What settings do I need to use for interior shots so the lights don't look flared/streaky?

See example below:


  • 1
    What lens are you using here? – rfusca Apr 10 '14 at 1:48

A halo like the ones on the image is always caused by subtle divergence of light coming from a source. Possible remedies:

  • Good quality lenses have anti-reflection coatings on the lens elements to avoid light bouncing back and forth between two element, and lack of this could create this problem. You might need to upgrade your lens.
  • Or, check if you are using a filter that is causing this (light bouncing between the filters or filter + front element.
  • Or, as AJ suggested, your front (or maybe even/or back) element is not clean - this could even be because of using an oily cleaning fluid!
  • Or change your aperture, because the larger your aperture is (smaller aperture number) the more likely is to see this light halo.

Try the last advice first, and go upwards the list :-).

And the last idea is a separate one: maybe the Active lighting on your camera is on super hard and that tries to keep all the detail in very dark and very light parts of your photo. Try to change that to a more conservative setting.

  • Great thank you. I have changed my aperture as well as gave the element a good clean and seems to be working much better. – Jordyn Geseron Apr 11 '14 at 2:26
  • Super cool! :-) – TFuto Apr 11 '14 at 17:50

Start by cleaning the lens. A dirty lens may cause this, however it is also possible it is simply a property of your lens. If you can't get rid of it, either use a better lens or work around it by taking photos that don't have the lights directly in them.


As it is a radial effect, I'd say take off any filters.

  • 1
    hmm, a filter has distance to the lens glass and thus tend to be a flare with distance to the light source, not like here, extending from the light. thats more typical from grease. – Michael Nielsen Apr 9 '14 at 22:08
  • Also, it's not radial from the centre of the frame (which is just north east of the clock outside the window). Unless the image has been cropped, but it still doesn't look radial to me (not enough convergence) – naught101 Apr 10 '14 at 3:14

The first impression is that you have a temperature difference like getting the cold camera from outside into the warm room or vice versa.

  • 1
    Why do you say that? Condensation on the lens? – MikeW Apr 10 '14 at 0:00

I have a question. What is the subject of your image? If it's the kitchen view, I'd suggest a different approach with your camera and the light issues. Get them out of the image altogether.

Change perspective and angle

Raise up you camera high off the ground and angle the lens down to the kitchen area of your "subject." Lights are distracting to the image. They draw the viewers eye away from the real subject. I'm sure they aren't the main focus of your image. The viewer doesn't need to see the lights to know they are present.

By the way...

Control the light coming through the windows

Another good idea in this type of industrial / commercial image is to control the outdoor light value coming through the windows. With this technique you can add or subtract the outdoor scenery if you want to eliminate distractions to the image.

You can balance the light value from the indoor and outdoor lights separately. Here is how.

The shutter will control the ambient light value to the film. The aperture (f-stop) will control a flash (strobe) or studio lights and control indoor light hitting the film.

Control the viewer's eyes

If you like you can focus your viewers eye to one main area of the kitchen with camera angle and aperture choice. I like to call it selective focus. It makes the image even stronger as you control "the area" of the kitchen the viewer will "rest" in.

To prop or not to prop

If you like, you can add a prop of some kind on the counter top. A daily newspaper with cup of coffee, a women's handbag and keys or a bowl of fruit etc. It can add a focal point.

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