Will Korn  

Lensbaby Velvet by Will Korn

August 2022 - Lensbaby Velvet

About the Image(s)

I attended a workshop last week to learn how to be more creative in photographing flowers. This image is intentionally soft focused using a Lensbaby Velvet 56mm.

15 comments posted

Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
Kudos to you for exploring new techniques! This image strikes me as "out of focus" as opposed to "soft." Perhaps it's my bias/mindset - but I'd love to see at least part of the frame sharp. I believe Lensbaby makes a product that allows you to select the area you'd like sharp - and then blurs the remainder.

I contrast this with an image of a flower a friend showed me taken with an 80 year old Leica lens. That lens is soft by today's standards - but in a natural/pleasing way.

The color palate works well . . . definitely a flower worth photographing! I see a large halo around the flower (esp the yellow parts); not sure if this is a desired effect of the lens? Or processing? Or an artifact of the low resolution image I'm viewing?

I understand that you can dial up/down the extent of out of focus by varying the aperture. What aperture was this shot at?

People love Lensbaby effects . . . . perhaps they will grow on me! Keep exploring.   Posted: 08/07/2022 09:28:36
Will Korn   Will Korn
The halo around the out-of-focus parts of the Lensbaby Velvet are intentional.

One of the reasons that I attended the workshop is to move my images of inanimate objects from documentary (e.g. focus stacked tack sharp images) to creative. Perhaps this one doesn't float your boat! I have others.   Posted: 08/08/2022 09:14:11
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
I need to work on developing the "other" side of my brain.   Posted: 08/08/2022 16:12:34
Will Korn   Will Korn
examples of changing the aperture are included below
  Posted: 08/17/2022 13:12:08

Cindy Smith   Cindy Smith
I have never heard of Lensbaby. I was waiting on my computer to finish loading the image until I read the description. The colors are beautiful. There are so many techniques for creative imaging. I learn something new every day. Tell me more about Lensbaby--and you said Lensbaby Velvet. Is there a difference?   Posted: 08/07/2022 12:47:46
Will Korn   Will Korn
Lensbaby is a brand of American-made lenses that have varying degrees of artistic effect. I don't know about all of them but the Velvet which comes in 56mm and (I think) 85mm versions has central sharp focus and peripheral soft focus. The effect can be varied; as you stop down, the focus area becaomes larger and by the time you get to f/5.6 and f/8 it is essentially a normal lens. It's good for portraits, creative photography, and can do macro down to 2:1 which is amazing for its price. I got mine used for $250. It is difficult to use. It is completely manual focus and manual aperture, and focusing is a challenge when you stop down because it gets darker in the viewfinder (you have to open the diaphragm, focus, and then stop it back down). Despite all this it's fun to use. There is a glowing effect at the edge of the out-of-focus parts that is unique and intentional. The bokeh is nice. It seems worth experimenting with at this price point. If a number of people are interested I can post the same image at different apertures as a demonstration.   Posted: 08/08/2022 09:12:06

Chan Garrett   Chan Garrett
Will, it looks like the workshop was worth your time. I can see this as part of a collection of Fine Art photographs. I have never owned or used a soft-focus lens, but know they were (perhaps still are) popular with portrait photographers for use in photographing women.   Posted: 08/07/2022 14:06:02

Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
I've never used a lens baby, although I have heard of them. A very interesting effect! Your post and the ensuing discussion have been very interesting to me. I am somewhat resistant to using creative techniques - well, very resistant, actually, but I need to push myself into new territory. Beautiful image! Thanks for posting!   Posted: 08/09/2022 18:02:22

Dale Yates   Dale Yates
Very creative image which causes me to consider expanding my horizons a little (similar to Jennifer, I tend to be somewhat resistant to the creative techniques). I have never used Lensbaby but should consider this or something similar. Thanks for sharing this!   Posted: 08/15/2022 09:28:19

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Good day, Will.

Well, I will not hid the fact I am not a Lensbaby fan. In any case, a similar aesthetic or in this case ... a very Impressionistic visual presentation ... could have been made using traditional photographic gear. In any case, I like the design concept, indeed.

"Points to Ponder"
I like Bokeh created through Regular Glass; it provides a better balance between the point of focus and the areas of bokeh, in my opinion, and with a quality "Fast Lens" (e.g., 50mm F/1.2) provides beautiful circular bokeh.

Of course, in your featured work, I fail to see any "sharp" focused point, and I do believe this was your intention, hence the paint-like Impressionistic presentation.

The work would look stunning printed on some type of Japanese or Chinese papers. Just a thought.   Posted: 08/17/2022 09:27:37
Will Korn   Will Korn
Thanks for your comments.
I think my image has no sharp point because I didn't do a good job; there should be a sharp area at the center.

The effect can also be altered with a smaller aperture here are examples of the same shot at smaller apertures
  Posted: 08/17/2022 10:04:07
Comment Image
Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
I like both of your smaller aperture shots, but especially this one! The pink dot could be desaturated or removed, but the overall feel is intimate and still painterly.   Posted: 08/17/2022 11:02:29
Steven Jungerwirth   Steven Jungerwirth
I agree with Jennifer . . . this image has enough detail/sharpness to grab my interest . . . then the periphery blurs nicely. I would get rid of that pink dot (I assume an out of focus flower) and darken the upper right corner/right side; those bright spots distract. Thank you for sharing these images and explaining what the lens can do!   Posted: 08/17/2022 14:11:03

Will Korn   Will Korn
and   Posted: 08/17/2022 10:04:22
Comment Image
Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
.... yes, these are different ... I like this one (2nd one). But this example also emulates (some) traditional lenses.

About three years ago I noticed one or two cinematographers (apparently) using Lensbaby glass (or a similar product) to add a bit of "art" to the scene in the movie.

It does have its place within photography and cinema, indeed. Thank you for these added examples. : )   Posted: 08/17/2022 13:02:35


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