Capture Sun Stars in Nature Photos: No Filters Needed (VIDEO)

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when viewing low-light landscape photos with impressive sun stars? Most likely it’s this: “The photographer either used a lens filter or created the effect during the editing process.

While sometimes that may be true, it’s also possible to achieve this eye-catching look in the camera, as you’ll see in the quick tutorial below. Surprisingly there are only two things you need to know for getting the job done, and they take barely three minutes to explain.

William Patino is a landscape photographer/instructor based in New Zealand, specializing in simple tips that deliver big results while shooting in the great outdoors. In today’s episode he demonstrates how easy it is to make the sun look like a bright star without any editing or artificial aids.

Patino’s first bit of advice is to shoot at Golden Hour when the bright sun and low to the horizon. This can actually be done at sunrise or sunset depending upon the color tones that you prefer.

Another key to this dramatic effect is to compose the scene with an object in the foreground that slightly covers one edge of the sun. While watching Patino demonstrate this simple trick, keep in mind that this approach can also be effective when shooting nighttime images like street scenes, when the illumination is a street lamp or other bright light source.

Patino discusses the necessary camera settings, with your f/stop being the most important consideration. As you’ll see, smaller apertures result in larger sun stars. He recommends shooting somewhere between f/11 and f/22.

There are a few other factors to keep in mind, but this is a really easy way to create dramatic images.

If you’re looking or more straightforward tips like this, just pay a visit to Patino’s instructional YouTube channel.

And don’t miss the earlier tutorial we posted from another pro, explaining the best camera settings to use for shooting compelling nature photos during the day.