In the world of photography, lens flare and bokeh are two effects that can transform a simple photo into a piece of art. While traditionally these effects were the byproducts of specific types of lenses and lighting conditions, modern technology allows photographers and enthusiasts to add these effects post-shooting through photo editing apps. This article explores the best photo editing apps for adding lens flare and bokeh, catering to both professional photographers and hobbyists who seek to enhance their images with these captivating effects.
1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Mobile
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Mobile is a powerhouse in the photo editing world. Known for its extensive editing capabilities, it also offers options for adding lens flare and bokeh through its selective adjustment tools and preset filters. The app allows users to adjust the intensity and positioning of these effects, making it possible to achieve a natural and balanced look.
Snapseed, a free app developed by Google, offers a range of selective filters, including options to add lens flare and bokeh. The app’s ‘Lens Blur’ feature allows users to simulate a shallow depth of field, adding a bokeh effect to the background, while the ‘Glamour Glow’ filter can mimic a subtle flare. Snapseed stands out for its user-friendly interface and precision editing tools.
3. Lens Distortions®
Lens Distortions is an app specifically designed to add natural-looking lens flare, bokeh, and other effects to photos. It provides a variety of lens flare styles that can be adjusted for brightness, color, and positioning. The app’s strength lies in its high-quality overlays that mimic real lens effects, appealing to professionals seeking authenticity in their edits.
4. Afterlight 2
Afterlight 2 offers a fusion of classic and contemporary editing tools, including options for adding lens flare and bokeh. Its ‘Dust’ and ‘Light Leak’ filters add a vintage flare to photos, while its ‘Double Exposure’ tool can be used creatively to overlay bokeh effects. The app’s straightforward interface makes it a favorite among casual photographers.
5. Bokeh Lens
Bokeh Lens is an app specifically focused on creating bokeh effects. It allows users to easily blur the background of their photos, simulating the effect of a wide aperture lens. The app is straightforward, making it accessible to beginners, yet robust enough for more experienced users looking for a dedicated bokeh tool.
6. PicsArt Photo & Video Editor
PicsArt offers a comprehensive suite of editing tools, including various lens flare and bokeh effects. Users can experiment with different styles and intensities, adding a creative touch to their photos. PicsArt also features a social community where users can share their creations and draw inspiration from others.
VSCO, renowned for its film-like filters, also includes options for adding lens flare and bokeh. While its lens flare options are more subtle compared to other apps, they are ideal for photographers seeking a natural and understated effect. VSCO’s bokeh presets add depth and focus to images, enhancing the overall composition.
8. Enlight Photofox: Photo Editor
Enlight Photofox is a versatile app offering advanced editing features, including the ability to add and customize lens flare and bokeh effects. Its layering capability allows users to blend different effects seamlessly, creating complex and artistic images.
Mextures is an app designed for texture and light overlays, including lens flare and bokeh effects. It allows for granular control over the intensity and color of the overlays, appealing to users who enjoy fine-tuning their edits. Mextures is particularly popular for its layer-based editing system.
Focos is an app specifically designed to simulate depth-of-field effects, making it ideal for adding bokeh to images. It uses advanced algorithms to create a realistic depth map and allows users to adjust the bokeh effect’s shape, size, and intensity. Focos is particularly effective for portrait photography.
Understanding Lens Flare and Bokeh
Lens Flare: Lens flare occurs when light scatters or flares in a lens system, typically in response to a bright light source. In photography, it can add a dreamy, cinematic quality to images but requires careful handling to avoid overpowering the subject.
Bokeh: Bokeh refers to the quality of the out-of-focus areas in a photograph. It’s often seen as soft, blurred backgrounds that help to
highlight the main subject of the photo. Bokeh is created by the lens when shooting at a shallow depth of field, and its aesthetic quality depends on the type of lens used and the aperture shape.
Tips for Adding Lens Flare and Bokeh
- Balance is Key: When adding lens flare or bokeh, it’s important to maintain a balance. The effects should enhance the photo without dominating it or detracting from the main subject.
- Natural Placement: For lens flare, consider the light source in your original photo. Adding flare in a way that aligns with the natural lighting can make the effect more believable.
- Quality of Bokeh: When adding bokeh, focus on the quality of the blur. It should be smooth and not too grainy or artificial-looking. The goal is to create a pleasing background that draws attention to the subject.
- Layering Effects: In apps like Mextures or Enlight Photofox, use layers to control the intensity and blend of your effects. This allows for more nuanced and professional results.
- Experimentation: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and intensities. Sometimes, unexpected combinations of flare and bokeh can lead to stunningly unique images.
Adding lens flare and bokeh to photos can elevate them from simple snapshots to visually striking images. The apps listed in this article offer a range of tools for photographers of all levels to experiment with these effects. Whether you seek subtle enhancements or bold artistic statements, there is an app to suit your needs. By understanding the nuances of lens flare and bokeh and applying them thoughtfully, you can unleash your creative potential and bring a new dimension to your photography. Remember, the best photos are those that tell a story, evoke emotions, and reveal the world in a new light – and sometimes, a touch of flare or a hint of bokeh is all it takes to transform a photo into a masterpiece.