Any Tricks for Making Sun Look Better?


New Member
Mar 12, 2019
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
Operating System
  1. macOS 12 Monterey
I use Lightroom all the time and feel like I have a very strong grip on creative techniques and most of the ins-and-outs. However, one thing I have played around with a lot but had limited success with is making the sun look good in photos where it is visible. In the photo below, it's really not bad (after editing) but something is still off, a little fake looking... reminiscent of a smartphone camera rendering. For example how the levels of brightness go up in stages not gradually, and how large and blobby the sun is itself over the treetops. I know a lot of this can have to do with the camera/lens itself and exposure (this is an HDR by the way, but those only seem to go so far), however I would bet that some of you out there have a little trick of combinations of sliders that can make this a little better. I know I have somewhat liked doing a local adjustment and opposing the whites/highlights with the dehazing/clarity, but it makes the sun more faded and ambiguous. Maybe this topic is too ambiguous itself, if so let me know but I'd love to hear your ideas. I know I see photos all the time taken with cameras similar to mine -- and often the same if for the drone, which this is -- so what could I be doing better? Thanks!


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May 9, 2015
Palo Alto, CA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Once you've blown out the higlights (all colornvalues at their max) there is littile you can do. The key to getting a better looking sun is to bracket your shots such the the underexposed shot has a great looking sun (albeit everything else will be almost or entirely black. Then blend the images. HDR processing in LR or PS should work but usually doesn't in my experience. So take the bracketed shots into PS as layers. Then with masking blend the sun portion of the drastically underexposed shot with the other(s) and the result should look pretty good.