sun flare photography

30 Stunning Examples of Sun Flare Photography

Sun flare photography captures the sun’s rays as they reflect off of a surface or enter directly into the camera lens. This can create an ethereal, romantic quality in images, especially for wedding and engagement photos.  The light flares can be created by the sun, by artificial light in the scene or by a photographer’s flash.  In this article, we’ll showcase 30 stunning examples of flares from our group of the best wedding photographers.  We’ll include both flares created by the sun and flares created by artificial light sources.

Note: These images were selected from the hundreds submitted to our feature challenges in the photography awards section of the website.  Congrats to the photographers selected and thank you for your hard work and creativity.

Natural Flares From the Sun

Let’s start with sun flare wedding and engagement photos.  Taken close to sunrise or sunset (golden hour), these are photos of sun light directly entering the camera lens.  Each sun flare is unique and somewhat unpredictable, adding to the beauty and interest in the photos they help create. For photographers, the main challenge is capturing the sun flares without the flare destroying all clarity and contrast and overpowering the scene.  But when done with taste, technique and intention, you can get the results you see below.

sun flare photography Image by Angela Nelson at Po’olenalena Beach, Hawaii USA
sun flare photography Image by Angela Nelson at Haleakala National Park in Kula, Maui, Hawaii USA
sun flare photography Image by Vows and Peaks at Breckenridge in Colorado United States
sun flare photography Image by Vows and Peaks at Breckenridge in Colorado United States
sun flare photography Image by Chad Winstead at The Point Beach Access in Emerald Isle, NC United States

sun flare photography Image by Jessie and Dallin at Tunnel Springs in Utah USA

sun flare photography Image by Thien Tong at Ba Vì in Ha Noi Viet Nam

sun flare photography Image by Jay Cassario at Maine in Bar Harbor, ME USA
sun flare photography Image by Jay Cassario at Salem Cross Inn in Massachusetts USA
sun flare photography Image by Holding and Co at Yosemite National Park in Yosemite Valley, CA USA
sun flare photography Image by Holding and Co at Top of the Notch Restaurant in Mt. Baldy, CA USA
sun flare photography Image by Marissa Joy Photography at in Montreux Switzerland
sun flare photography Image by Marissa Joy Photography at a Cenote in Playa del Carmen Mexico
sun flare photography Image by Nicole Chan at Iceland in Iceland Iceland
sun flare photography Image by Party of Two at Charlotte, NC in Charlotte, NC USA
sun flare photography Image by Party of Two at Jamestown, NC in Jamestown, NC USA
sun flare photography Image by Party of Two at Charlotte, NC in Charlotte, NC USA
sun flare photography Image by SMJ Photography at Camp Nawakwa in Biglerville, PA USA
sun flare photography Image by Tanya Parada at Los Olivos Winery in Los Olivos, CA United States
sun flare photography Image by Tanya Parada in Malibu, CA USA
sun flare photography Image by Timothy Eyrich at Sabino Canyon in Tucson, Arizona USA
sun flare photography Image by Timothy Eyrich at Skyline Country Club in Tucson, Arizona USA
sun flare photography Image by Wes Shinn at The Barn at Timber Creek in Virginia USA
sun flare photography Image by Wes Shinn at Shenandoah Virginia USA

Flash Flares (and Other Artificial Light)

Flares can also be created with artificial light such as a photographer’s flash or existing lights in the scene.  Much like sun flares, these bursts of light add an interesting and dynamic element to the scene.  This is especially true when there are particles in the air such as spraying champagne or hairspray and fog or mist in the air.  And to add even more interest, some photographers add an additional element and play with the color temperature of the lights, matching or contrasting warm (orange) and cold (blue) tones to achieve their final vision for creative flare photography. Below are some of our favorites from this category.

sun flare photography Image by Jos and Tree at Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

sun flare photography Image by Jos and Tree at San Francisco Bay, California USA

sun flare photography Image by Jason Vinson at Beaver Lake in Garfield Arkansas USA
sun flare photography Image by Jason Vinson at Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville Arkansas USA

sun flare photography Image by Rey Benasfre at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA United States

sun flare photography Image by Holding and co at Castaway Portland in Portland, OR USA

Conclusion

Untrained photographers might see lens flares as nothing more than an annoyance, especially when trying to take a simple, clean picture. But there is something undeniably beautiful about the way light reflects off of surfaces and camera lenses, creating a wash of color across the image. The photographers mentioned in this article go out of their way to seek or even create flares in their shots, using them as creative accents. And it’s easy to see why: when used effectively, lens flares can add drama and intrigue to an otherwise ordinary photo. So next time you’re taking pictures, don’t be afraid to experiment with lens flares. You might just end up with something truly stunning.

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