Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part Product Spotlight featuring Lensbaby. You can read part one here.
Lensbaby Edge 80 Optic and Macro Converters by Laura Tillinghast
Continuing where I left off with the first part of my Lensbaby Product Spotlight, I took some time to try out the Edge 80 Optic and the Macro Converters that I did not have a chance to use in my first shoot. I wanted to keep the fashion theme I started with and try these products out with a spring fashion and accessory story I had planned. I was lucky to have Elizabeth Chang on hand again to create beautiful and soft spring hair and makeup looks. I also reached out to one of my favorite models to work with, Jana Molder, as I felt that she was a perfect fit for this story. Noel Allan was on hand to help out and let us shoot a few locations in his lush backyard. Thank you to a great team!
With the Edge 80 Optic, I wanted to work in natural light when it would be easiest to see the sweet spot and blurred areas. This worked perfectly with the wardrobe and jewelry for this shoot. Using natural backgrounds and carefully creating a sweet spot I was able to selectively blur parts of the images, creating a dreamy and ethereal look. It was exactly what I was going for!
For the first look of the day I experimented a lot with different amounts of blurring. I wanted to have some options when I edited and have the freedom to decide later how much I wanted the background and elements near the edges of the frame to be soft.
One feature of the Edge 80 Optic that I really love is the ability to shoot a completely focused shot as well as tilt to get the blurring effect. When shooting products especially, it is a really good idea to have at least a few frames in tack sharp focus in case you need them later. After a few looks I got more comfortable with moving the sweet spot as the model moved and changed poses. As the shoot progressed I became more daring and went for a few shots with a small focused area on the model’s face and a lot of blur. I am glad that I shot a variety of effects, but in the end I really like the artistic approach that the selective focus gives you as a photographer. For this story we used a lot of jewelry where we could, but I wanted to give the standout pieces additional inset images. For this I needed great hero shots and thought the Macro Converters would give the images an edge over regular product shots.
I experimented with both the 8mm and 16mm converters and shot with f-stops between 5.6 and 8. I found that the 8mm converter worked well for the necklaces and earrings while the 16mm allowed me to get closer for pieces that needed a tight close up, like the turquoise pendant. For these shots I did not need to stack the converters, but I plan to try that in the future when I need to get as close as possible.Overall I was very pleased with the results I got using this kit and had a lot of fun experimenting with selective focus. Going forward, the Lensbaby lenses will have a permanent place in my camera bag for the times when I need to add a little something extra special.