How to Create Starbursts in Camera

Although the scenery in the image below of Gordes, France is spectacular, the “sunburst” or “starburst” created by the sun adds a nice finishing touch.


First Light Over Gordes : Prints Available

Beautiful sunrise over the hilltop city of Gordes, France

This is really easy to do. You will need a “point source of light”, such as the sun, somewhere in your image. To get the starburst, use a wide angle lens and set your f/stop to a small aperture, such as F/22. Then point the camera and shoot as normal. That’s about it. The starburst is created by the combination of a wide angle lens with a small aperture.

Here is another example:

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Desert Sunburst : Prints Available

Morning burst of sun over the top of the dunes at Deadvlei

You can experiment with different f/stops to see what kind of effect you get. If the sun is large in the frame, you can create a smaller point source of light by positioning a foreground element in front of the sun to partially obscure it.

One thing to keep in mind is that working with a small aperture means a longer shutter speed is needed. So, don’t forget your tripod.