Have you ever noticed images that had lights surrounded by “starbursts” and wondered how that is done? It’s easy.
There are at least three ways to achieve this effect.

  1. In-camera using just your knowledge and the camera
  2. In-camera using a special filter
  3. Photoshop

In this post we’ll consider only #1.
There are two basic ingredients –

  1. A light source (duh)
  2. Stopping the lens way down – to like f/22

If the light source is “overwhelming” then you must shield it with something and allow just a small portion to show through. This is usually the case with the sun but distant incandescent lamps in a night street scene usually work fine without shielding.
Here are several examples (click to enlarge). Experiment and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

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