A Quick Photoshop Action for Enhancing Soft Flare Effects

Full disclosure: Creating this Action goes against many things I've stated in the past, including and especially my whole idea that "No Action should create effects for you". That said, with the huge influx of Action requests that I've been receiving, I reasoned this particular one is steeped wholly enough into "procedure" that it could possibly make a decent (and useful) automatic process. As such, let's have a look at my Soft Flare FX Action.

I created a quick tutorial a year ago about how I like to create very subtle atmospheric effects in my photos, often to add some sense of depth and presence to an otherwise basic shot. Not thinking too much of it when I uploaded the video, I was surprised to receive so much feedback about it from photographers asking if such a thing could be provided as an Action.

The short answer: No.

The reason why is because last year's How I Add Atmosphere To Some Of My Shots is a totally manual process, which I always prefer. On top of that, it was also focused on an indoor image where light effects and flare were nonexistent in the original image. 

Today's tutorial, shown above, discusses my Action (download it here) that specifically works to enhance the dramatic look of very bright light areas of your image, ideally caused by sunlight that is already overexposed in camera. I can't stress this enough, an image without existing lighting effects (such blown out windows, sun flare, intense reflections of light, any overblown light source, etc) will be minimally changed by this Action. Or, more likely, it may end up looking just plain wrong. 

But do try it out, see if it works for you, and let me know. Happy flaring!

Hooray lens flare!

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Sean Shimmel's picture

Nino, thank you for sharing the action and the multiple examples.

Spy Black's picture

Just want to drop a note of thanks for the time you've been taking to post the articles you've done here recently.

Jay Jay's picture

Thank you so much for these actions and especially the videos describing how they work in detail- big help!

Sanket Khuntale's picture

Nice Actions !
Do you think 'Diffuse Glow' filters from photoshop would almost do the same ?
I have been using it for a while to enhance flares :)