One of my friends recently asked me how to make the sun “spikey” in a photograph.
It took me a minute to understand the question.
She wanted to know how to create a “starburst” effect.
Creating a starburst from the sun is very simple.
First, here’s a look at a photo with a “regular” sun:
The sun is a little bit “spikey” all on its own, but it isn’t a starburst.
Here’s an example of a sun that IS a starburst:
It’s pretty easy to see the difference.
To get the starburst effect, put your camera in Aperture Priority Mode. (Av for Canon and A for Nikon)
Simply change your aperture (f-stop) to the highest number you can. For many of you, this will be somewhere in the range of f/16 to f/22.
It really is THAT simple.
Learning this easy “technique” will help you in other situations too.
The light you decide to “sunburst” doesn’t have to be the sun.
For instance, I thought the lines of the architecture at the Hyatt in San Francisco were stunning.
Lines alone might not make a very exciting photo.
By switching to a higher aperture, I was able to make the interior hotel lights into starbursts.
I think it made for a more interesting, visually appealing, photo.
You can also use the starburst effect with street lights at night –
Or for that matter, with any light source.
As a reminder, if you’re shooting at night and you want to use a high aperture, you’ll need a tripod to avoid blurry photos.
(A high aperture lets in less light and results in the shutter being open longer.)
You can practice creating starbursts pretty easily.
Try a “test” shot at f/11. Then try one at f/16. Then try one at f/22.
Which one do you like best?
Your results can vary depending on the light, the lens you’re using, and your aperture.
It’s easy to learn, it’s simple to do –
And it can be a lot of fun!