Creating a Starburst Effect

Capturing a starburst effect around a strong light source can add an interesting element to your shot, as this gallery image by summerhouse demonstrates.

Sometimes, you may have noticed, it can happen by accident rather than design, but here’s what to do if you would like to create the effect yourself. Use a narrow aperture such as F22 or F16 and a reasonably long exposure such as 1/6th or 1/5th second. A tripod and a 2-second timer or remote shutter release will also help.

The intensity of the light source will make a difference to the strength of the effect. If the light is too strong, try to partially obscure it, as in the shot through the trees above (also remember never to shoot or look directly at strong sunlight).

Street lights, candles or indoor lights are usually OK to be shot without shielding, but it is best to experiment. Of course, if you are not getting the effect you want, you can always cheat by using the built-in Creative Starburst effect as found on the more recent LUMIX G models. A good example of the built-in effect, as available on the G5, was used by stewart.a.reid here: