7 Reasons I Use a Lensbaby

7 Reasons I Use a Lensbaby™

By David Cobb

Lensbaby is a selective-focus lens created for digital SLRs. Here are some reasons why I like using one.

1) It creates a sense of motion: In the image of the Fu Dog below, I wanted to create a sense of motion—like the statue had come alive. To do this I created just a bit of blur around my subject by using a small aperture.

2) It blends color: I love a lot of color in my images and the blur helps create a more impressionistic feel. (In the spring and fall I use my Lensbaby a lot because of its ability to blend color.)

3) It makes the typical look atypical: I’ve photographed Multnomah Falls hundreds of times, but on this occasion I wanted a different look so out came the Lensbaby.

4) It helps blur out distractions: When I took this image of North Head Lighthouse in Washington, a number of people were milling about and there was also an ugly chain-link fence surrounding the lighthouse. One way to remove the people and the fence would have been to clone them out in Photoshop. But another way was to use the Lensbaby to blur out the distractions. No people, no ugly fence, and the blur gives the lighthouse an interesting sandcastle look too.

5) It creates the illusion that everything is pristine: Not long ago we had a terrible flower year in the Columbia River Gorge. Right after the balsamroot blossomed there was a hard frost and some snow. The plants developed frost burn and holes in the leaves and were all dead or dying. You wouldn’t know it from this image. I took the time to look for the most pristine blossom, then I blurred out the rest to give the illusion that all the flowers were perfect.

6) It frames the subject matter: Sometimes I want just one piece of the image to stand out from everything else. There are a lot of ways to do this, but one I often choose is to blur most of the image while leaving my main subject in focus. The Lensbaby is perfect for this technique.

7) It’s fun: When I get out my Lensbaby there is a sense of freedom to my photography, and sometimes it feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. A Lensbaby can get you out of a rut and help put the fun back into photography. When I took this flower image, I was truly having fun and didn’t care if anything was in focus. Isn’t that a major reason we all got into photography in the first place–to have fun?


~ by photocascadia on July 16, 2010.

4 Responses to “7 Reasons I Use a Lensbaby”

  1. Thanks for adding this post, David. I received a Lensbaby set last Christmas, and I am looking forward to using it on my August vacation shooting Dahlias.. I like the other examples you use and why you used them. Makes great sense and wonderful images!

    • Thanks guys for your comments. Johnny, the composer is the newest and easiest to use, I’d also recommend the macro kit. Ned I’m sure you’ll get some great dahlia images with your new Lensbaby, that is your time for photography.


  2. David, what a lovely collection of photos and thoughts.

  3. Thanks for the pseudo review. I’ve been contemplating getting a lens baby to incorporate in to some of my work and based on your reasons above, I think I’m going to try one. Do you have a recommendation for specific type of lens baby? Thanks in advance for any advice.

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