I got out of the car to take a landscape picture with my ipad-mini-2. HDR was on. Afterwards, I hit auto-enhance and cropped it. Surprise, the sun photo-bombed my shot!

I didn't plan that when I took the picture. Can I do it on purpose? Can I do it with a real camera?

Landscape shot near Fuente Dé, Spain

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    \$\begingroup\$ Remember when people told you not to let the sun shine directly on the lens when taking a picture? Now you know why. Don't do that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 22:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ OMG you captured a chemtrail! :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 12:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop why not? Sometimes it creates a nice effect \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @laur: OK if you actually want that effect. Most times you don't. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 13:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can but if you do it too frequently it can damage your camera so be careful with this effect. photo.stackexchange.com/questions/4016/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


Can I do it on purpose? Can I do it with a real camera?

Yes, and yes. People usually try to avoid that effect, called lens flare, but sometimes it adds an interesting creative element. You should never point your camera directly at the sun, but if you frame a shot so that the sun is out of the frame but nearby there's a good chance you'll get some flare. Removing the hood from your lens will improve your chances of lens flare since the point of the hood is to block light from the side that usually causes flare. Other light sources, like streetlights, can also cause flare. Different lenses and different light sources give different kinds of flare, so experiment. (And again, don't point your camera at the sun.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ minor nit: OK to point at the sun if you have a proper solar filter installed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 19:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CarlWitthoft Agree, but if you know enough to buy the right filter, you know enough to understand why the advice doesn't apply to you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not to mention the cross over between shots using a solar filter and shots using artistic lens flare is probably small enough to safely ignore \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2017 at 15:16

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