Guest Blog

How to Post-Edit Lensball Photography

Post editing or post production involves editing your photos after you’ve taken them to achieve a better end outcome. I previously introduced you to lensball photography so now that you may have taken some lensball photos, this article will follow up on post production techniques for this kind of creative photography!

Post production for lensball photography includes using basic editing options such as cropping, exposure and saturation. We will also cover off slightly more advanced techniques such as flipping the image inside the lensball. Just like with other types of photography, some basic editing can sometimes improve your lensball photos. However, you will need to know how to apply these techniques specifically to lensball photos. The following few tips will give you good guidance on this.

Lensball Post Production Basics

1. Start with a Photo Editor
You may already have a photo editor. However, if you don’t already, there is a great range of options available whether free or need to be purchased. One of the most well-known is Adobe Photoshop (which can be purchased as an online subscription). Lightroom also has a huge range of functions. Many beginners can easily get away with a free photo editor.

2. Applying Basic Editing to Lensball Photography
You may have already used some of the basic functions below, but if you haven’t, dont worry, it’s simply a matter of trial and error. Simply find these functions in your photo editor (if you are having issues, utilize their help menu). Many photo editing apps will also have YouTube tutorials from the company or other photographers.

This one is essential with lensball photography. You really want to be able to see the image inside the lensball and show off the best elements in the background. Often the viewer of the photo will enjoy seeing the contrast between what is inside the lensball and also the background. This may be for example a great landscape photo or a stylish street mural. Of course you may also use cropping to remove unwanted objects or aspects of the image that do need to be in the photo!

Exposure pertains to the brightness of the image. You may like to either lighten or darken things up where required normally to balance out too much darknesss or light respectively. With lensball photography sometimes too much brightness or reflections can cause an issue so darkening some of these issues may help. Conversely lightening up a photo that is a bit too dark can improve the end result. Often you may also have to edit contrast when playing around with the exposure to achieve a better balance with your photo.

Saturation refers to the emphasis of colours. With saturation generally I don’t recommend going too far with the editing – light touch up is normally the way to go if anything at all. You may use it sparingly in certain situations such as increase it slightly where you want to show off colours more or in the opposite situation use desaturation to show for example dank weather such as rain or overcast skies. Again, as per with contrast above for exposure, in this case you may need to balance things out by also adjusting the vibrance setting. Vibrance will ensure the mid-tone luminance colours are emphasised more so than the rest of the colours as increasing the saturation will tend to affect all colours even when we may not need it.

3. Flip the Image Inside the Crystal Ball
As with most post editing scenarios, with lensball photography post production, little edits are in most cases more effective than drastic changes. However, there may be certain situations where you feel like a bit more editing will do a lensball shot justice. Flipping the image inside the lensball does involve more significant editing whereby instead of the image being upsdie down in the crystal ball it will be facing the same way as the background. This is explained further in the next section.

Flipping the image inside the crystal ball is certainly not as complicated as it may sound! Why would this be wanted sometimes? Due to the effects of refraction, that is, when light hits an object of denser mass (in this case, crystal) then an inversion of the image will occur. So you will notice an upside down effect of the image inside the lensball compared to the subject behind the ball. Now, before you go flipping every lensball image remember the refraction effect often adds wonder and makes many photos interesting. This is especially the case where we have horizontal symmetry involved such as with the shot of the horizon, water and sky in the photo below: The viewer gets to see the cool contrast between the normal background and the inverted version inside the lensball.

Nevertheless, we may like to invert the image the normal way up where it would make more sense such as in the case of a building structure. How do we do it? It just takes creating an extra circular layer in your photo editor, followed by some light feathering to keep the circular shape and rotating of the lensball.

This simple YouTube tutorial will explain this process step by step using the Adobe Photoshop photo editor.

I hope you have enjoyed your lensball photography to date and that these follow-up post editing tips will further enhance your experience with this very creative photography accessory!

So give these tips a go. Remember, the more you experiment inside your photo editor with your lensball images, the more adept you will find you get with lensball photography editing techniques.

Simon Choi is an avid landscape photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. After departing a corporate career in Financial Services and Consulting, Simon pursued his passion for landscape photography, nature and creativity. He started Refractique, an online niche photography retailer which distributes the lensball.