Sometimes on the MCP Blog and on MCP Show and Tell we teach photographers how to fix an image or make drastic changes to a photo. But one important use for Photoshop actions is to do quick edits and add artistic flare to an already strong image.
The “before” photo had light skin smoothing. All edits used just one action on top of the before using the MCP Inspire Actions for Photoshop and Elements. Photo courtesy of Kruithof Photography.
Which is your favorite edit?
Inspire Beaming – Warm Toned Color Action
Inspire Countryside – Pastel Toned Action
Inspire Denim and Pearls – Classic Vintage Toned Action
Inspire Rainforest – Rich, Contrast Action
Inspire Sun-drenched – Warm Light Action
Inspire Sweet Dreams – Peach Toned Action
Inspire Chic – Matte B&W Photoshop Action
Inspire Vogue – High Impact/High Contrast B&W Action
10 Secret Ingredients to Get Powerful Sunflare
When I started in my photographic journey more than a decade ago, I was warned “use a lens hood to avoid lens flare at all costs.” Most photographers thought of flare and excess light as a bad thing for photos. Some still do.
I love light. I love the way light can bounce off an object, can stream through a window, and can even create a soft haze on an image. I have chosen to purposely “use” light to craft starbursts and sunflare. And yes, I even sometimes add extra sunflare in Photoshop or add streams of light in Lightroom. Cringe!
Here’s a few tips on how to get great bursts of sunlight on your own terms.
- Shoot the sun against a vibrant blue sky.
- Switch to Manual, if not already there. You’ll get the best results this way.
- Set your speed. Aim for ISO 100, but closer to sunset (or after sunrise) you may need ISO 200-400+. If you want a “burst style” flare, set your aperture between f16-f22. If you want a hazier look with less definition, you can open the lens wider though.
- Lastly set your shutter speed. You will need to vary this setting quite a bit depending what you want to preserve (sky or subject). I usually try to retain the blue sky and slightly under expose my subject. I then adjust the exposure in Lightroom or Photoshop.
- For more control over the light, use a reflector or a flash to light your subject if they are “in range” of your source.
- If you are shooting objects further away, such as a building, take two exposures. In one, expose for the sky. In the next expose for your subject. Then merge in post processing.
- This technique works best when the sun is not directly overhead. Look for times where the sun is lower in the sky.
- Edges work great. While you can get sunflare and the starburst effect in mid sky, you can get even more dynamic results when it gazes the edge of a building or object.
- A lens hood “can” be your friend. If you want a hazy look, take it off. If you want a bolder starburst flare effect, keep it on to enhance the contrast.
- Results will vary depending on the type of lens you use. I get completely different results using my Olympus OMD EM5 than I do with my Canon 5D MKIII. When I use a prime lens versus a zoom, and depending on the aperture and focal length, the look changes too. Experiment to find your favorite looks.
Have fun with this new technique. I love the look and I often take a few images like these in different locations – just for entertainment… As with anything, you can have too much of a good thing. Beware – this can be addicting!
Now it’s your turn. Add your sunflare images below!
To learn more about MCP Photo A Day.
It’s never too late to join in. And if you miss a day or two, or get behind, that’s fine as well. Just participate when you can. Here are the fun themes for April. You are welcome to pin this and post it directly to Facebook, Google+ and Instagram too!
How to participate:
- Take a photo with any camera you want (SLR, phone, P&S, etc). Post the image to your Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus or best yet – all of them. Hashtag it #mcpphotoaday. If possible list the day, date and/or theme.
- Bonus fun – You can also follow us and tag @mcpactions on Instagram. If on Facebook – tag the MCP Business Facebook Page and if on Google+ – tag the MCP G+ Page.
- If you edited the photo with MCP products such as our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets and textures, you can also hashtag it #mcpactions. For more exposure, you may post MCP edited images to our Facebook Group and state what products were used.
- Spread the word. Tell others to visit this shortened URL to join us: http://bit.ly/mcp-photoaday
- Make sure you FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM and OUR PERSONAL FACEBOOK as we will try and feature photos daily.
That’s it – super easy. We hope you participate. Make sure to check out MCP on Instagram. We will feature participants’ images – so visit to get inspired and maybe to see your image.
Comment below and let us know if you will be joining us!
Let’s get right to it. I have written before on our studio blog, where I have tackled the subject about social media for photography studios and how to create good content (and how to avoid creating bad content). I usually stress the importance of being social on social media, as well, but unfortunately many of you reading this article right now still are not rising to the occasion. How do I know this? Because I see it all the time. It’s still the most common coaching tip I am hammering home to my peers and my clients who manage brand pages on Facebook and elsewhere.
Interesting Content Is Important…
Of course, posting interesting content is still critical to an effective social media strategy. Although Facebook’s new algorithms may again have you wondering, you will still have more fans (whichever platform you’re on) if you are providing value. Value on social media = useful information, interesting and funny posts, content that focuses on your clients, along with things you would want to see in your own news feed. Blogging can be great for your brand, IF you do it well – maybe even the best thing you can do! Tweeting, vining, instagramming, pinning or whatever your clients are doing is all still very important with a creative and valuable approach.
…But Engagement Is EQUALLY Important
Once you put all that stuff out there your job is STILL NOT done no matter how good it is. Of the social media managers and business owners I see I would break them down into three categories:
1. Those who are spinning their wheels because their content is all about them and a sales pitch, boring and weak, and/or intermittent and unfocused (I feel like the MAJORITY of brand pages still fall into this category)
2. Those who have done between a good and fantastic job of creating interesting and valuable content that is varied and client-focused (There are SOME doing this but they stop there)
3. Those who have really done a fantastic job of creating interesting and valuable content that is varied and client-focused, AND do an equally great job of building relationships through engagement (NOT MANY are doing this – it’s a painful truth).
It’s very simple – when people respond to your great content with comments and feedback they want to know that you’re reading it and will feel better about it if you acknowledge their contribution. The point of putting your studio on social media is probably to get exposure and maybe build your business a little – right? Social media has to be social to be effective. You have to build relationships with people to grow. You won’t build relationships by ignoring people who take an interest in your business, so make sure you do the reactive part – comment back to the people who like and comment on your page. But even that’s not enough.
Make sure to also be proactive! Go outside of your page as your brand and like and comment on other brand pages you partner with, are neighbors or peers with, or just plain like! And please, be sincere about it. Share some of their content that your followers will find valuable. I am speaking largely in Facebook terms here but the same concept applies on twitter, instagram and anywhere else. If your clients notice your interactions with other brands it will help both of you. If you are visible to clients on peer pages you will be giving yourself additional exposure.
Don’t be Intimidated… It’s Easy to Start Being Proactive!
Let’s walk through this on Facebook for starters because many do not know how to do this.
The screenshot above is how the upper right corner of my Facebook home page looks when I am logged in as Doug. Now let’s left click on the little gear icon to the right:
When we click on the gear we get a drop down box giving us the option to “use Facebook as:” Frameable Faces Photography in my case. Now let’s click there – where it says Frameable Faces:
Now my Facebook home page has flipped and I am logged in and using Facebook AS Frameable Faces Photography – not as Doug. Now when I click on “Home” I see the news feed of other pages we follow as Frameable Faces and when I comment, like and share I am doing it as my brand – not as Doug. That’s not to say that you are anonymous when you do this, and you don’t want to be. While it can be healthy to separate yourself from your brand a little bit, as photographers you and your personality are infused into your brand in many ways and hopefully that’s a good thing. As I said before, you need to be sincere about it when you are engaging as your brand – in other words don’t just like and make cookie cutter comments about everything you can find on Facebook even if you didn’t read it – that can come back to bite you – people will spot a fake.
While it can add time to all of our daily exercises as business owners, it truly can be something that adds value to your business and helps to build your brand outside of your location. I hope this helps. Now go forth and socialize!!!
Doug Cohen is a co-owner of Frameable Faces Photography with his wife Ally in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, MI. Ally is the photographer and Doug handles the sales and marketing. You can also find Doug personally on twitter in addition to the studio at @dougcohen10. He writes for their blog and sings in a rock band.
Starting with an already great image definitely opens up a world of possibilities with editing. You, as the photographer/artist, can take the edit in nearly any direction.
Edit 1 – the matte look (first image below these steps)
Used the following InFusion Lightroom Presets:
- Clicked on One Click Color Base 100%
- Clicked on Highlight Helpers 2
- Clicked on Jenna’s Candy Shop 3
- Clicked on Surrounded 1
- Clicked on High Definition 2
- Clicked on Lighten Up 1
- Clicked on Define 1
Edit 2 – the vivid color pop look (2nd image – just above steps)
Used the following InFusion Lightroom Presets and finished off with one Illuminate preset to infuse light:
- Clicked on One Click Color Base 75%
- Clicked on Sleepover 2
- Clicked on Rosy Wash (Illuminate)
- Finished using Exact-o-Sharp on the eyes
So, we’d love to know – which look do you prefer? I prefer the vivid color pop for this image, but it is always fun to try different artistic looks and to find our style!
If you love the workflow presets (InFusion) and the look of a wash of light and toning (illuminate) as we showed here, we have the bundled package at the buy now button below.
Thank you to Lindsay Gutierrez of L&L Photography for the use of this amazing image.