Light often provides a true spark of inspiration.
That’s because light radiates with emotion. It twinkles when we’re positive, it shadows when we’re moody. Regardless of the photograph, light accents the images that seize the story.
But there are a million tools at your disposal to impact light. It’s all about finding the right lenses that helps you shape it with unpredictability and control—and see what others can’t see.
When you shoot with Lensbaby, you’re shooting with lenses built to distort light in enchanting new ways. Lensbaby helps Theodore Kefalopoulos and Karin Claus craft photographs with spirited, imaginative light. But mastering how to illuminate shots with edge doesn’t just happen overnight. The more you experiment, the easier it is to use it with power and surprise.
Everything photographers shoot should have a soul of its own.
Theodore Kefalopoulos considers it his duty to analyze the soul of his landscape and outdoor subjects through a psychological lens. That’s why he purposefully uses light to place mood front and center in his photography.
“It’s absolutely mandatory to create some sort of communication with the audience,” Kefalopoulos says. “Manipulating light in a fascinating way helps me profile the soul and transmit a message I never would have imagined.”
Effective communication takes time. And deep analysis takes rigorous inspection. That’s something Kefalopoulos knows well. While he often feels haunted to express his feelings in an instant, he realizes that just by being at a certain place for long enough, you can sense its real character. A long photo session unleashes the flow of ideas and answers a world of introspective questions.
Kefalopoulos realized conventional optics and shooting methods weren’t going to cut it if he wanted to fully communicate the mood of an image to his audience. When he first used Lensbaby lenses, he couldn’t believe how easy it was to represent light like he never had before. Even if it did take time to master it. Patience was something he was used to. But instant inspiration took him by surprise.
“Lensbaby optics are—by design—a source of inspiration,” he says. “They help us recreate our imperfect way of seeing the world, and I’m overjoyed at the ability to catch utterly artistic and esoteric photos directly in the field.”
Tips from the photographer
“Lensbaby lenses helped give me a style, a signature. They’ve changed my view of what I can do with a camera.”
“The Sweet optics need some special handling, especially when shooting at large apertures where focus area becomes small while the rest of the frame gradually blurs. What worked for me is to have the locking ring just a tad loose so that the front of the lens only turns by hand. That way, I can easily move the sweet spot and obtain focus at the same time.”
What I learned:
“Creativity in photography is primarily a state of mind. There are always opportunities to discover new ideas, locations, effects—everything. You just have to be willing to look for it.”
The natural world is far from boring. Karin Claus wants to make sure the same can be said of fine-art nature photography.
Claus strives to shoot nature in a twisted way, to find its true magic and spirit. She believes the imaginative use of light can create a connection between our worlds, inventing realities where we can see ourselves in our natural environments, and vice versa.
“I see portraits in nature—from soft and dreamy to sharp and harsh,” Claus says. “Controlling the light lets me control the mood of the moment I want to capture. A landscape isn’t just a nice, pretty landscape. It’s a story.”
Fresh out of school, Claus struggled to balance the pressures of maintaining passion with the transactional nature of photography. It was only when she released herself from the confines of standard nature photography that she was able to focus on showcasing her bent view of the world. Through time-intensive DIY projects, she developed lenses to create just the right curve to cast just the right shadow. Then she discovered Lensbaby. She surprised herself by using the lenses as they were intended—and sometimes unintended. But she was always thrilled with the results. Bending it here, shaping it there, adding a bit of style with every slight adjustment.
Lensbaby lenses help Claus hide intensity in her images. She sneaks in whimsical messages that are rooted in the willingness to see the moment. To open up your mind and let in that specific shot at that specific time.
“Lensbaby gives me the freedom to follow my intuition,” Claus says. “Now, I feel more like an artist than a photographer.”
Tips from the photographer
“The Edge 50 and 80 are perfect for capturing fast-moving objects. And the Twist 60 wows for portraits.”
“Be careful, night shots can get a bit messy. It can be hard to see where you’re focusing your shot.”
What I learned:
“Make the most out of your gear; understand and use the pro and cons of each of your tools.”