Tips for lensball handling.
“The most crucial thing is to avoid holding it with your bare hands a lot because the oils in your skin will tarnish the lensball over time,” says Vierra. Clean and care for your lensball just like you would your camera lens. Wipe it off with a microfiber cloth and use a glass spray to keep it crystal clear.
Don’t leave your lensball out in the sun for too long, and if you put it in your car, keep it in a protective case. “Essentially a lensball is a magnifying glass, so if you’re not careful, it can set something on fire,” warns Chase.
How to get crystal clear shots.
Lensball photography is one of the rare cases where manual focus is easier to work with than autofocus. “You want the focus to be on the very center of the ball,” says Vierra. “The wider the aperture, the better. A lot of people don’t like to go much higher than f/4. I go all the way to f/1.4 or f/2.8 depending on what lenses I have. I like a blurry background with bokeh better because it really sucks you into the center of your image.”
Any focal length or camera lens will work with lensballs — even your iPhone can take decent shots — but if you want to get really close to the glass, you’ll want a macro lens. If you want to be able to see the background and the scene around the lensball, go with a wide-angle lens.
Know your light source.
“If you’re not in the proper position, your reflection will show up in the lensball,” says Chase. “If the light’s behind me, it shows my reflection.” Position yourself for a side-lit shot or shoot into direct sunlight for the best results. On cloudy days, you don’t have to worry about accidental reflections as much. “Be mindful of where the light is coming from because that makes a huge difference in the clarity of your shot,” says Chase.
Work your magic in post-processing.
You don’t have to nail your shot in-camera. In lensball photography, experimentation and surreal effects are expected and celebrated. Push your creativity with photo editing tools like Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom and find out what's possible. You can remove your hand or lensball stand in Photoshop for a floating ball effect, flip the upside-down image so it’s right side up, or colorize the lensball to make it contrast with the background.