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Discover which effect is right for you. Whether its a sweet spot of focus, a dramatic slice of focus, or a swirly bokeh, we have artistic effects for any type of photographic vision.


Get inspired by our Lensbaby Ambassadors and image galleries in our Inspiration Center. Learn everything there is to know about Lensbaby and our lens effects, from the pros who use them!

© Ute Reckhorn

© Ute Reckhorn

Adding Symbolism

  • 4 min read

Adding Symbolism with Lensbaby

Artist Interview with Sharon Covert

Sharon Covert is a photographer based in the United States who holds a large focus on adding both personal and universal symbolism in her work. We had the opportunity to interview her and learn more about her process!

Sharon Covert with Lensbaby Velvet 56

Q: When did you start taking photographs and why did you continue?

A: While I always had a camera in hand since I was a child, it wasn't until 2007 that I began exploring photography as an art. I was heavily inspired by my daughter to create something more than an ordinary photograph. Around 2012 I slowly began to turn the camera around onto myself and discovered the healing benefits of self-expression. For someone who lives with Social Anxiety, photography has given me my voice. I will always be grateful for this gift!

Sharon Covert with Lensbaby Velvet 56

Q: Which is your favorite Lensbaby lens?

A:It really is so difficult to play favorites when it comes to my Lensbaby lenses. In March of 2021, I challenged myself to use my Velvet 56 for all of my self-portraiture work for 1 month. Nearly 6 months later, it's still on my camera. I have fallen in love with the results! With an aperture of 2.8, the Velvet 56 gives me the fairytale-like results I am looking for. I want the viewer to feel like they are looking at images from an old storybook or from another place and time. The Velvet 56 has been the perfect tool to invite the viewer into my creative world.


Q: What tips do you have for beginners just learning how to use the Velvet 56?

A: The most important tips I can give are to be patient and to practice. You truly have to see in a new way and think outside your norm when using these lenses. Challenge yourself to stick with it and keep experimenting. In time, the results will be magical!


Sharon Covert with Lensbaby Velvet 56

Q: What is the most difficult part of being a photographer?

A: It's easy to think that artists have the freedom to create all day. What many don't realize is everything we have to do behind the scenes on the back end. There's running a website, submitting to calls, creating an online presence through social media and marketing, running courses and forums, finances, and so much more.

Q: Do you have formal training as a photographer or are you self-taught? What was that journey like?

A: While I have taken online photography courses over the years, I am primarily a self-taught photographer. The journey was long and is still continuing! I believe we can never stop learning. In the beginning, I made the type of work I thought others would want to see. My turning point was when I started creating solely for myself; that's when my art took on a new life and purpose. This journey has been filled with ups and downs, a hefty-sized amount of self-doubt, perseverance, self-discovery, and growth. It has been an incredible learning experience.

Q: What details do you believe make the best photographs? How do you go about focusing on them in your work?

A: I like to incorporate both personal and universal symbolism into my work. Whether there's a story behind the image or I create the story afterward, there's always something more profound and beneath the surface involved. For me, the best photographs take me into another world. As an artist, I want to be able to express my stories but still have anonymity. As a viewer, I want to place my own personal experiences, memories, and stories into images I see. While my images may mean one thing to me, I like the viewers to relate to them in their own personal ways.

Sharon Covert with Lensbaby Velvet 56

Q: What inspires you most?

A: I am heavily inspired by fairytales, myths, folklore, nature, and all things magical. The more I immerse myself into these things, the more connected and creative I feel. For example, I recently found a dragonfly wing in my yard and was instantly inspired to create with it. I was able to take a printed self-portrait I had made with my Velvet 56 and place the wing onto the print. I looked like a fairy! I then used my Velvet 56 again to take a picture of the photo. I created something new from something old. The process was magical!

Q: Tell us your favorite quote!

A: My favorite quote is by Alan Moore- " Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness."


Sharon Covert with Lensbaby Velvet 56

Q: How would you describe your photography style?

A: My conceptual self-portrait photography combines surrealism, magic, other wordly elements, is primarily black and white, and many would say dark as well. I don't consider myself or art to be dark in the way most do, but I have an appreciation for it and find beauty in darkness.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer?

A: The most rewarding part of being a photographer is connecting with other people through a shared medium and similar experiences. I especially enjoy supporting and guiding other women photographers as they begin their self-portraiture journeys. Having been down a similar path as them, I have some insight into how it will unfold. It's so exciting to witness.

Sharon Covert

Sharon Covert resides in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, along the Jersey Shore. With a strong focus on conceptual self-portraiture, Sharon teaches multiple online classes, including her 4-week course, Expressive Self Portraiture. She believes self-portraiture helps artists process their emotions and life experiences through art and creativity while giving them a healing outlet through self-expression. Sharon's work has been published and featured in numerous magazines and juried art exhibitions worldwide. She is proud to be both a Lensbaby Ambassador and Click Pro Ambassador.

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