While many photographers do everything they can to avoid lens flare, others actively seek it to add a dash of colour or just a little something extra and different to their portraits, weddings or other photography. Other than shooting directly into a light source, the most common way people add flare is to put something in front of the lens between the subject.
People use prisms or all kinds of things, and there are even photography products out there specifically for this purpose. But you can get a little more creative with some DIY options, too. In this video, Pye over at SLRLounge shows us how we can build something very effective using a simple metal ring and metallic gold beaded necklaces in just a couple of minutes.
Pye’s process basically involves wrapping the metallic gold beaded necklaces around the metal hoop and tying it off with bead stringing wire or fishing line. You just need to pick an appropriately sized ring, which is going to both depend on the angle of view of the lens you’re putting it in front of and is also somewhat subjective depending on the look you’re going for.
Then it’s just a case of wrapping the necklace (or several necklaces if the ring is quite large) around the ring and tying off the ends with the fishing line. After that, it’s simply a case of holding it in front of the lens while you shoot.
you will want to make sure that the ring is backlit to get that flarey bokeh look and you’ll need a wide aperture. If you can’t backlight it using the available ambient light, you’ll want to bring a speedlight out or something with you in order to add the backlight. Even if you don’t use it to light the subject (although that may help to sell the effect), you’ll want to point it at the ring in front of the lens.
You can see in the video that it produces some pretty neat effects. Metallic beaded necklaces are also available in a bunch of different colours, so you don’t need to limit yourself to just gold if you don’t want to.
Do you add things in front of your lens to produce flares and bokeh balls? What do you use?