4 Ways for a Portrait Photographer to Get a Different Look

The modern world of portrait photography is very sterile. Modern photographers often shoot with cameras and lenses that get rid of all the fun. And then a portrait photographer often needs to spend hours grinding away in post-production to get what they want. But seriously, you don’t have to do it. Want that cool vintage lens flare? Or what about just a softer look. Well lucky for you, we dove into our reviews index to find a bunch of great products from Lensbaby. It will give you the extra clove and bergamot that your photography has been lacking.

Reader Exclusive Deal: Lensbaby currently has 15% off on all products in their store. But if you use our links to their store and enter promo code phoblog you’ll get an extra 10% off, which totals 25% off their products.

This piece is presented in partnership with Lensbaby. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the products in this post already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few key gems to you.

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pro Tips for the Portrait Photographer That’s Bored

Here are some pro tips for the portrait photographer:

  • All of these items are from Lensbaby. If you’re used to fast-paced shoots, it’s time to slow down. You’re going to shoot less photos, and shoot them with a more intention.
  • Forget about doing it in post-production. A portrait photographer can do everything in-camera with these lenses and accessories.
  • Experiment with all sorts of funky colors, projectors, and more to get the look you want.
  • All of these were independently reviewed using the Sony FE camera system. But these products are available for pretty much any system around.
  • Sick of Sony’s super sharp and sterile lenses? Why not give these a try?

Lensbaby OMNI System and Expansions: The Lens Flare You Want

How to Use It: The OMNI system is a series of prisms and crystals that can be placed in front of your camera lens. Observe where the light is hitting from and place the prisms directly over that angle.

In our review, we state:

“Many things in life are easy to use but challenging to master, and such is the case with the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System. While the OMNI can effortlessly adapt to a variety of different camera setups, you will have the easiest time using the system with a camera that has excellent Live View functionality, or at least a high-res Electronic View Finder. Since you’re basically modifying the way light enters your camera, it helps to see what the various Effect Wands are doing as you’re repositioning them and making adjustments. You’ll also create the most impressive results using the OMNI Creative Filter System when shooting in well-lit environments, or have light sources directly facing your camera lens.”

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Lensbaby Edge 35: Tilt-Shift Portraits!

How to Use It: Think about tilt-shift portraits! Imagine just the face in focus and not much else in a scene. It’s going to be so fun!

In our review, we state:

“If you’re using the Lensbaby 35mm f3.5 Edge, then you may be a bit put off by the slow f3.5 aperture of the optic. We completely understand why. I mean, a prime lens? Why that slow? Once you get past that and start experimenting with and using the Lensbaby 35mm f3.5 Edge the way it’s designed, you stop worrying about all that. F3.5 is incredibly shallow. If you were autofocusing, the lens wouldn’t have a problem acquiring focus. But try doing it not stopped down with a lens that opens up to f1.4–it’s rather difficult. If you aren’t incredibly serious about charts and all that stuff, you’ll appreciate what the Lensbaby 35mm f3.5 Edge can do.”

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Lensbaby Velvet 85: The Glow a Portrait Photographer Is Looking For

How to Use It: This is the 85mm lens that isn’t too sharp and offers a beautiful glow on your subject. Overexpose the scene a bit and have the camera do all the rest!

In our review, we state:

“Shot wide open, the Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f1.8 will give you some absolutely incredible bokeh due to its close focusing distances. However, you’re also trading a whole lot of sharpness for this in order to get the best bokeh at f1.8. If you want a balance of both bokeh and sharpness, then go for f4 or f5.6.”

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Lensbaby Sol 45: Tilt-Shift and Bokeh!

How to Use It: The Sol 45 is like a tilt-shift lens that can have the shape of its bokeh totally change. Shoot portraits as you normally would and compose like normal too. Then just get ready to have a really cool effect.

In our review, we state:

“One of the biggest reasons why you’d use the Lensbaby Sol 45 is for the bokeh effect…moving the blades in front of the lens element gives more definition to the bokeh. It changes it very subtly.”

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.