As much as we love to see the sun out, especially on a wedding day, it can create some challenges in your photography when it hits your lens and creates distortion and loss of colour and detail.
Sun reflecting in the lens of your camera is called “lens flare” and it can make or break an image – however, many photographers love it!
Lens flare can be caused by any bright light, but it is most commonly the sun that is the culprit. To avoid lens flare in your photographs, you can use a “lens hood” which is a plastic attachment for the end of your lens which shades the lens optical glass from the sun. If you don’t have a lens hood you can use your hand, but be careful not to have your hand actually in the photo! When I shoot sports team photos or childcare centre photos I will often have the group with their back to the sun, and I then use my flash to light the faces of the subjects. In this case I will often use a clipboard or book to shield the lens from the sun, holding it far enough away from the camera on the tripod that it doesn’t encroach on the image.
Lens flare can enhance an image though, adding mood and dramatic effect, as in this image.
It’s a great idea to have a play around with different effects. You will want to have your camera on manual mode though if you can so that you have more control over the amount of light coming in and the resulting exposure. Think about the way that the light comes through the trees or windows and the silhouettes that it creates. Work around buildings and people too, as well as nature.
In this image I have used the sun to light the tall grass from the side and it creates a dreamy mood. Be aware that more is less with photography – show the viewer a small part of the scene and let them complete the story themselves.
Photo editing programs often come with a lens flare effect now that you can apply to a regular photo to give it more drama and interest. Experiment with adding lens flare to your photographs after the event.