply because of the angle we turned the camera in relation to the sun.


Most of the time we are avoiding flare & haze because we want our Seattle family portraits to be crisp and clean looking. However, sometimes we do create flare or haze on purpose because we want to create an artistic dreamy style. It looks very romantic to have a little bit of blur or sparkle in the photo. This effect is perfect when mom and dad are kissing and cuddling or your baby is giggling in the bright sunshine. It makes your pictures feel dreamy. You just have this extra special little shimmer. I especially love using sun flare and haze when filming video because it makes it possible for you to see the movement of the light and it’s very captivating for your viewer (you’ll see this used a lot in movies).

So now you know about sun flare & sun haze! There’s not right or wrong - it’s all about understanding it, avoiding it or creating it on purpose! Happy shooting in the sunshine!

xoxo
Chamonix

The photos on the left DO NOT have sun flare or sun haze. The photos on the right were taken in a similar location or moment but they DO have sun flare or haze simply because of the angle we turned the camera in relation to the sun.




Check out our last blog post: Seattle Family Reunion Photography Session at Lake Hills GreenBelt Park