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Our classic creative effect - a round sweet spot of focus.

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Lensbaby Portraits with Dana Leigh

  • 3 min read

Lensbaby Portraits with Dana Leigh

Dana Leigh is an artist from Portland, Oregon that is inspired by emotion and beautiful light. She is a Click Pro, Clickin Moms mentor, writer, photography educator and co-creator of Light Chasers Retreat. A wife and mother of 5 children, she specializes in portrait and fine art photography.

I use a Lensbaby lens for almost every portrait session I do. I love how these lenses push me creatively to incorporate more mood and emotion into my portraiture. In this video, I use my FujiFilm X-T3 and my Lensbaby Composer Pro II with an Edge 35mm optic. Here are a few tips to consider when using a Lensbaby for portraits:

Let's start with focus

Lensbaby lenses are designed to bend, which produces a tilt-shift effect. Whichever way you tilt your lens is the direction your slice of focus will move. If you tilt to the right, your focus falls on the right side of the frame, to the left and your focus moves to the left. When first starting with a Lensbaby, I recommend not tilting your lens but instead keeping it centered. This is a great way to nail focus easier and adjust to using a creative tilt-shift lens.

When shooting portraits with a Lensbaby, focus is set manually, which can make focusing tricky. I recommend shooting at a narrow aperture when shooting portraits. Regardless of what lens you are using, it's not always easy to nail focus in a picture. I tend to shoot with a wide aperture. When shooting with a narrow depth of field, I am extra careful to make sure that my subject's eyes are on the same focal plane so that both eyes remain in focus.

Another tip I would like to offer when focusing on a Lensbaby is to focus and unfocus several times before taking the shot. I do this so that I can check and double-check the sharpness of my focus. Using this technique will show you when you have found the narrow slice of focus. When you feel you have found the sweet spot with focus, press the shutter!


#1 Lensbaby Tip — embrace the imperfections


Blur

We all love Lensbaby lenses for the dreamy blur they produce. The blur allows you to isolate your subject, and the rest of the scene you are shooting is blurred. Lensbaby blur is a beautiful way to add depth, mystery, and visual interest to your portraits. When shooting classic portraits, I often keep my lens right in the middle, which keeps the focus right in the middle, and the outer edges of the picture are beautifully blurred. The blur is subtle but helps my portraits come to life. Lensbaby blur gives your images an ethereal feel. For this reason, I love to incorporate movement into my portraits.

Embrace Imperfections

#1 Lensbaby Tip — embrace the imperfections

I love the way these lenses allow me to tap into my creativity. There are times when I don't nail focus perfectly, but I have learned to let the imperfections go. Lensbaby helps me infuse emotion into my portrait work and photograph, not just how a moment looks but how the moment feels. My number one goal when using a Lensbaby is to create something outside of the box. As artists, our creative works should first and foremost make us feel something special. These lenses do just that!


Dana Leigh

Dana Leigh is an artist from Portland, Oregon that is inspired by emotion and beautiful light. She is a Click Pro, Clickin Moms mentor, writer, photography educator and co-creator of Light Chasers Retreat. A wife and mother of 5 children, she specializes in portrait and fine art photography.

 
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