Street photography is one of my favorite types of photography to shoot because you never know what you’re going to get. Some days the stars will align, and you’ll get great shots of interesting people doing incredible things. Some days you’ll mostly get shots of shadows, light, textures, and patterns. And some days, you’ll mostly get a mixture of both. I also love street photography as it takes a certain amount of bravery to take photos of strangers.
When I go to shoot street photography, I tend to just bring one lens with me because I don’t want to lug around a heavy camera bag and because I like the challenge of making photos work within the confines of one lens. Sometimes, however, I will throw on my Lensbaby Composer Pro II and carry some optics in my coat pocket. Maybe that’s cheating a little bit, but it’s technically only one lens, right?
Regardless of whether I bring my Composer or my Velvet 28, I tend to almost always use Lensbaby lenses for my street photography because it guarantees that none of my shots will be boring—even if the subject matter is something as simple as pigeons in an interesting light—I know that whatever LB lens is on my camera will turn it into magic.
"I also love street photography as it takes a certain amount of bravery to take photos of strangers."
I recently took a walk around Annapolis, MD, with my Nikon Z5 and was lucky enough to try out the newest optic from Lensbaby, the Soft Focus II. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how the Soft Focus II optic effects would look with street shots. I was worried that the gauzy effect and slight glow would detract from what I was shooting, but I was so wrong! I love this optic for street shots!
I shot most of my photos at an aperture of 4 so that the effect was present but not overwhelming. The effect of the SFII enhanced the photos by adding a blur and glow to the edges that framed my subjects perfectly. Even when the subject wasn’t in the center of the frame, the effects added an exciting layer of texture to the shot.
This new optic comes with different discs that are inserted into the optic and held in place by magnets. There is a star disc, a large hole disc, and a small hole disc. These discs are great to use when you have a really defined light source like a streetlight, Christmas lights, car headlights, etc. You can see the effects from the star disc in the nighttime street shots I took of cars on a busy street. How cool does it make the light look? As my son said, “It looks like sparklers!”
This optic is great for street shots, both during the day and at night, because it allows you to add a texture to your photos that enhance them and create visual interest without distracting from the actual photograph. And the discs are just fun to play with to make your photos really stand out.
The next time you head out to take some street shots, throw on your Composer Pro II and the Soft Focus II optic for some truly original shots. And if you have never shot street photography, what are you waiting for?
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Sarah Menard is obsessed with Nordic noir, cold brew coffee and The Great British Bake-Off. She is a military wife and currently lives in a tiny beach town in Maryland but is hoping to make it back to the PNW one day. She is a mom to one homeschooled 7-year-old boy and two dogs. Her camera is her therapist.