how to create light beam for black and white photography with Lightroom.

How to Create Light Beam for Black and White Photography with Lightroom

There are many ways to give impact to black and white photography. It can be done on camera or on post-processing. One of post-processing manipulation effect that popular with black and white photography, especially as a fine art, is lens flare. In this article, I will explain how to create light beam for black and white photography with Lightroom.

How a Good Light Beam Suppose to Look Like

Unlike the natural thing, lens flare created in post-processing can be rather hard to make. Or should I say, it’s rather hard to make as realistic as possible. Take a look at this:

BAD!!!

It’s a light beam. But horrible. Because it looks like a white oval on the sky. It’s weird and not even realistic. You may think it’s just an example from me, but many have made it this way. Which I don’t like at all.

To make something like that just uses radial filter, create a huge oval, and increase the exposure to the highest. That is how to create light beam for black and white photography with Lightroom, in a bad way.

So here is a good light beam looks like:

(All terms come from drawing theory)

As you can see in the photo, it does not equally have the same the tone. A small brightest part, the highlight. Then the bigger part, but not as bright as before, Light Area. And then, bigger part and less bright as the Light Area, Middle Tone Area.

Here a few more examples of light beam added in post-processing:

By creating a non-equal tone for each part of the lens flare, we create an impression that from the brightest part, lights spreads. Just imagine how the sun works. The planet is the brightest and the light emitted from it, but the light is not as bright as the actual sun. The form has to be thin, like a sharp line.

So that is what a good light beam looks like. If the lens flare was taken when the photo was taken, this is not a problem. But how exactly to make one in post-processing? I’m gonna show you how to create light beam for black and white photography with Lightroom.

Also read: 5 Simple Step to Create Long Exposure Cloud in Photoshop

How to Create Light Beam for Black and White Photography with Lightroom

Let’s assume that the photo is already exported to Lightroom, adjusted in black and white, and ready. But then you suddenly want to create light beam effect.

First, consider a couple of things. Take a look at the photo and decide which part of the photo you want the light beam to be. For this photo, I want it in the sky with the brightest part is the lamp. With doing this, I can direct the focus of the photo directly to the main subject of the photo which is the lamp.

The other thing is to make sure the sky darker or at least, not overexpose. If the sky is bright or even overexpose, there’s no way the lens flare is visible to be seen. If your photo is bright, just reduce the exposure.

Also, make sure the sky is not completely black. Not dark, black. Because it would be impossible to create lens flare with Lightroom on a black sky. Check the histogram to make sure.

If all those things are checked, then let’s begin.

This tutorial is using Adobe Lightroom CC Classic

How to create light beam for black and white photography with Lightroom is obviously started with opening your photo in Lightroom, open Develop Module.

#1 Radial Filter

To create lens flare, we will use local adjustment, Radial Filter (Shift+M).

Click and drag the mouse, rotate it and create a big oval in the sky.

Go to the adjustment panel, increase the brightness of the tone. Use the sliders to make sure the adjustment increases the mid tone so the tone looks like a dark grey.

In this photo, I used the exposure slider and increase it to +2.00. With this, we have created the Middle Tone Area for the light beam.

#2 Radial Filter

Click new on the Radial filter Panel to create a new radial filter. Or you can right click on the center of the filter->duplicate. Make the second radial filter thinner, like a sharp curve oval. Use the four filter handles to do that.

For the adjustment, we want to make the tone brighter than before. In this photo, I used the exposure slider and increase it to +1.14. There no need to increase the tone adjustment more than the previous one. Because of the overlap of the previous filter, the effect of the previous adjustment also affected this filter.

To make the light beam create an impression as if the light gradually spread, use the Feather slider and increase it, which I did increase to 88.

#3 Radial Filter

Create a new filter by click new or right click on the center of the filter->duplicate. Make the third filter, even more, thinner and smaller than before.

For the adjustment, we want to make the tone brighter than before. In this photo, I used the exposure slider and increase it to +1.14. There no need to increase the tone adjustment more than the previous one. Because of the overlap of the previous filter, the effect of the previous adjustment also affected this filter.

To make the light beam create an impression as if the light gradually spread, use the Feather slider and increase it, which I did increase to 88.

#4 Radial Filter

Next, we do the same thing as before. Create a new filter by click new or right click on the center of the filter->duplicate. Make the third filter, even more, thinner and smaller than before.

For the adjustment, we want to make the tone brighter than before. In this photo, I used the exposure slider and increase it to +1.04. There no need to increase the tone adjustment more than the previous one. Because of the overlap of the previous filter, the effect of the previous adjustment also affected this filter.

To make the light beam create an impression as if the light gradually spread, use the Feather slider and increase it, which I did increase to 88. With this, we have created the Light Area of the light beam.

#5 Radial Filter

Next, we create the final radial filter by right click on the center of the filter->duplicate. Make the filter oval, smaller, and thinner than the previous one.

For the adjustment, we want to make the tone as the brightest. In this photo, I used the exposure slider and increase it to +0.64. And also the Highlight slider and increase it to 10. There no need to increase the tone adjustment more than the previous one. Because of the overlap of the previous filter, the effect of the previous adjustment also affected this filter.

To make the light beam create an impression as if the light gradually spread, use the Feather slider and increase it, which I did increase to 89. The feather slider also makes the brightest part of the filter thinner. With this, we have created the Highlight of the light beam.


Here you have it. By creating separate different adjustment we can create a gradually light emitted effect of the light beam. Which is natural and realistic looking.

Check the before-after:

how to create light beam for black and white photography with Lightroom.how to create light beam for black and white photography with Lightroom.

And that is how to create light beam for black and white photography with Lightroom.


Oh by the way, this method of creating light beam also work for color photography

11 thoughts on “How to Create Light Beam for Black and White Photography with Lightroom

  1. Impressive! This I am going to try soon as possible. I like to photograph so much, and sure abstract stuff(lines and curves), but I still think that I can improve my lightroom/photoshop skills to give my work a more fine art touch. Great blogpost, again!

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