Glass ball photography is simply the use of a clear lens ball as a subject in an image. The glass ball creates a distorted effect and makes for a very creative photo when used right.
As creative photographers, we are always looking for new ways to incorporate objects to spice up our shots. I’ve discussed fairy lights photography and its upward trend in photo feeds today, but another object that has been heavily incorporated is the glass lens ball. The lens ball is essentially glass ball photography. Using a 60mm or 80mm glass ball and the infraction within the glass ball to capture an image.
You may or may not have seen glass ball photography around your social feeds, but I’ve noticed more and more of these lens balls being incorporated into photos as of late. I just went out and bought a couple lens balls to try out and here is my full guide to purchasing the best glass balls for photography and my guide to using the lens balls to create some stunning images for your personal feeds!
Where Is the Best Place to Buy a Lens Ball for Cheap?
The best and cheapest place to buy a lens ball is from Amazon. The one they sell at LensBall.com is the exact same quality as the ones on Amazon, but for 2x to 3x the price for some extra packaging. Don’t fall for this and save yourself some money.
The glass balls on Amazon that you should get are the 60mm or the 80mm ones. Instead of paying the $25 or the $35 plus shipping from Lensball, you can get these exact glass balls off Amazon for $9 if you’re looking at the 60mm and $15 for the 80mm. If you have Amazon Prime, you will also get free two-day shipping as well.
You might be wondering, what size lens ball should I buy? In my opinion, the larger size glass ball is better for photography because it helps show more image through the infraction when you capture it with your camera. The small 60mm lens ball is nice for travel, but if you don’t plan on doing so much travel with flights then I would go with the 80mm glass ball. For the price though, I have both which I use for different situations.
Buy the 80mm Glass Lens Ball from Amazon
Buy the 60mm Glass Lens Ball from Amazon
How to Use a Glass Lens Ball for Photography
The lens ball is easy to use when it comes to photos. But, having the right camera settings are important to achieve the perfect image. Two settings I would recommend when taking photos with the lens ball.
I use these settings because I like when the glass ball is in focus and the image within the glass ball is in focus, but I want the background to be blurred out. When I’m taking photos with the glass ball, it’s cool to see the image clearly through the ball and having a nice bokeh in the background helps create this image. I keep the shutter speed high because I find my hands to move quite a bit while holding the ball and taking the photo. Having a higher shutter speed eliminates any motion blurriness that might be caused because of my shaking.
Now these settings will vary based on what camera and lens you are using. But more importantly, the conditions and the lighting you’re shooting in will also play a major part in your camera settings. The best thing to do is to perform some trial and error and mess around with your camera settings until you get the right shot.
7 Creative Glass Ball Photography Ideas for Your Photos
I did some research and found 7 interesting ways that some photographers are using the glass ball for photography, and I wanted to share them with you all! Here are 7 creative glass ball photography ideas.
1. Glass Ball On Water
Reflection inception? The glass ball already reflects the image through the camera, but water then reflects the image in the lens ball. Confused yet? Me too, but it works.. Here are some visuals to show you how it’s done.
Image source: @substantial_
2. Hand Holding Up Lens Ball
This is as classic and as simple as it gets. Lift up the glass ball with your hand or you can get someone else to do it for you. Set a manual focus on the glass ball and adjust your camera distance from the lens ball to get the right shot. Think of the glass ball as a second lens and make sure you capture everything that you want in the lens ball. It essentially acts as a wide angle lens.
Image source: @danielhedquistphoto
3. Glass Ball Photography From Below
As I mentioned before, the lens ball acts as a wide angle lens so you can capture some amazing architecture. If the architecture or shot is up high, you can take a shot from below the glass ball to get a cool wide angle shot upwards. The lens ball should capture most of the architecture or landscape since it’s so wide. Circular structures also look very cool with the glass ball because of the way that it distorts the image. Makes for a pretty cool photo.
Image source: @timwah
4. Lens Ball Photography Using Props (Fairy Lights)
What’s more creative than adding unique items to your photos?
Adding more unique items to your photos.
We’ve discussed this quite a bit before, but you can use fairy lights to light up your lens ball to get a pretty amazing shot.
Image source: @tysgoora
5. Portrait Shots With The Lens Ball
What about using models for your glass ball photos? You can capture the image of someone through the lens ball and it would make for a very creative shot. Adjust the distance of the glass ball away from the model’s face and adjust your focus accordingly. Remember, you want to frame the subject within the glass ball first before moving onto framing the shot through your camera.
Image source: @kolbs.may
6. Photoshop Your Lens Ball
Photoshop offers endless creative options and if you’re familiar with using it, this could be the right match for you. Whether it’s making the colors stand out, creating a shatter effect on the glass ball, or even having the glass ball levitate – photoshop will allow you to create some crazy glass ball photography shots.
Image source: @cfunk44
7. Glass Ball Photography on Ice Cream Cone
Last, but certainly not least. The glass ball on the ice cream cone might be my favorite because of how cool the end result is. This one is super simple. Go out to your local grocery store and buy plain ice cream cones. You can buy ice cream too since that’s never a bad idea…
Once you have the ice cream cone. Place the glass ball on the plain ice cream cone and take the perfect Instagram shot. Watch your likes fly up and your friends be amazed with your photography skills.
Image source: @bgwynn
Using a glass ball in your photoshoots can add a new creative element that can really make your photos stand out. It can turn a simple landscape into a unique never seen before landscape. Typical camera equipment and accessories are expensive, but the lens ball from Amazon is very affordable if you’re looking for a cheap way to add creativity to your shots!
If you’re looking for more creative photography ideas, check out the blog post we wrote for more ideas!
Have anymore ideas for creative glass ball photography shots? Have any cool glass ball photography photos that you took? Comment your Instagram feeds down below and I’ll check them out!