LAST UPDATED 25 FEBRUARY 2020
Lensball 🔮 Photography is all about finding the right subject for your shot. Remember to keep your lensball steady. Taking the perfect Lensball Photography 🔮 shot begins with how you place the stand – make sure it is on a stable, level surface.
Next, keep your phone or camera stable -preferably using a tripod or at least steadying it on a level surface.
Take a moment to adjust your field of vision so that you capture a balance of foreground and background elements. Try using the rule of thirds so you strike a meaningful balance between elements and keep the viewer interested.
Remember always when using a Lensball 🔮 that the ball itself is usually the focal point – or alternatively the interior field of the ball is the hero of the shot. To this end – tap your phone screen to draw the focus to the interior of the ball.
Bruce Lovelace has some helpful tips on Lensball Photography when using a digital camera. These lensball tips are also helpful with a mobile phone – you can adjust so many elements now with advanced smart phones.
- Keep your ball in the shade, if you can, to avoid distracting reflections from the sun or the sky.
- Use a long lens or a telephoto setting on your zoom lens. This will give you a more pleasing perspective and a better effect.
- Shoot at a wide open aperture. A small f/stop number will give you shallow depth of field and will help render the background out of focus. This will emphasize the image within the ball as the main subject.
- Don’t touch your sphere with your bare hands. Fingerprints will show easily and are distracting in your photo.
Simon Bond offers some useful tips on Lensball Photography.
Refraction happens when light passes through an object of denser mass, such as water or glass.
When this occurs, light is bent, and there is a distortion.
When refraction occurs with a transparent spherical object something magical happens.
An inverted image of the scene behind the ball is seen.
The lens elements in your camera actually work this way as well. You can use a glass ball as an extra lens element, one you can move around your scene.
Important! – Get above your subject
If there’s only one thing you learn from these lensball photography tips, You should get the ball off the ground so it’s level with the subject you’re photographing.
- A centered subject in the ball will have less distortion and more impact in the frame.
- Scenes that are well suited for a wide-angle photo also often work well inside a crystal ball.
- A glass ball is cheaper than a lens and allows you to create a fish-eye like effect.
- You can move the ball to different positions in your scene.
- Using a large aperture in conjunction with the ball to create bokeh, is great for minimalism.
- Scenes created with a crystal ball often have a more artistic feel.
- The ball creates a natural frame for your photo.
- The effect of refraction occurs when light passes through an object of denser mass. This bends the light as it passes through the object of denser mass.
- This effect is obvious when you place a pencil inside a water glass. You’ll notice that the pencil is distorted and larger in the area that is in the water. That’s because of refraction.
- Now fill a wine glass with water, and you’ll see something like shrimp snow special inside. The image is inverted within the wine glass. This is the effect you’re going to use with a crystal ball.
- Of course most crystal balls are actually glass balls made with K9 glass. The glass provides that denser mass though, and you have a lens optic right there.
Some scenes work, some don’t. In the same way that what can sometimes look amazing to our eyes doesn’t necessarily make a good photograph – quite often, images which would make for a stunning landscape shot don’t always work through a glass ball.
Your subject must be near. Remember that glass ball is going to offer a 180 degree view of the scene before you – unless an object is behind your head, it will be captured inside the ball, so don’t worry about missing anything.
However, as a result, being 2 miles away from a skyline simply won’t work – you’ll capture the city, but it’ll be the smallest thing imaginable when viewed inside that lensball!
Getting the most from a glass ball shot is actually pretty simple too:
- Go for high-contrast scenes, with vibrant colours and/or strong lines.
- Get close to your subject, the ball will make everything look a lot smaller than reality.
- Ideally, aim to have the bright scene as your subject and a darker area behind you – if not, check for your own reflection when shooting.
- Shoot with a wide aperture (f/4-5.6) to separate the content of the ball from the more abstract background that it’s capturing.
- A wide lens will give you a lot more of the actual scene in the background, but will mean you need to shoot very close to the ball itself.
- In a perfect world, in low light, you’ll need to have the ball on a steady surface and the camera on a tripod – otherwise you’ll have to use a high ISO to combat camera shake.
Stephanie Kay-Kok loves the lensball! She shares some critical advice for all glass ball photography students!
Shoot a sunset/sunrise.
The Golden Hour, which happens around sunset and sunrise, is an ideal time to photograph any subject, especially if you’re using a crystal ball.
That’s because the colours surrounding the crystal ball will be beautiful yet vague, so they won’t distract the viewer. They’ll create a serene atmosphere, but the viewer’s attention will stay on the scene within the ball.
Just remember that you’ll need to flip the image during post-processing, so the sunset or sunrise won’t be upside-down!