Bling! How to photograph starbursts

Surfer bling Manly beach; QVB Building in Sydney
Above: Surfer bling Manly beach; QVB Building in Sydney

In this image, I used the model’s shoulder to partially block the sun. This helps create great starbursts using the sun.

This night shot of the QV building in Sydney was a 20 second exposure at F16. The shot was taken at midnight.

I love a bit of bling in my images, in fact I’m going through my starburst phase. I’m a bit obsessed now. They are really easy to achieve and I think they look awesome. So if you want to add some bling to your next shoot just follow these guidelines:

1. Shoot with a narrow or small aperture. Experiment between f16 to f 22. Each lens will give a different result.

2. Sunbursts work best when the sun is partially blocked by something. I use the edge of buildings or part of my model.

3. I also get much better results when I shoot with a wide lens rather than a long lens. A word of warning: staring into the sun is harsh on the eyes. I recommend you wear sunglasses when trying this.

4. This technique will work with any light source and looks amazing at night. To achieve night bling you will need a tripod because if you are shooting at F16-22 at night you will need a longer shutter speed to correctly expose for the lights in the shot.

Have you shot some great bling lately? What f-stop and lens combination gave you the best starburst? I’d love to see your results.

1 Response
  1. I know how you feel! I have a huge family and it seems like every wekneed is SOME celebration that requires sweets .you know, like the fact that we’re gathered together, that warrents sweets! LOL My hubby wants ice cream EVERY NIGHT after dinner, so it’s hard! But I’ve been doing what Oprah suggests when you’re looking in the cupboard/pantry, you need to think: what am I really hungry for? Is it a pick me up? (you yourself suggested good news was better than cookies!! lol) go watch some Dane Cook or Eddie Izzard on You Tube and see how ya feel! lol You also have to CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE! And fruit, my friends, has a ton of sugar. Natural yes, but sugar nonetheless. Protein helps stave off hunger, have a little more at dinner. You’re going to have to find some substitutes I guess my latest munchie has been graham crackers and peanut butter I don’t know why, but I love graham crackers!! (I love a crunchy snack!). I was craving the chocolate cheesecake on Paula’s cooking show the other day, but I went and made myself a strong cup of tea instead. You could also tweet when you’re craving and we can all boost you up and cheer you on!! But good on you for doing this!!


Get your copy of Gina’s guide “The Shot” FREE when you sign up to her newsletter. You’ll also receive FREE Lightroom presets every month.

How to direct and pose like a pro


Want Gina Milicia as your mentor?

About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

instagram Instagram