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Author Topic: how to deal with lens flare in interiors?  (Read 1492 times)
Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« on: December 09, 2012, 02:46:44 PM »
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Lens flare in interior pictures is a real problem that I am not sure how to prevent/minimize. It seems flare is at its greatest when the camera is aimed directly (straight) at the window/light source. Also smaller windows tend to create more flare. How is everyone dealing with this problem? 
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David Eichler
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 03:14:05 PM »
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Lens flare in interior pictures is a real problem that I am not sure how to prevent/minimize. It seems flare is at its greatest when the camera is aimed directly (straight) at the window/light source. Also smaller windows tend to create more flare. How is everyone dealing with this problem?  

Not to say that flare can't be a problem too, but I suspect most of what you are seeing is due to sensor bloom (sensor overload) rather than flare, that is, assuming you are doing digital photography. With film, what looks like flare may sometimes be halation. These phenomena are not only problems for interior photography.

For interiors, assuming one cannot shoot at another time of day when there is less of a brightness difference between inside and outside, it seems to me that supplementary lighting or extensive retouching, or a combination of these, is often the answer. Also, can sometimes use neutral density filters or scrims to reduce the amount of light coming through the window.

« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 03:21:19 PM by David Eichler » Logged

BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2012, 04:56:11 PM »
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Lens flare in interior pictures is a real problem that I am not sure how to prevent/minimize. It seems flare is at its greatest when the camera is aimed directly (straight) at the window/light source. Also smaller windows tend to create more flare. How is everyone dealing with this problem?  

Hi Abdulrahman,

First, by shielding the lens from as much of the non-imaging light as practical. Deep (petal shaped) lens hoods are best, but few are optimal because it's not a practical shape/size and it assumes a fixed focal length.
Second, by the choice of lens. Lenses with fewer elements/groups and with high MTF at low spatial frequencies, and good coatings, and proper interior reflection baffling (including blackening of lens edges), will be less sensitive to glare. Modern multi-layer coatings (some of which have nano-structures) are often much better than old designs.
Third, anti-reflection treatment of the camera (and/or mirror box) interior, which is part of the camera design.
Fourth, coating of the IR filter in front of the sensor, in other words sensor assembly design.
Fifth, software solutions that are able to adaptively deconvolve an image with the Point Spread Function (PSF) of glare. Very few commercial solutions exist, which leaves proprietary solutions, or generic ones like raising the Black point clipping (perhaps restricted with a shadow selection mask).

Cheers,
Bart
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2012, 05:02:25 PM »
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Not to say that flare can't be a problem too, but I suspect most of what you are seeing is due to sensor bloom (sensor overload) rather than flare, that is, assuming you are doing digital photography. With film, what looks like flare may sometimes be halation. These phenomena are not only problems for interior photography.

For interiors, assuming one cannot shoot at another time of day when there is less of a brightness difference between inside and outside, it seems to me that supplementary lighting or extensive retouching, or a combination of these, is often the answer. Also, can sometimes use neutral density filters or scrims to reduce the amount of light coming through the window.



Ditto.

Abdul you are not doing anything "wrong". Sensor bloom is inherent in the technology right now. There is no simple solution, but a combination of a separate lit exposure for the window and frame is my usual solution.
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2012, 06:29:58 PM »
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Ditto.

Abdul you are not doing anything "wrong". Sensor bloom is inherent in the technology right now. There is no simple solution, but a combination of a separate lit exposure for the window and frame is my usual solution.

Hi Kirk,

But then, exposure blending (in contrast to HDR bracketed exposure composites) is considered cheating ( Wink by some) ...

Cheers,
Bart
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2012, 07:14:31 PM »
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Getting a shot right for a client is never cheating. Its called getting the job done. Grin
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 08:00:50 PM »
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Getting a shot right for a client is never cheating. Its called getting the job done. Grin

Hi Kirk,

That's why I used the smiley, 'cheating' was tongue in cheek ...

Cheers,
Bart
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 10:38:22 PM »
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Many thanks for the feedback everyone.

I am using a Canon 5D II with two lenses 17-40 and 24-70 I. The 17-40 produces less flare for sure, but I guess from what you describe sensor bloom will always be there no matter the quality of the lens.

The problem is that after several years dealing with this problem in post I still was not able to develop a clear strategy or a set of techniques to deal with flare quickly and effectively. It seems I always have to go down to experimenting with manual masks until I address most of the problem. That's time consuming and tedious. 
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 10:43:04 PM by Abdulrahman Aljabri » Logged

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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 10:42:06 PM »
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For interiors, assuming one cannot shoot at another time of day when there is less of a brightness difference between inside and outside,

This is very often the case

it seems to me that supplementary lighting or extensive retouching, or a combination of these, is often the answer. Also, can sometimes use neutral density filters or scrims to reduce the amount of light coming through the window.



how do you use external lights to reduce the problem, as fill to reduce ratios?
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 10:43:43 PM by Abdulrahman Aljabri » Logged

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David Eichler
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2012, 12:25:55 AM »
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Many thanks for the feedback everyone.

I am using a Canon 5D II with two lenses 17-40 and 24-70 I. The 17-40 produces less flare for sure, but I guess from what you describe sensor bloom will always be there no matter the quality of the lens.

The problem is that after several years dealing with this problem in post I still was not able to develop a clear strategy or a set of techniques to deal with flare quickly and effectively. It seems I always have to go down to experimenting with manual masks until I address most of the problem. That's time consuming and tedious. 

Both of those lenses have very good flare resistance, assuming they have been manufactured properly and are not damaged or dirty. The best way to keep your post work down is to use supplementary lighting and/or to control the existing lighting with reflectors, scrims, diffusers, etc.. However, that does not mean that you will not have to do any masking or remedial retouching.
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David Eichler
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2012, 12:41:38 AM »
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This is very often the case

how do you use external lights to reduce the problem, as fill to reduce ratios?

Lighting for interior photography can be very complex, and there really are no lighting formulas as there are for some portrait and product photography. How much technique you need to develop for this depends on your present needs and any goals for the future. The technique Kirk describes involves a combination of lighting and masking. You do one exposure for the interior, with or without supplementary lighting, as needed. Then you do another exposure for the exterior, lighting the area around the windows (with either direct or bounced lighting) to balance that with the exterior, and then you mask the window exposure into the interior exposure. You may also need to do an additional exposure for the exterior with no supplementary lighting, to mask out any distracting window reflections from the lights. Also, don't forget to deal with any reflections of the windows on the inside (such as in countertops), so these are consistent with with the window views.

No easy way to learn to do this. Just takes a lot of practice. However, before putting in a lot work on this, I suggest have some idea of the end result you are after. Otherwise, you can just end up flailing away and getting frustrated.
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2012, 02:44:35 AM »
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Thanks David. It's fascinating to learn about other photographers methods and see that through trial and error I reached similar techniques/solutions. Hence, it's reassuring to know this aspect of interior photography is difficult, but also disappointing. Nonetheless, I am committed to continue exploring different ways to improve the process by which I address this challenge.

Many thanks for your feedback   
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Abdulrahman - and yes its a long name but has a meaning "servant of the merciful". you can also call me abdul
kers
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2012, 04:01:58 AM »
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Having done a lot of these shots i notice how the d800 has more dynamic range ergo you can expose shorter -less blooming- and get more quality with these kind of shots..
Also i used 5 brackets tot get it complete and now three will do the trick. Additional lighting is not too difficult if the walls are white - then you can set op a remote flash pointed to the wall behind you. If you use too much flash - it starts looking unnatural -so trail and error...
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Pieter Kers
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2012, 04:05:48 AM »
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Having done a lot of these shots i notice how the d800 has more dynamic range ergo you can expose shorter -less blooming- and get more quality with these kind of shots..
Also i used 5 brackets tot get it complete and now three will do the trick. Additional lighting is not too difficult if the walls are white - then you can set op a remote flash pointed to the wall behind you. If you use too much flash - it starts looking unnatural -so trail and error...


I keep reading about the D800 and wonder is it really that good? By any chance did you try the 5D MK 2, if so how does it compare in that regard?
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kers
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« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2012, 07:27:29 AM »
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Well I can only say it is again an improvement over the already very good D3x
here on shot that shows you its dynamic range and detail  ( 14-24mm lens d8 100asa)
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Pieter Kers
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