• When photographing with any new lens or optic, put it on your camera and leave it there, shoot and shoot and shoot! There is a learning curve to any new piece of equipment, so the more you use it, the shorter that learning curve will become. You can focus from 15 inches away, to infinity with the Sweet 50 optic, so subject choice is endless!
• If you are new to Lensbaby, choose an aperture of f/4 or f/5.6 to begin with. Those apertures will provide a decent sized sweet spot of focus that will be easy for you to see in your viewfinder. Start with a centered focus, bending does make focus a little tougher. Once you are getting some consistently sharp sweet spots of focus, start making slight bends off center. A little bend can go a long way.
• There are two things you always need to think about when shooting with the Sweet 50. The first is how much you want in focus, the second is where you want to place the sweet spot of focus. The best way to learn exactly what changing aperture does to the sweet spot of focus is to choose a subject and shoot it with every aperture on the optic. Open them all on your computer and see the different effects on your photos. Doing that will help you make aperture choices that tell the story you want to tell about your subject.
• Try to find subjects that will fill the frame with shapes, colors and lines. Empty white skies and really dark areas will show very little effect. Use your Lensbaby to draw attention to one particular part of your composition. Really study your subject and what catches your eye. Using a Lensbaby makes you slow down and pay more attention to what is in your viewfinder, and that will result in stronger photographs. You can highlight what is important to your story, and blur what is not.
• Once you have spent some time shooting with the Sweet 50 optic, you might be ready to try something new with your Composer Pro. With the unique modular style design of the Lensbaby Optic Swap System, you can switch to a different optic quickly and easily once you own a lens.
Try a different focal length with the wider Sweet 35, or create a slice of focus through your image, instead of a sweet spot, with the Edge 50 or Edge 80 optics. If the 15 inch focus distance of the Sweet 50 doesn’t get you as close as you’d like, you can add the Macro Converters to get up close and personal with your subjects. The Lensbaby Optic Swap System allows you to continue seeing in a new way!
Stay tuned for more on Lensbaby and macro photography from Kathleen in next month’s issue.