How to remove a lens flare? I took a great picture of my good friend Hope this weekend but unfortunately a lens flare heavily disturbed the picture. What to do? Well we won't get a perfect shot but we are able to reduce the flare to some degree.
First I made my adjustments as usual in Lightroom – increased contrast, increased sharpness, increased black levels, added brush to eyes and increased exposure by .3, contrast and sharpness again (maybe a bit too much). Then exported the picture to Photoshop. Now here comes the tricky part, it's not possible to make a good tutorial for that, I used a couple of tools and what to do differs with every picture. First I selected the circle of the flare, added quite a large feather and with the color level tools removed some of the orange parts. This was not perfect and the flare was still visible. Therefore I used the clone tool for removing the fringe. After that I had to play with the Sponge Burn and Dodge tools. Mainly I removed saturation to reduce the orange parts and added contrast with the dodge tools. Have a look on what looks wrong, differentiate by shadows midtones or highlights. It's not easy, you have to play a round with it quite a bit and revert often to a previous state. The picture took me about 40min and the lightning is uneven, which reminds me to remind you to try to use the brushes as large as possible. Anyway it's ok now, even in full resolution!