Tutorial: How to Add Realistic Looking Sun Beams To Your Photographs in Post

In this ten minute video created by Glyn Dewis, you’ll get a nice little look at how to add sun rays to any photograph of your choosing by using gradients, layer masks and smart objects.

Dewis does a great job of making sure to cover every aspect of the process in his tutorial so it’s very easy to follow along even if you’re a novice. And while I’m personally not a fan of adding such special effects to an image, there are plenty who are.

So give the tutorial a watch, play around in Photoshop to see what you can come up with and then let us know how you feel about adding special effect like this in post.

(via ISO 1200)

  • Arcmor

    Interesting article. I think as long as you are creating surrealist images and presenting as such, there should be no limit to how much is created in the camera and how much is in the computer. Jerry Uelsmann pieces were manipulated in the darkroom and no one is going to think they were “as seen” shots from the camera. Perhaps we have to create a standard for what used to be the traditional “realist” photography with generous latitude in Photoshop with respect to contrast, sharpening, tonality, color etc. Call that the Classical Photography or something. If you start putting stuff in the image like the “god rays” above or add the “golden hour” glow in a picture that is taken at noon (that was the subject of another article,) then it should be called something different – heard the term “Photographic Art” somewhere. I think the latter is still art so it should not be looked down upon by the practitioner of the classical form. Ultimately art is not the means but the outcome – how it conveys an idea or invokes an emotion. As Stieglitz said “Photography is not an art. Neither is painting, nor sculpture,
    literature or music. They are only different media for the individual to
    express his aesthetic feelings… You do not have to be a painter or a
    sculptor to be an artist. You may be a shoemaker. You may be creative as
    such. And, if so, you are a greater artist than the majority of the
    painters whose work is shown in the art galleries of today.”

  • Guest

    I enjoyed your (contributing) thoughts on the subject and
    had ran across the term ‘Photographic Art’ myself with similar feelings/considerations as yourself.

  • David Mitchell

    I enjoyed your (contributing) thoughts on the subject and
    had ran across the term ‘Photographic Art’ myself with similar feelings/considerations as yourself.

  • Arcmor

    I realized later I had replied in an old thread. Didn’t expect a response. Thanks to Disqus. In any case, the topic seems to be one that photographers are grappling ever more so – not unlike during the times of Adams and Stieglitz. It can only be healthy if taken in with a good spirit.