This is a guest article by our photographer ginger. and the kick-off post of our new blog category “Photo hacks and effects”. If you have any cool tricks or tips too, that you would like to share with the Photocase community, or if you feel like writing a guest post yourself, just let us know. Thanks to ginger. for the first article and han.lei for the inspiration. We start with the Lensbaby. Enjoy!
Lensbaby “Composer” and “Composer Pro” with “Edge 80” optics (Photos: HapaTeam)
I love the Lensbaby. When I unpacked my first Lensbaby lens and the word “Mum?” jumped at me, I was already sold. Yes, it’s a baby. You have to do everything, it can’t do anything on it’s own.
Autofocus? Nope. Focal length? Fixed, approx. 50 mm. Aperture? There are exchangeable magnetic insets for most Lenybaby lenses with apertures from f2.8 to f22. A Lensbaby needs toys: extensive accessory kids are available – creative aperture disks in bird, diamond, heart or star shape, create-your-own blank disks, different optics (single glass, double glass, tilt), macro converter, wide-angle and telephoto lenses.
Photo ID 275971 – To the photo
Lensbaby Composer, Double Glass
Photo ID 249172 – To the photo
Lensbaby Composer, Zoneplate-Objektiv
In the last 2 years, Lensbaby produced 2 new lenses, the Sweet 35 and the Edge 80. Both have an adjustable aperture. Almost like: Lensbaby learns to walk, Lensbaby becomes a toddler.
Nevertheless, you need a little patience and tact with this analogue technique. But that also means that you get to know your camera better. You don’t rely on your automatic setting anymore, you choose your motifs more carefully. And of course it’s fun, it’s a nice toy. With a little practice you can make fantastic photos.
There are several Lensbabys: the „Muse“, the „Control Freak“, the „Composer (Pro)“ and the „Spark“. All Lensbabys are twistable and pivotable. I started with a composer and by now shoot with the Pro version and my Canon EOS 7d camera. The Lensbaby Composer has a spherical joint and can be swiveled in all directions. This way, parts of the picture vanish or blur. By inserting different aperture disks, the so called “Sweet spot”, the focus points gets widened (different from other lenses, where the depth of focus gets raised). Pivoting creates an (artistic) tilt shift effect. I would recommend starting with an aperture of 4 (or 5 in plenty of daylight) and not setting it too extreme, to get the “sweet spot” right.
The eagerness to experiment comes all by itself (at least it was for me). The makers of the British TV series Misfits even used a Lensbaby as movie lens. My favorite book about “Lensbaby” is by Corey Hilz: Lensbaby: Bending your perspective – with lots of pictures for inspiration. There are tons of workshop videos on YouTube.
There are quite a few photographers at Photocase who take photos with a Lensbaby. Here are some examples: