What Do I Need To Know About Lens Flare In Product Photography?

Sep 26, 2023 | 0 comments

Today we will answer your questions on the topic of lens flare. Often appearing in our product photography as streaks or spots of light and colour, they can contribute to great results in certain situations. However, the reality for most of us working in e-commerce photography is that it detracts from the quality of the image and the story we’re trying to tell. Whenever we deliver a service as a commercial photographer, we must avoid this happening.

So let’s dive into the topic of lens flare and explore what causes it and some top tips on how to avoid it.

So what exactly causes lens flare?

It may not be an issue for those working indoors, such as for an e-commerce photography studio but we should all be aware of the cause of lens flare. It happens when unwanted light enters the lens and is then reflected off the elements within the lens.

The most common scenario is when working in an outdoor setting and there is a bright light in the form of natural or artificial lighting. It is also important to note for those working in product photography that zoom lenses appear more prone to this problem than prime lenses but none are immune to the challenge.

The different types of lens flare

We’ve put together a brief description of the different types of lens flare that can affect the work of a commercial photographer.

  • Starburst: If you use a higher f-stop, such as 8 to 16 to shoot a bright point of light then you run the risk of creating a starburst. By lowering the f-stop you can minimise the effect of the sun or artificial light.
  • Ghosting: This effect can occur in e-commerce photography when you’re lighting a scene with a bright light or working outdoors. When it happens, you will see small round spots appear.
  • Veiling: In product photography, veiling appears as a haze over the image and becomes a problem when there is a large light source outside of the shot you’re taking.
  • Sensor Flare: When light is reflected from the sensors to your camera lens and then back to the sensor again it creates this type of flare. Often appearing as red or green dots, it is a problem when looking directly at a strong light source.
  • Anamorphic: Slightly different to the other lens flare effects, anamorphic causes streaks of light horizontally across your product photography image.

Top tips for avoiding lens flare

To finish this article, we’ve put together some of the top tips by our experts on how to avoid lens flare. They include:

  • Ensure your lens is clean and free of dust or marks that could add unwanted flare to your product photography images.
  • Change the time of day that you complete your outdoor photography shoot to reduce the strength of the light.
  • Use a lens hood as they are designed for the very purpose of reducing the impact of lens flares.
  • Change the composition and angle of your shoot if you simply cannot remove unwanted lens flares.

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