David Shough Takes the Lensbaby Challenge

David Shough Photo

"I've been following and enjoying your podcasts, and you are usually right on the money with your advice and observations," said David Shough.

"But I have to disagree with you regarding the Lensbaby lenses. It's an awesome tool... I use it nearly every shoot (studio, product, and weddings). The reason a lockable Lensbaby is so appealing is that is lets you shoot with long exposures, as well as giving you a way to get repeatable studio shots. At less than $300, it's a steal. I'll be getting one soon."

Well, David, I'd say you rose to the Lensbaby challenge admirably. This shot of a bride's ring is quite powerful. And now I can say that I've seen a great shot made with a Lensbaby. Well done!

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I was going to comment on the previous post that I've seen a lensbaby give a lingerie model cottage cheese thighs, even in the hands of a photographer who specializes in photographing women. But I think David might have proven it can work in the right context.

Although this image is quite nice I don't believe the lensbaby is worth it for most photographers unless you plan on talking many shots with this effect like David does or just want to have fun with a new device. For the occasional image you can just use photoshop, gimp, or whatever else you like. I went to the lensbabies website and viewed their gallery of images, to see what kind of shots you can get. I wasn't impressed. I didn't see an image I couldn't easily replicate using Photoshop filters and layermasks. (Duplicate the image do a radial blur and then add a layer mask to blur only what you want.) And with photoshop you can get exactly the look you want everytime.

Here is a image of a flower I did using the method above. (links to flickr)

Also did a second version with a more dramatic effect. total time to do this is under a minute. Instructions are in the image descriptions.

I'm not saying these are the coolest images ever I'm just saying it's not worth paying $250 to get this effect when you can do it in photoshop in a minute. Unless of coarse your doing this effect on tons of images.

I recorded a screencapture movie how to do this, If I have time I'll post the link on flickr in the decription section of the above images.