Technique Thursday: lensbaby fun

This week’s technique post is all about broadening horizons, certainly mine.  I’ve used a Lensbaby before, but not extensively, and I love the way Deb Schweldhelm incorporates them into her work.  Deb wrote up some great info for us to share with you about using these fun lenses.

From Deb ~


There are a number of optics to choose from and it’s important to know what each offers.  I will share on the ones that I am familiar with and have used.

The Sweet 35 has a 35mm focal length and you can change your aperture on the outside of the optic (similar to a regular lens).

The double glass has a 50mm focal length. To change apertures, you have to swap internal rings using this magnetized tool. I have the f/4 ring in my double glass optic and never swap it out.

The Edge 80 has an 80mm focal length and again, you can change your aperture on the outside of the optic.

How to decide which optic to purchase?  Start by exploring your work and see what focal range you tend to shoot at (35mm, 50mm or 80mm).  I’m guessing that Lensbaby will eventually release a 50mm that has an outer aperture selection ring, so if that’s what your heart is set on (50mm with the ability to easily change aperture), you might want to wait.

Most of the images below were shot with the Composer and double glass optic with f/4 aperture ring.  I purchased the Pro not long ago and and now keep a different optic in each lens. I prefer the double glass optic but it is because it’s the optic I started and am most comfortable with.  Additionally, I prefer the 50mm focal length.


The key to learning the Lensbaby (like most things in photography) is practice, practice, practice. Know that getting good focus is not easy and that it takes patience.  The more you bend, the tougher it is to nail focus so I recommend that when first starting with the Lensbaby, photograph without bending the lens (this will allow your sweet spot to be in the center).  As you learn to nail focus, begin to bend.  Also, be very conscious of exposure when shooting with Lensbaby, especially if switching between the Lensbaby and a regular lens, which I often do.  So much less light comes through a Lensbaby than a standard 50mm lens.

You can find my Lensbaby interview here and pro spotlight HERE.

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We also had several submissions for Lensbaby photos, and wanted to share a few with you:

Lila Armock

Lexia Frank

Tytia Habing

Emily Robinson

Sherri Davis

Thanks to everyone that submitted, and don’t forget last week’s homework assignment!


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