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How can I achieve a similar look to this image

I want to capture the sunlight streaming through the window and the lense sunspot type of effect like in the middle of this image.

Anyone had experience doing this before?


marked as duplicate by mattdm, Paul Cezanne, AJ Henderson, Caleb, jrista Dec 16 '13 at 13:37

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Yes, I have experience doing this before, both on purpose and by accident.

Here's what I have discovered:

Shoot toward the source of light with a dark background. Any patterns will show up better against the background. It is present in all pictures but flare is most apparent when there is enough contrast between it and a plain featureless background dark enough to reveal it.

Furthermore, the condition of the surface of the objective lens affects the amount and kind of flare. Your example shows a relatively clean surface. Individual defects will appear differently. Overall dust will provide an overall decrease in contrast. Overall dust will dilute the shadows and reduce the dynamic range of the scene. Individual dust particles will produce individual lighter spots on the dark background. Scratches and digs will appear as bright circles. Bubbles in lens glass affects flare, minimally, but not focus.


In that case, there appears to be dust and streaks on the lens which were exposed by the harsh lighting. Dirty up a UV lens filter a bit, throw it on a lens and then shoot in a fairly dark room with harsh, highly directional sunlight and the effect should happen. Clean the filter some as necessary to reduce the effect.


A cheap, non-coated filter such as a $10 UV filter will create obvious flares when shooting with sunlight or bright lights on the edge of the frame. Or any non-coated flat glass in front of your front lens element.

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