Sometimes you want to get your J.J. Abrams on and add a lens flare to your image. Rather than applying a lens flare directly to the image layer, you’ll want to put it on a new layer for two reasons: First, it’s nondestructive, so you can change it later; and second, you can reposition it. (Have you ever tried to get a lens flare exactly where you want it?) 

The best way to do this is to create a new layer, press D to set the Foreground color to black, and press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill the layer with black. Change the blending mode to Screen (where it says “Normal” near the top left of the Layers panel), and the black will disappear. Apply the Lens Flare filter (Filter>Render>Lens Flare) to the new layer. After you click OK to apply the Lens Flare, switch to the Move tool (V), and now you can drag the flare around, and the black remains invisible because of the Screen blending mode

This tip originally published in Colin Smith’s “Photoshop Tips” column in the September, 2020 issue of Photoshop User magazine.