Use Photoshop to create and add a dramatic ray of light to your photos. It’s easy, accurate, and fun!

Finding and Identifying the Light Source

Before we can create the ray of light, we need to separate the bright areas from the image.
Step 1

Open a photo you would like to edit. Or, you may use the photo used in this tutorial (from iStockPhoto).
Step 2

Before we start, we need to duplicate the layer (Layer> Duplicate or Ctrl+J).

Duplicate Layer
Step 3
Effects About LIght Ray
To find and separate the light source in the photo, we’ll use the Levels tool (Image> Adjustment> Levels or Ctrl+L). Drag the middle input slider all the way to the left.

Click here to find out more!
Forming the Ray of Light
Step 4
Effects About LIght Ray
Now that we have the light source identified, we can distort it into a ray of light. For this process, we’ll use the Radial Blur filter (Filter> Blur> Radial Blur) with these properties set:
Amount: 100
Blur Method: Zoom
Quality: Best
After you have those properties set, click and drag the blur center to the area where you would like the ray of light to zoom out from.
Radial Blur Filter
Step 5
Effects About LIght Ray
You’ll notice that there are visible speckles on the ray of light. Don’t worry about it, we can simply apply the filter two more times and most of it will be gone. Press Ctrl+F to redo the previous filter again. After the filter has been processed, press Ctrl+F again to redo the previous filter once more. In total, you’ll have pressed Ctrl+F twice.
Ray of Light

Click here to find out more!
Blending and Enhancing the Ray of Light
Step 6
Effects About LIght Ray
Now that we have our ray of light created, we can blend it into the image by changing the blending mode of the current layer to Screen.
Step 7
Effects About LIght Ray
The ray of light is blended into the photo but it doesn’t seem very strong. To increase the visiblity of the ray of light, we’ll use the Levels tool (Image> Adjustments> Levels or  Ctrl+L). Drag the right input slide towards the left to increase visibility. You may also press the Auto button to have Photoshop automatically set it to an appropriate level.
Levels Tool