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Add a Lens Flare to Your Photo

By Russell Preston Brown

When I went on a photo shoot with surfer Shawn Tracht, I captured some great images. But one of them needed a little something extra. Here’s how I added a lens flare to step up the drama.

I began with basic adjustments in Adobe Lightroom for mobile. (It’s a free app that runs on iOs and Android tablets and phones.) I adjusted highlights, opened up the shadows, and added vibrance to emphasize the reflections in the surf.  I also adjusted clarity—not increasing it, as you might expect, but decreasing it to add a nice haze along the horizon.

Next, I exported a copy of the adjusted image to Adobe Photoshop Mix, another free app for iOS and Android. It’s a great tool for adding layers and effects. I duplicated the image and then painted with light on the new layer to increase the photo’s impact.

For that final dramatic touch, I brought in a lens flare image from Adobe Stock. Photoshop Mix makes it easy to convincingly blend photos together, even when they’re different color casts.

To follow along step-by-step, watch my video tutorial below.

Russell Brown made this surfer photo more dramatic by adding a lens flare.

Click the "before" photo above to watch the tutorial.

Tracht is a photographer and author in his own right. The Surf Wanderer website has many examples of his craft.