LensBaby Photojournalism

The day has finally come: I saw a news photo that used a LensBaby. That is just too rad for words, at least for words besides “rad”. I love the LensBaby lens concept. It gives us a very different approach to photography and helps us break out of our auto-focus, tack shap, wonder world.

I just noticed a thumbnail of this photo in Google Reader. I was not even reading the news, this was just on the very top of the page because it was recent. So, I could easily believe others have used LensBaby in photojournalistic work, but I just have not seen it.

I am so happy, because I have been exploring myself how to use a LensBaby in an editorial or photojournalistic context. I know there are no rules, per se, but it is encouraging to know I am no totally cuckoo.

Cooper Strange Written by:


  1. 2009-04-13

    have they removed the photo? I can’t see it…

  2. 2009-04-13

    I just followed the link and it showed up fine. Anyway, I just changed the link to show the full-sized photo instead of the article. We are just talking about the photo anyway. I do not know what to say, maybe just try again.

  3. Ryan

    Wow, I like this. Looks like you could have a lot of fun with it. To me it seems like it’s more action oriented. Everything looks like it has a lot of intensity in the photos.

  4. Daniel Kane

    I’ve always seen these photo running around and assumed it was the result of sporting about with zooms. I’m glad to know my unsuccessful attempts are the result of the wrong lens equipment and not me.

    Great Article, thanks.

  5. 2009-04-13

    Ryan, being used to regular lenses, any blur feels like action, though in this case, it is a blur because the plane of the focus is tilted to something not parallel to the sensor. Weird, but very fun and with endless creative possibilities.

    Daniel, yes, you can zoom in on something with a slightly slow shutter speed and get a similar effect…well, similar in this particular photograph. Zoomed shots will be perfectly centered, though, and somehow the blurred or out of focus regions will feel very different. Zooms are more clear and linear, whereas LensBaby lenses will be more unexpected.

    I do have some LensBaby shots up on my Flickr page:


    But for a much more broad look at what LensBaby photos look like (besides first taking a look at their website), take a look at the LensBaby Flickr group:


  6. 2009-04-14

    I’m still getting a little red X 🙁

  7. 2009-04-14

    Dude, sorry about that. It is not the most incredible photo, just a couple Japanese women walking down the sidewalk. It is more about the possibility of a LensBaby photo in news work.

  8. Ryan

    John, if your using “Internet Explorer” you should get a priest and have an exorcism to get that thing off your computer. 😉

  9. 2009-04-20

    Fabulous, I’ve seen some stunning lensbaby shots, some people don’t understand them, but I love the unexpected wonderful results you can get, takes a whole new spin on some subjects.

    Have you seen the movie The Assassination of Jesse James with Brad Pitt?, alot of the cinematography done with lensbaby lenses, stunning.

  10. 2009-04-20

    I KNEW IT! I have seen the Jesse James flick. I never did look it up (oh yea, because I saw it on a plane and forgot to look it up later), but I just KNEW it had to be done with a Lensbaby. Good choice really, because it gives it that non-precise modern look and more of a 1800s period unclarity. Great cinematography.

    I also saw a great series on green architecture on PBS that HAD to have used a Lensbaby on some of their shots, they even had the focus shifting around the image. Wonderful. Eye candy…especially in HD if you watch it on TV. Design:e2 …ironically, now that I think of it, narrated by Brad Pitt. Hmm.


  11. m.

    That picture doesn’t look so much like a LensBaby but rather zooming with the shutter open.

  12. 2009-05-21

    Without asking the photographer, we cannot know for sure. Yes, it could be zoomed. The one aspect that still makes it feel more like a Lensbaby is that the “center point” from which the blur extends does not seem to be in the center, rather more towards the bottom. With zoom, that could still be done by cropping.

    The big question is movement. If it is a Lensbaby, it is certainly wide open aperture or close to it, because of the extreme blur. If so, the shutter speed would be very fast in that daylight situation. If a zoom, the shutter speed would be slow in order to catch the zooming motion. So, are there other artifacts of either a slow or fast shutter speed? If so, that would certainly lean toward one answer or another. Still not conclusive, but an important bit of evidence.

    In the end, it does not matter, except that the whole entry above was about finally seeing a Lensbaby shot in photojournalism. It would be a bummer, at least temporarily till I saw my next first Lensbaby shot in photojournalism, if it were zoomed.

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