A lensball is a popular photography accessory in the form of a crystal sphere.
You may be surprised to know that a lensball has the same optic quality as a professional camera lens, making it the perfect addition to your photography pack. With its unique spherical shape, a lensball creates stunning imagery through the technique of refraction.
Refraction occurs when light passes through an object of denser mass, such as water or glass. When refraction occurs, light is bent, and a distortion of the imagery occurs inside the lensball. The best part? Crystal is especially susceptible to refraction due to its high density and purity which is why our lensballs at Refractique are carved from quality crystal, polished and hardened to the highest standard.
A lensball adds an additional wow factor that will make your photos stand out from the rest. Whether you are a professional photographer or simply enjoy taking photos as a hobby or while travelling, a lensball will go above and beyond your expectations.
Having a lensball increases the potential of every photograph you take and provides an endless sense of novelty and fun to your journey in photography.
You have received your lensball from Refractique in the mail, and you are staring in awe at it. So…how do you get started?
To start using your lensball simply hold up the ball or use a tripod and lensball stand to hold up the ball in front of the subject you want to capture and then shoot through the ball with your camera. Once you have tried this out, you are on the journey to taking some great lensball photos!
Now all you need to do is find some inspiration for your photographs. Lensballs are great for capturing nature such as forests, beaches, mountains and other incredible landscapes. The best part? A lensball can also turn the ordinary into extraordinary, so you can also try using this photo accessory on simple objects and be amazed at the outcome.
Refraction Photography using a lensball is not a simple art. However, that is what makes it so unique. By practising and mastering the technique of refraction with your lensball, you will not only be impressing your audience, but also yourself! Here’s the deal…
When taking a photo with a lensball, positioning can be the difference between ordinary and amazing. Think about the distance between the lensball and the object you are shooting. Why does this matter?
If your camera is further away from the ball, you will notice a crisper and more defined image; however, if you are looking to eliminate background, you can get close up to the subject to create a more distorted look.
Also, since you will be close to the lensball during the photography, most likely holding the lensball (check out the range of ways to hold the lensball here), there is a chance that your hands or other body parts could be captured in the image.
To avoid this, you can simply play around with the positioning and even try using a prop/object to hold the lensball instead. If you rest your lensball on something raised above the object and shoot the image from a lower angle, you can avoid excess background in your image.
Shade and sunlight play a high part in impacting your lensball photo. Crystal will pick up any reflections from sunlight, which can negatively impact your image.
In the case of using a lensball, shade is the best option so ensure to find a shady spot and eliminate any light. At the same time the subject itself and background as desired need to be well lit as per tip 5 - lighting!
To take a quality shot with a lensball, the focus of the camera should be on the lensball not on the background or another object.
Picking the right depth of field has a huge impact on the quality of your image and this may take a few practice rounds and camera adjustments; however, it is crucial to the final result of your image, so remember to keep this in mind.
Start with an f/4 an adjust from there. The right aperture depends on the specific photo however getting the balance is critical and only that can be found through trial and error as well as experience. An aperture too small will not blur out the background enough or at all and a aperture too big will mean you can't focus sharply enough on the subject.
The editing of your lensball photo is just as important as any other photograph, however, since the lensball is an amazing element in itself, it is important not to overdo it.
Be sure to focus on selective desaturation and cropping as a priority. If you want to bring more attention to the lensball in the image, a great crop can be the perfect finishing touch to bring that focus to your audience and amaze them!
Light as with all photography is even more critical with the lensball. The subject in the ball must be well lit or else you take the risk of not having anything turn out as intended. Similarly, the background is also important however this may be more defined by the weather and the time of day.
You may need to return to your intended spot at the right time of day and the right day if you want the perfect shot! If you can control any of the lighting elements particularly on the subject do so, this may be as simple as changing the direction of the photo and/or positioning yourself slightly differently.
A lensball is a very unique object which is why we love it so much and you will too, however, everything special needs to be taken care of to last and keep safe.
Keep in mind the weight and material of the lensball
When owning a lensball it is important to keep in mind that you are carrying around a crystal sphere that weighs around 250g for the smaller lensball and 650g for the larger (standard) lensball. Ensure that when carrying around your lensball, the bag you have is keeping the lensball supported and secure. Also, hold the bottom of the ball not the drawstring or top of the bag.
Use the micro fibre bag to also clean the ball before use. The rest of the time use our box to house the ball in its bag to avoid any scratches or potential unwanted damage or dust.
Although it’s unlikely, another thing to keep in mind is that the lensball can be a hazard if left in direct sunlight as it can start a fire, very similar to a magnifying glass. So when you’re not using the lensball, make it a habit to ensure it is kept in a secure bag away from sunlight.
If you need further tips check out our 30 Top Tips for Crystal Ball Photography article.
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