Soft Focus Fun with Lensbaby Lenses

I’ve spent most of my photography career concentrating on tack sharp focus and learning the techniques required to accomplish just that. I’ve even resorted to focus stacking as a way to get infinite sharp focus when it wouldn’t have normally been possible! So why in the world would a person deliberately take a photograph with large areas of soft focus? Yes, it seems counterintuitive and I never saw myself as someone that would embrace the genre, but here I am in the midst of a romance with Lensbaby lenses! And I’m loving every second of it!! How did all this begin?

Glorious spring dogwood with the Twist 60.

I got a Lensbaby lens many years ago as a gift from my husband. I was a relatively new photographer, and after trying the lens a few times, I ended up sending it back. The idea of soft focus didn’t appeal to me at that time. I was still trying to figure out sharp focus!

Recently, I found myself in a creative rut where I was turning out similar images over and over–different location, same theme. I needed something new to spark my imagination and make me want to pick up my camera. I saw an ad for a new Lensbaby lens and decided to take the leap! And I’ve never looked back!

Sweet 35 Composer ProII made this still life very special

My first Lensbaby was the Velvet 56. I loved the sharp focus in the center and the creamy dreamy blur that drifted outwards. I tried different apertures until I found the effect that I liked. I tend to shoot most of my flower images with the Velvet at f4-5.6. But don’t take my word for it–experiment!! That is the fun of the lensbabies! The artistic effects that you can achieve will push you to try new things and play with your camera and renew your love of nature photography.

Tulips are wonderful subjects for the Velvet 56

Once I began exploring soft focus, I found that I was looking for subjects that would benefit from this effect. Of course, flowers are an obvious choice. But don’t stop there! The only limitation is your imagination. Portraits with the Twist 60 are nothing short of glorious! Put your subject in front of a beautiful, distant background and get ready to be amazed!

I’m now the proud owner of a Composer Pro II and sweet 35 as well as the Twist 60. Each lens has a different soft effect, and I find that I enjoy swapping lenses more than ever.

Wild geranium captured with Velvet 56.

Lensbaby is a wonderful company and they graciously provide Creative Light with lenses for many of our workshops. So if you are joining us on an upcoming workshop and you want to try out a particular lens, just let me know ahead of time and I’ll do my best to get that lens for you to play with during the workshop. We featured several different Lensbabies at our Ozark Springtime workshop a few weeks ago and they were a huge hit! Those spring flowers never looked as good as they did through a Lensbaby!

Check out Lensbaby lenses and discover their outstanding customer service at their website:

6 Comments on “Soft Focus Fun with Lensbaby Lenses

  1. The tulip photo is my very favorite tulip photo ever! Really beautiful!

    • Thank you Susan!!! I had such a fun time playing in the tulips!! I was laying on the ground at the front of a subdivision where they plant the most gorgeous tulips every year!! I wanted pretty light, so of course I was there during the evening commute home–people got quite a chuckle watching me roll around in the grass with my camera! But oh my, what a wonderful time I had!!!

      • And just so you know, this is Jane, not Craig! I don’t know how to change the name on the comments, and I don’t want anyone thinking Craig rolls around in the grass in public!!! LOL

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. Most of the work I do is with dancers… so very much motion type images. Just wondering how such lenses would work in this sort of situation or do you need time to be able to focus the lens.

    • Hi Judy, Thanks for checking out my post!
      Because all Lensbaby lenses are manual focus, I think it might be tricky to use them for something as action-packed as photographing dancers. You could try to prefocus the lens and then see it that works for you. I would definitely recommend getting used to the whole concept of soft focus and using the lenses in an easier situation first, then trying out moving subjects. I would think some glorious images could be made with still dancers in a pose with some soft focus edges!!

  3. I think there is nothing wrong with unsharp images – as long as you choose to do so for a reason. These images just show how beautiful images it’s possible to create through deliberate blur. I have long been wanting to get some Lensbabies. I guess it’s time…

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