Lensball Photography

Have you ever heard of a lensball in photography? The results are quite stunning and you may like the added dimension it can provide to your normal photography especially landscape photos. 

A lensball acts as a wide-angle lens and inverts the image in the lensball through its refraction effect. The wide-angle is why it works so well with landscape photography.  Scenes that may be worth exploring with the lensball include beach, sea and sunrise or sunset scenes. These scenes are particularly interesting when you take a photo of the horizon as you will see the inverted image inside the lensball. For example, the beach in the above photo is at the top of the lensball and sky is at the bottom. 

Some key tips I like to give are consider your placement of the lensball carefully. What do  you want to show in the foreground as opposed to background? In this scene I’ve shown part of the sand but also wanted to get a decent amount of background in the photo to show off the ‘real life’ scene. 

For some bokeh effect I recommend starting with an f/4 which means you will have focus on the lensball and some blur in the background. You may like to use a macro or telephoto lens to emphasis the wide angle however this isn’t compulsory. 

Position the lensball on something natural such as the beach in the previous example or you may want to use a lensball stand such as the one pictured above. 

Consider what time of day you are going to be shooting and environmental factors such as the weather for example. Ideally you want light coming through the ball rather than it being above the ball as that can cause unwanted reflections. Light coming through the ball will result in better quality photos as they will be clearer. Take test shots at different times of day and revisit a scene if needed to come up with the ideal photos.  

Street art is also a lot of fun and it can be stunning if you position the ball carefully like in the photo above and ensure you have some of the street art in the background. 

The main tip with lensball photography is be creative and continue to try different things with your photography. By doing this you will stumble upon a lot of cool insights and ideas that you may not have should you have taken a more planned approach to your photography! 

Guest article written by: Simon Choi is an avid landscape photographer. After departing a corporate career in Financial Services and Consulting, Simon pursued his passion for landscape photography, nature and creativity. He started Refractique, an online niche photography retailer which distributes the lensball.  

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