5 Tips To Master Your Lensbaby

when my lensbaby first arrived in the mail, it was such a happy mail day!  i was so excited to start taking beautiful photographs and immediately put it on my camera.  i started taking photo after photo and i felt like i was living a little photographer dream!  but when i uploaded my first photo attempts into lightroom, i was so bummed!  most, if not all, of my photos were out of focus, underexposed, and just plain unappealing!  so shortly after opening up my lensbaby for the very first time, i put it away in my lens drawer and i didn’t take it back out for about 4 long months.  yep, i said 4 long months!  if you are trying to master your lensbaby, don’t do what i initially did!

after way too long of a break from my lensbaby, i pulled it out of the drawer and put it back on my camera.  and with a little more patience and dedication, i had a much more successful experience with my lensbaby.  looking back on my journey with my lensbaby, there some tips that i have found to be very helpful when learning this new lens.  so grab your pencil and a piece of paper so you can write down my 5 tips for mastering your lensbaby.

to read more about what lenses are in my photography bag, be sure to read about my photography gear!

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the photographs in this post were taken with the lensbaby composer pro sweet 35 on my nikon d600 or nikon d610.

5 Tips To Master Your Lensbaby

5 Tips To Master Your Lensbaby | Bethadilly Photography

1.  practice on stationary objects first   having a stationary subject to practice on was so helpful for me when i was learning how to master my lensbaby composer pro sweet 35.  it allowed me to practice on the exact same object, in the exact same position for as long as it took to nail the photo.  i was able to take a photo, check it, make the necessary adjustments, and then practice again on the same subject without worrying about having to chase after my subject or keep them in a posed position.  in other words, there is so much to focus on with just learning the lensbaby, so using a stationary object gave me one less thing to have to focus on.  just walk around your house or take a trip outdoors.  maybe you want to practice on a houseplant, or maybe you want to practice on your citrus snack!  whatever you may choose, you will have fun playing around with and learning about the creative affects of the lensbaby.  it really is a fun way to take a creative spin on an everyday household object.

5 Tips To Master Your Lensbaby | Bethadilly Photography

2.  get creative with your angles   once you decide on an object to practice on, play around with the angles.  take some photos from above, then from the side, up close, then further away, and maybe try from below.  when i was first learning how to master my lensbaby composer pro sweet 35, i spent a lot of time photographing items in my kitchen.  to capture my recipe card box, i got down on eye level with the recipe box and took the photo from the side.  i like the way that the yellow recipe tabs are readable and in focus, while the lensbaby composer pro sweet 35 helped create a soft and smooth effect around the bottom of the box.

i also grabbed my canister of wooden spoons and played around with the angles.  originally, i wanted to get a photo of the pretty teal mason jar canister that holds our utensils.  but then i took the time to try a variety of angles and ended up falling in love with an entirely different point of view.  instead of my original idea, i ended up with an artistic photo of a jar of wooden kitchen utensils, taken from above.  i love the soft and smooth feel of this photo, contrasted with the wood texture.

don’t be afraid to try new angles while you are learning to master your lensbaby.  the visual effects that the lensbaby composer pro sweet 35 creates on photos can be a little distorted, so experimenting with different angles and points of view is really helpful to remember.  for example, in the ferris wheel photo below, you can see in the left side of the frame how the lensbaby composer pro sweet 35 blurs and almost pulls that portion of the ferris wheel towards the edge of the photograph.  this is a good example of how your angles and positioning can help you still achieve the photo, while playing around with the effects.

5 Tips To Master Your Lensbaby | Bethadilly Photography

3.  take a break   if you notice you are getting frustrated, take a break!  just promise me that you won’t take a 4 month break like me!  take a moment to set your camera down, walk away, and come back to it after you have a little break.  sometimes walking away from something for a little while helps to put you in a place that is much more calm once it is time to pick up the camera again.  the lensbaby composer pro sweet 35 lens tilts up, down, to the left, and to the right!  i point this out because this is different from any other lens you will buy!  and sometimes different things come with different challenges because there is so much to learn.  so take a little break, go get a starbucks, and then come back when you are ready!  there is a lot of trial and error, but it is so worth it once you get used to working with the lens!  so.  worth.  it!

4.  set your lens to aperture 2.5 and keep your lens pointed straight   for me, i get my best photos when i rotate the lensbaby composer pro sweet 35 lens ring to aperture 2.5.  when i was first learning the lensbaby, it was also easier for me to keep the lens pointed straight ahead, just like a normal lens.  once i got more comfortable with the lens, i started taking advantage of the tilt capability.  for me, 2.5 is a really fun aperture to use when taking photos because you can really achieve some creative effects in your photographs!  like i said, i really like that look of the photo being pulled toward the edges of the frame from the focus point and aperture 2.5 really helps me to achieve that look!  as you learn to master your lensbaby, try pointing it straight first.

5 Tips To Master Your Lensbaby | Bethadilly Photography

5.  alternate between focusing and moving your camera to achieve focus   once i set my aperture, i will move my camera towards the subject, then focus, and then move my camera further or closer to the subject to see if that improves my focus.  i find it really helpful to move, focus, move, focus, click the shutter button!  i know this sounds like i am dancing, but it is something that really works for me and helped me have that “ah ha!” moment with my lensbaby composer pro sweet 35.  sometimes the smallest of movements of the camera can make a huge difference!

even though it was a rough start, today i am in love with my lensbaby composer pro sweet 35!  yes, it takes a lot of work.  yes, it can be a tad frustrating.  but it is so worth it when you finally master the lens!  if you are thinking of purchasing this lens or you are trying to get better with the lensbaby composer pro sweet 35, try using these 5 tips to master your lensbaby when practicing!

oh, hey!  wanna know a little secret?  i just purchased the lensbaby macro converter and it just arrived in the mail!  be sure to stay tuned for another blog post featuring images achieved with the macro attachment!  i am kind of in love with it!  😉

have any tips that have helped you master your lensbaby!?  be sure to leave your comments below and tell us which lensbaby you are using!  and feel free to ask me some questions!  i am happy to share my lensbaby journey!  as you learn to master your lensbaby, be patient and have fun.  it’s a lens that is totally worth it!

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5 Tips To Master Your Lensbaby | Bethadilly Photography

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  • Laura - love this article! i just got my lensbaby spark and took it outside to play. I noticed that like you once I uploaded them into LR some I was disappointed in but others I was totally in love with. I definitely need to practice with it more. Thanks for the share!ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - yes, it definitely takes some practice! but it is so worth the time because the images are so fun!! how do you like the spark?ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Buttice Doering - I want to love my Sweet 35 – I do ~ I do. I just can’t nail focus. All the images are soft. My “starts with P” IG post yesterday was with that lens and and I think I used a fill 4gb card to get 1 image 🙁 I’m trying not to put it bag in my bag for another year, but don’t know if I’ll make it. Attempting to use it again today for the “pink” post. Beautiful images, as always. Thanks for posting! Shine On & Shine Bright ~ AndreaReplyCancel

  • Mallory - Wow! I’ve never heard to Lensbaby before! The pictures turn out so dreamy…I’m definitely going to be checking it out.ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - yes, you should definitely check it out mallory! they are really fun lenses and you can get really creative with them! have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Julie M - I have the composer pro and with it I got some free accessories, soft focus lens, macro, etc. but I do not have the Sweet 35. Do I need to have the Sweet 35 “attachment” with my composer pro, is that why I am having such difficulty. The lens baby website wasn’t that helpful, or at least I couldn’t figure out how to make it helpful! Help!ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - hello julie, i am not sure i can be of much help, only to refer you to the videos on the lensbaby site that i find to be helpful walking you through how to use the lenses. i am not familiar with those accessories. i have the lensbaby composer pro sweet 35 and i just purchased the micro converter.ReplyCancel

  • Rosie - I just received my Composer Pro Sweet 35 and although my first shots were definitely off focus, I can still tell that I will eventually love this fun lens. I have lots of practice ahead of me, but your tips are sure to help. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - yay, Rosie! so excited for you and your new lens! it definitely takes a little practice in the beginning, but the images are soooo worth it! have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Corrina Brodersen - My husband just ordered the Lensbaby with an adaptor ring (he shoots Nikon, I shoot Canon). We can’t wait for it to arrive! Thanks for this post, I’m going to share it with him.ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - awe, that is so awesome! enjoy your new lensbaby! so happy that you found this post helpful! also, i love the fact that you are a canon user and your husband is a nikon user! ha ha, that is awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Coole - Great post! Just got this exact lens and was having a hard time…I so appreciate your tips and tricks! Thank you 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - Love, love this post. It has kept my self esteem in good shape after my first attempt with the lens baby. Thank you so much. Love what you have achieved with the lens !ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - You are so welcome, Jenny! Glad this post has inspired you to be patient with your lensbaby, it is certainly a challenge to master…but so worth it!ReplyCancel