Using Sunbursts to Create Drama | Photography Unfolded

Using Sunbursts to Create Drama

 In Tips + Tricks

Sunbursts can add a bit of drama to your architectural images, both cityscapes, and more detailed shots. Here are a few steps to follow to make the most of these types of shots:

  1. Stop down your lens to f/16-f/22 to get those radiant beams of light to shine.
  2. Expose for your highlights/underexpose to make those rays show up in the shot instead of just a big white blob.
  3. When composing the shot, align the sun along the edge or corner of your structure/building. This helps your camera grab focus and gives those beams a place to radiate from.

First up, some architectural details.

sunburst, oklahoma city suburst, calder flamingo, chicgao

Next, you can use these same techniques in wider cityscape shots. The sculptural element in the Mary Bartelme Park is a great place to position the sun to create this effect.

sunburst, mary bartelme park, chicago

Having an edge for the sunburst to radiate from is certainly a good way to utilize this effect, but it can work just as well as a singular element in the frame. A good counter to your architectural subject, whether a detail or cityscape.

sunburst, tempe arizona, tempe center for performing arts

This June’s monthly theme will be sunbursts. Share your images with us in our Facebook Group: Architecture Photography Unfolded or on Instagram by tagging us @photographyunfolded or with #sunburtsunfolded. We’ll be sure to share your images in our IG stories and/or for Feature Friday. We look forward to seeing your shots!

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