It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

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It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

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> > It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

It all started on Instagram. I kept seeing cool photos that were taken through a crystal ball. I thought it looked like a fun project, so I started looking for information. It turns out that glass globe or lens ball photography is trending. Why? Because it’s an inexpensive and fun way to take photographs. The visual effects can be stunning. My next step? Obtaining a lens ball and taking some photos of my own.

I discovered lens ball photography on Instagram and being a dabbler in photography, I thought it looked like fun. It also looked like something I could share with my blog readers. I often try new craft and creative projects and share them on My Cup of Cocoa. For past creative fun, click or . Basically, trying out lens ball photography was a win-win situation for me.

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

To start, I looked up lens balls on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised to find how inexpensive they were. A decent wide angle lens for your DSLR camera can set you back hundreds of dollars. My lens ball cost under $20: . I have seen them for lower, but they don’t come with a stand. The price of the lens ball depends on the diameter of the sphere. You can buy larger spheres for more money, but I do not recommend them because they are heavy and harder to use. Stick to a 2-3 inch globe.

I received my lens ball as a Mother’s Day gift and have been playing with it ever since. After waiting for a quiet Saturday morning to appear on my schedule, I set out on a nearby nature trail to attempt some lens ball photos of my own. My first attempts were okay. As with anything, the more I practiced, the better it got.

Coyote Creek Trail, Morgan Hill, California

An old barn on Coyote Creek Trail, Morgan Hill, California.

Leaf litter on Coyote Creek Trail in Morgan Hill, California.

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

The first thing you’ll notice in these photos is the image is turned upside down. I like this effect. But I have also seen images where the photographer publishes the photo upside down, making the ball image right side up. Either way is perfectly acceptable. It’s art, after all. Do what speaks to you and what makes the strongest image.

The other thing you’ve surely noticed is that my hand is in some of the pictures. In order to use a lens ball, it either needs to be held in front of the camera lens or set on a stand. In my research on lens ball photography, I have found either way is acceptable. Again, it all depends on what speaks to you and what makes a good image.

LDS Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. This photo has been turn upside down.

Same photo as above with original orientation.

I have tried using my lens ball with my Canon Rebel T3 and my iPhone. Sometimes, I just don’t want to lug my big camera around. I have to say, it takes great pictures. And if I knew how to use all the functions on it, they’d probably be even better. That said, my phone camera has also taken some good photos and is much easier and lighter to use. If you’re wondering if you need a DSLR to take lens ball photos, the answer is no. You can have just as much creative fun and success with a phone camera. Look at the photos below. The first was taken with my phone. The second is from my Canon Rebel.

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

New Brighton Beach, Aptos, California. Taken with an iPhone 7.

Sunset, Morgan Hill, California. Taken with Canon Rebel T3.

Have I sparked your interest in lens ball photography? Want more information or inspiration? I have found some especially helpful websites, Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts. Check out the links below.

- – This site has loads of great photography tips. The link I’ve provided takes you directly to a detailed article on lens ball photography.

- – Kinetic Ink sells digital photography add-ons, but the blog portion of the site has great tips for photographers of all abilities. This link I’ve provided takes you directly to their lens ball user tips.

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

- – A quick search of “lens ball photography” boards on Pinterest turned up about 40 boards dedicated to the subject. This link should take you to what I found. You can do your own search using “glass ball photography” and “Crystal Ball photography” and see if anything else comes up.

- Instagram – Hashtags for lens ball photography include #lensball #glassspheres #crystalball. You can also add “photography to the end of these hashtags. My favorite Instagram accounts for lens ball photography are and

One of my first photos with my lens ball taught me an important lesson. I have a drought tolerant landscape that includes river rock and bark in my front yard. I sat the lens ball down next to my dry creek bed feature which is made up of river rock. It sat on some dried bark. Big mistake. It was a sunny day and in less than a minute the bark was smoking. The lens ball is basically a extremely powerful magnifier. Have you ever used a magnifying glass to burn something? Well, a lens ball works much, much better. So if you’re using it where the grass is dry or the fire danger is high, be very careful.

Another tip is to beware of bright sunlight. It creates glares and reflections in the lens ball. This is okay if you’re trying to get the reflection, but can cause problems if you’re not. I took the photo below in full sun and if you look closely, you can see the reflection of my phone and fingers. The glass is also foggy because of all the reflected light. Photographers often talk about the “golden hours” as the best time of day to take photographs. Generally, these are just after sunrise and just before sunset when the light from the sun is softest. Overcast days can also work well.

Beware of glare! Don’t use lens ball in bright sunlight.

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

I always carry a cleaning cloth with my lens ball. It’s the same kind I use to clean my reading glasses. Fingerprints and smudges will ruin the clarity of your photos if your lens ball is not kept clean.

I mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again. Stick with a smaller sized ball. My 70mm ball weighs about a pound. That might not seem like much, but it gets heavy pretty quickly when you’re holding your arm out straight with it in one hand while trying to take a picture with the other hand. The 80mm ball weighs closer to 2 pounds. And they just get heavier from there. Even if you plan on using the ball in a stand, you’ll probably have to carry it with you and it adds weight to your camera bag. For portability sake, use a 2-3 inch ball.

Have you tried lens ball photography? It’s fun, creative, and easy to get started. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below. And put my social media buttons to good use. Sharing is caring!

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It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

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I am a wife and mother, a teacher, a writer, a photographer, and a creative wannabe. I like looking for the brighter side of life. I believe that kindness, gratitude and a little chocolate make the world a better place.

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It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

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A blog about gratitude, happiness, and favorite things

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

> > It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

It all started on Instagram. I kept seeing cool photos that were taken through a crystal ball. I thought it looked like a fun project, so I started looking for information. It turns out that glass globe or lens ball photography is trending. Why? Because it’s an inexpensive and fun way to take photographs. The visual effects can be stunning. My next step? Obtaining a lens ball and taking some photos of my own.

I discovered lens ball photography on Instagram and being a dabbler in photography, I thought it looked like fun. It also looked like something I could share with my blog readers. I often try new craft and creative projects and share them on My Cup of Cocoa. For past creative fun, click or . Basically, trying out lens ball photography was a win-win situation for me.

To start, I looked up lens balls on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised to find how inexpensive they were. A decent wide angle lens for your DSLR camera can set you back hundreds of dollars. My lens ball cost under $20: . I have seen them for lower, but they don’t come with a stand. The price of the lens ball depends on the diameter of the sphere. You can buy larger spheres for more money, but I do not recommend them because they are heavy and harder to use. Stick to a 2-3 inch globe.

It’s a Small World: Taking Photos With a Lens Ball

I received my lens ball as a Mother’s Day gift and have been playing with it ever since. After waiting for a quiet Saturday morning to appear on my schedule, I set out on a nearby nature trail to attempt some lens ball photos of my own. My first attempts were okay. As with anything, the more I practiced, the better it got.

Coyote Creek Trail, Morgan Hill, California

An old barn on Coyote Creek Trail, Morgan Hill, California.

Leaf litter on Coyote Creek Trail in Morgan Hill, California.

The first thing you’ll notice in these photos is the image is turned upside down. I like this effect. But I have also seen images where the photographer publishes the photo upside down, making the ball image right side up. Either way is perfectly acceptable. It’s art, after all. Do what speaks to you and what makes the strongest image.

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