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Now I realize that a lot of photographers spend their whole careers trying to make sure that they don't get any lens flare when they photograph their subject, but Photoshop actually allows you to add a lens flare. So let's take a look at that filter. And the only problem with a Lens Flare filter is that it's difficult to see because of the preview size. Let me show what I mean. Certainly I could convert my Background into a Smart Object, and in fact, let's go ahead and do that. But then when I choose Filter and then Render > Lens Flare, you can see that it's really hard to see what exactly is happening, because we are viewing the lens flare here where it's combined against the background, and this is just such a small preview that it's hard for me to tell what's going on.
So I am going to tap the Cancel key for right now, and I am going to show you a little workaround that might come in handy. Instead of applying it to this Smart Object, I'm going to add a new layer. Now, if I just click the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, Photoshop will just add the layer. I want to undo that, because I need the options for that layer. So I'm going to hold down the Option or Alt key and click the New Layer icon, and now we can go ahead and name it, so Lens Flare. And I can change the mode here. I am to going to change the mode to Overlay.
Not only is that going to help build up contrast with the lens flare, but it also gives me the option to fill this layer with a neutral color, which happens to be 50% gray. The reason that it's a neutral color is because when you put your layer in Overlay blend mode, 50% gray will disappear. So I'll OK and even though we can see that the layer is filled, by looking at the icon on our Layers panel, we do not see that gray in the image. But that will allow me to come down to the Filter menu, come down to Render, and then apply my lens flare.
Now that the preview is against the solid gray, it's much easier for me to see what's going on, so that I could reposition the lens flare if I wanted to, and as I change to the different lens types, we get a much clearer picture of what exactly we're going to get as a result. So I'll go back to the first lens type and that makes that pretty bright. I'll click OK and now we have our lens flare in our image. So I know that for some of you, you are trying to avoid lens flare, but it's nice to know that not only can you add it in Photoshop, but if you use this technique where you fill a layer with 50% gray, if you set that layer's blend mode to either Overlay or Soft Light or any of the ones in this group, that color will disappear and you'll just be left with any other values on that layer.
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