Lensball Photography

So as we come to the end of a bank holiday weekend I've been thinking about some of the fun photography techniques about at the moment. One of the most popular at the moment is lens ball photography. It's a fun, but also somewhat challenging, technique and there are loads of people out there producing some amazing images (see below).

Here are my top tips for trying this out for yourself as well as advice on buying the right lens ball and an alternative approach if you don't have one.

Buying the right ball:

There are lots available on the market and they come in a variety of sizes. Whilst it might seem sensible to buy a small one for portability they can be trickier to work with. Be aware that lens ball's are heavy. Use one with a minimum diameter of 80mm and look for balls that come with a protective bag, cloth and a stand. They are readily available from online sites such as Amazon and cost from £10 - 20. Plenty of time then to get one for the next long weekend!

Tips and things to try:

  • Keep the ball in shadows/low light wherever possible. Lens balls magnify any direct sunlight so take care - I have scorched a hole through my cleaning cloth and a friend scorched the screen of her phone!!

  • Have another pair of hands to hold the ball if you can't place it/hold it for your shot

  • Align the horizon if it's in your shot otherwise one will look wonky

  • Shoot with wide apertures (ie F5.6 and below) This will enable you to get sharp images in the ball and lovely blurred backgrounds

  • Use spot metering and a single focus point for the sharpest images within the ball

  • Get close to the ball and fill most of the frame with it

  • Try placing the ball on a reflective surface - water, metal etc for some amazing effects

  • Invert the resulting image so the lens ball reflection is 'correct'

  • Don't have a lens ball? Fill a wine or copa glass with water for a similar effect

There are lots of great lens ball photos on platforms such as Instagram that will give you lots of ideas to try. Just search #lensball

This is a great technique to try out and worth persevering with to get great results!

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All images © Sarah Holmes 2021 No reproduction without prior permission.