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Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography

300px AdditiveColor.svg Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography

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Red Green Blue ~ Colors of Light ~ Sun Flare in Photography

When learning about photography and color theory, it is important to understand RGB (which stands for Red, Green, and Blue). Without getting bogged down in all the technical stuff, you can see how colors mix in this image below. When it comes to light, red and blue mix to make magenta, red and green mix to make yellow, and green and blue mix to make cyan.

This plays a role in color correction in Photoshop, white balance, and photography as a whole.

As taught to me in art and science classes, without light, energy waves that produce the sensation of color, we would not have color. Our eyes only see a small part of the spectrum of light, with short wavelengths starting as blue to the long wavelengths seen as red. When taking a photograph, it is often hard to “see” this in our pictures. Sun flare sometimes will allow you to see the colors. Rainbows will as well. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have two recent shots that may help you better see the RGB.

I would love all of you to share photos in the comment section of rainbows or sun flare where you can see the colors of light separated out into light. If you do not have any, challenge yourself to go out on a sunny day and try for different types of flare.  Try partially blocking the sun off a building and try to grab colors of flare.  It takes practice and experimentation, but you can get fun, artistic results, and will learn about photography in the process.

In this shot, you can literally see the red, green and blue in the light coming from the sun.

banff 59 600x876 Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography

And in this one, you can see the sun flare and lighter rings of color (red and green). Likely, I would have needed a greater angle to see the blue:

Homestead 1181 600x876 Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography

 Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography
 Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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24 Comments

  1. 1
    annie says:

    sorry I only have an edited one to hand, but of course I left the sunflare in. I love it! (hope it uploads and is the right size)!!!!

  2. 2
    Greta S. says:

    Took this being goofy in the car (with a cheap, tiny P&S)…sun flare was by accident, but looked so cool! Wish now I made a better face, haha!

  3. 3
    Nicole says:

    Over Niagara Falls on the 4th of July…

  4. 4
    Mindy says:

    I am just starting out and really wanted to try the whole sunflare image and this is what I got. I have not done any editing on this picture, (mainly because I just really didnt know what to do). I still think the colors from the sun look pretty cool

  5. 5
    Melissa says:

    This is my most recent flare photo:

  6. 6
    Krystal says:

    The weather was so wierd that day but it made for some fun pictures.

  7. 7
    Nadia says:

    I got this shooting directly up at the sun and this flag. I got lucky, I really didn’t know what I was doing when I took it!

  8. 8
    Barb Subia says:

    I’m in the middle of editing a senior session and got some great sunflare on a few of them, this one is my favorite.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Brenda says:

    I was taking a walk when I saw this tree and thought it would be amazing to have the sun peek out from behind it. I sort of noticed the flare when I was composing but it wasn’t until I got home that I realized I caught a complete rainbow in the flare.
    [taken with a Canon Rebel XT and the 18-55mm kit lens]

  11. 11
    Lisa E says:

    Sunny cool evening in AZ… Can’t wait to strive for this in future photos!

  12. 12
    Debbie Wibowo says:

    Here’s mine and I DO love shooting into sun flare!

  13. 13
    amanda says:

    one of my favorite photo’s. i love trying for sunflare, need lots more practice!

  14. 14
    HeidiRose says:

    Here’s mine.
    I really like this uploader thing!

  15. 15
    Amy says:

    Loved that I got the rainbow effect from flare when shooting this girl who is in the “Rainbow Girls” organization. The flare rainbow leads your eye right to the rainbow on her tiara.

  16. 16
    alice says:

    i love solar flare shots! they are so much fun. this is one i took recently at a speech and debate conference in florida. i loved it so much, it is now the topper for my website http://theshadowofthecross.blogspot.com .

  17. 17
    Jan says:

    Amy!!! That shot is SO AWESOME!
    These are all really great. I love flares :)

    Anyways, here’s mine. I thought it turned out pretty cool :)

  18. 18
    Michele says:

    All of your pictures are fantastic! Here is my try at it.

  19. 19
    lydee says:

    i’m still learning, but i have been loving catching sun flare this summer.

  20. 20
    Venkat says:

    Great photos in the replies there, specially from Alice. Here’s one of mine with a lot of R and some scattered G and B!

  21. 21
    Alexa Horsley says:

    this picture isn’t he greatest quality because i took it with my phone but i thought it was pretty cool

  22. 22
    amy says:

    I love sunflares and I love sights like these that show the different kinds – helps a lot when debunking paranormal photographs (I have a lot of people send me pics asking for advice on rather on not a photo is paranormal or not – so many times IT’S SUNFLARES!) Here is one of my personal favorites that I took at a local cemetery – hope you enjoy it!

  23. 23
    Angelia says:

    I never met my grandmother or grandfather and at my visit to their grave they gave me a gift that is clearly visible in this picture. A sun flare perhaps but it distinctly seems to have a more valuable message!

  24. 24
    Allie Miller says:

    This is extremely useful informartion… I remember when I first started using CS and other progs… I toyed round with it… but… being educated will hbelp you utilize it wisely… awesone article :}

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