Using Creative Lenses

Every now and then, we all experience some sort of creative low point. We can feel stuck, limited, we have trouble coming up with new ideas or are just unable to see  the world in a creative way.

If you’re anything like me, you can also find yourself sinking into familiarity. You have a favourite lens and you use it for almost everything. There’s nothing exactly wrong with this, different lenses have different uses and they are each better at capturing a certain style. It does mean, though, that your eyes are used to seeing things in a certain way through the lens that you use the most.

Using Creative Lenses

Using Creative Lenses

Using Creative Lenses to See Differently

If you do find yourself stuck for inspiration, you can try changing the lens you would usually use. If you usually use prime lenses, try a zoom. If you prefer wide angles, see what you can do differently with longer focal lengths. It might feel strange at first, if you switch from a long focal length to a wide angle you might not know what to do with all of that extra space. Similarly if you switch from a zoom lens to a prime you may find yourself feeling restricted. But it’s in that place, where you find yourself having to do a little problem solving, that your creativity can flourish.

By using a lens that is different to one you would usually use, you are forced to think about the way in which you see or compose a photograph.

You can even take this a step further and try using a lens that is designed to make you think or see differently. Have you ever thought about using a FishEye Lens? A Tilt Shift, or a Lensbaby? Each of these types of lenses distorts reality in some way, forcing us to change our way of thinking when we are composing photographs while using them.

Using Creative Lenses

Using Creative Lenses

I recently caught the train from my neighbourhood to downtown Chicago, camera packed in my bag and ready to go. Usually when I go downtown to shoot I just pack my wide angle or my super wide. That way I know what I want and I know exactly what to expect.

This time I took the lensbaby with me. I’ve been using it to shoot for a few weeks now and I feel as though I’ve mostly worked my way through the slight learning curve that comes with it. I’ve never used it to shoot urban architecture though, it was something I’ve been meaning to do since the lens arrived.

I ended up over-shooting a lot more than usual, to be honest a lot of the photographs I took were not useable because I was not used to using this lens for this particular type of photography. But practice (and also failure) is an important part of learning and a hugely important component of creativity.

Looking at my surroundings through a creative lens as opposed to my usual wide angle opened up an entirely different world to me. The focal length (35mm) of this particular lens was familiar to me, it is on the longer end of the focal length of the wide angles I usually like to use. But the blur and distortion meant that I had to really slow down and think differently about how I was framing my shot. I was very happy to be thinking more creatively and coming up with some new ideas for shots based on the use of a creative lens.

Using Creative Lenses

*Photos taken with the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic

There are, of course, other ways that you can use your existing lenses creatively. Head over to Live and Love Out Loud today where Kristi has a tutorial on creating a tilt-shift effect.

Have you ever used creative lenses? Did you enjoy the challenge of learning how to use them?


Creative Photography


  1. you’re really diggin’ that lens eh xD I have the SWEET35 but it’s on the scout which is… always straight on (I hate it but it was all I could get). It’s fun though 🙂 I’ve been using it a lot for the flowers that have literally popped up overnight since Saturday~
    Jenny´s last post ..Yellow / Easter

    • Yes, it has honestly barely left my camera since I put it on there 🙂 so much fun to use and experiment with!

  2. You’re so right. Practice and failure are definitely an important part of learning and the creative process. You’re really inspiring me with all of your Lensbaby photos. I’m going to get out there and shoot with it and really push myself to think and shoot more creatively.

    Love, love, love these photos. Have a I already mentioned that?
    Kristi {at} Live & Love Out Loud´s last post ..How to Create a Tilt-Shift Lens Effect With Your 50mm Lens {Creative Photography}

  3. Now I realise why Alicia has been loving my lensbaby shots on facebook 🙂 I’ve not been blogging for ages and ‘kinda of out of the loop’ but have been using a lensbaby since Feb and I’ve hardly taken it off the camera body. I’ve never seen so many shots head to the recycle bin since I started to use the optics but I love a challenge.

    Great pics Rebecca………maybe I should join in the Spring challenge again this year!
    Rosie Perthshire Gardener and Photographer´s last post ..Whats in bloom in March

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