Fisheye Photography: A Quick Guide (+ 5 Tips)

Fisheye Pictures: A Quick Guide (+ five Tips)

a guide to fisheye photography (+ tips)

Just what fisheye lens, and how can you capture incredible fisheye digital photography?

In this post, I explain everything you need to learn to create beautiful fisheye images. I start with a simple associated with fisheye photography; I then provide tips, tricks, and techniques for beautiful fisheye portraits, landscapes, and more.

And I share plenty of fisheye examples along the way, so you know exactly what a fisheye lens can do.

Do you want to become a fisheye photo master? Let’s dive right within, starting with:

What is a fisheye lens?

A fisheye lens is definitely an ultra-wide lens with substantial (deliberate) distortion . As a result, fisheye images are heavily curved round the edges:

fisheye photography architecture

Generally speaking, distortion is difficult – but fisheye professional photographers work to embrace the distortive effect. Indeed, fisheye photography is all about capturing special perspectives and compositions.

Fisheye lenses, as opposed to most standard lenses, have a bulbous front element. For this reason, you cannot use a regular zoom lens cap on a fisheye zoom lens, and you cannot use standard filters, either.

Note that you can get either a perfect or a zoom fisheye lens. The majority of fisheyes are primary lenses, and they typically offer an f/2. 8 maximum aperture and a focal length of 8mm or 15mm. Manufacturers do sell a few move fisheye lenses, which function smaller (f/4) maximum apertures but – thanks to the focus range – deliver greater flexibility.

Whenever should you use a fisheye lens?

Fisheye lens are a great way to capture stunning creative effects. The intense distortion produces eye-catching, actually disorienting, compositions, and you can use fisheye lenses for all sorts of unique shots.

Photographers rely on these types of lenses to produce fresh, original images of dozens of topics, and here are just a few of the several popular choices:

  • Architectural interiors
  • Sweeping landscapes
  • Street scenes
  • City skylines

Remember, nevertheless , that fisheye shots are heavily distorted and therefore impractical – and sometimes shocking – in their rendering of everyday subject matter. Therefore , fisheye lens are not ideal if your goal is to capture precise documentary photos, flattering portraits, meditative still-life shots, or naturalistic landscapes.

So before taking out that fisheye lens, consider:

Do I want a creative, unusual, unnatural picture? Or do I want a lot more conventional, yet also better, rendering of my subject?

The choice will be yours!

five fisheye photography tips for gorgeous results

Now that you’re familiar with the fisheye photography basics, let’s take a closer look at how you are able to create amazing fisheye photos.

1 . Produce distortion on the horizon line

If you’re after creative landscape photos and you do not mind heavily emphasizing the fisheye effect, then start by including a horizon collection in your image…

…and position it in order to create a heavy curve across the image.

The end result is very cool, and it’ll certainly cause the audience to do a double take:

fisheye photography landscape beach

Actually by adjusting the position of your fisheye lens, you can make the particular horizon curve downward (as in the example above) or upward.

To make the horizon line flex downward, simply aim the particular lens toward the ground (i. e., the lens should be below parallel to the ground). Note that a large portion of the photo will certainly feature the foreground, so make sure you consist of plenty of close-up interest!

And to make the horizon line bend upward, goal the camera toward the sky. Try to create this upward effect when the atmosphere features dramatic clouds, such as at sunrise or sun; that way, the heavily featured sky will pull its weight.

2 . Take photos of structures

Yes, it is a simple fisheye photography tip, but it’s important to focus on:

The fisheye lens is an absolute gift for architectural photographers.

The distortion can be used for amazing creative effects , whether you’re shooting outdoors (and capturing beautiful developing facades) or you’re shooting indoors (and capturing museum interiors, images of limited spaces, or even photos of your own living room). I love to use the fisheye distortion to body my subject:

fisheye photography architecture

And you can often even incorporate elements from behind the lens; the focal length really is that wide!

Because fisheye lenses distort architecture so radically, as soon as you find an interesting architectural subject, I recommend a person mount the lens in your camera, then simply spend some time walking around and looking with the viewfinder. Over time, you’ll start to understand the fisheye perspective – and you’ll also have a ton of fun along the way!

3. Use intentional camera movement

Intentional camera movement (ICM) is a creative technique that involves moving the camera during the course of an exposure to create an impressionistic obnubilate:

fisheye photography radial blur

More specifically, you set your camera to Guide mode , dial inside a long shutter speed (often around 1/15s and beyond), then – as you open fire the shutter – proceed the camera from left to right, up and down, in circles, and so on.

Now, intentional camera movement works with all types of lenses, plus there are plenty of non-fisheye photographers who have love the technique.

But if you combine ICM with a fisheye lens, you are able to capture incredibly novel results. For instance, you can create a great radial blur effect; right here, you simply rotate the cameraround an imaginary main point while shooting. Obviously, fisheye distortion actually intensifies the result. (In fact, the radial blur technique will be how I captured the image displayed above! )

And if you’re shooting during the night, you can use a kinetic light painting technique to create photos like this:

fisheye photography kinetic light painting

Just put your digital camera on a tripod, use a long shutter speed, and – after triggering the shutter – rotate the camera in a circle, stopping every so often to create areas of sharpness in your image. For the best results, select a location with plenty of lighting and shoot at night.

4. Don’t forget to try and do fisheye portrait photography

Fisheye photographers often neglect portrait subjects, but in my view, that’s a major mistake.

Sure, fisheye distortion isn’t always the most flattering, but the effects are plenty prominent (and by carefully placement your portrait subject within the frame, you can avoid distorting the model).

For disorienting shots, test getting up close to your model, then ask them to point a finger, a prop, as well as their eye toward the camera.

Additionally, if you want to keep your model looking normal, position them in the heart of the frame, but use the fisheye effect to distort interesting architecture all around the picture edges. Be sure to back up somewhat so that the model is smaller in the frame.

When done properly, this can create an interesting framing effect around the subject:

fisheye photography portrait

5. Utilize a fisheye for a (standard) ultra-wide perspective

Throughout this article, I’ve emphasized the particular creative potential of fisheye lenses.

But did you know that you can actually make use of fisheye lenses…normally? In other words, simply by carefully angling your fisheye lens, the resulting pictures will feature an ultra-wide viewpoint but very little distortion:

fisheye photography city skyline

Of course , this can be done with an ultra-wide lens, but purchasing a second lens could be expensive. Plus, even the largest lenses don’t quite reach fisheye focal lengths.

Here’s how functions:

Aim your own lens at the horizon range. And keep the angle completely flat (so the lens is perfectly parallel to the ground).

You will need to avoid objects within the edge of the frame due to the fact they’ll still distort – though if you do include a few edge objects, you can always proper the distortion in post-processing.

In my opinion, this type of “standard” fisheye photograph is great for locations with a minimalist feel, like coastlines and deserts. That said, you can always use it to capture interesting architecture, skylines, and so much more.

Bonus: Create the fisheye effect with a lensball

Fisheye lenses can be expensive, but if you like the idea of fisheye photography and can not justify the price, you do have another option:

The lensball effect .

Simply purchase a cup ball, then – if you find a nice subject – hold the ball in front of your camera. The lensball will replicate a fisheye lens, and you’ll get a distorted, rounded result:

lensball fisheye effect

Of course , the effect isn’t the identical, and you won’t get an image that’s sharp throughout. But you can have lots of fun experimenting with the lensball effect, and you could certainly capture some spectacular images!

Fisheye photography: final words

Now that you’ve finished this article, you’re ready to do a couple of stunning fisheye photography!

So grab a fisheye lens (or the lensball) and get shooting.

Now over to a person:

So what do you plan to photograph very first with your fisheye lens? Which of these tips will you integrate into your own workflow? Discuss your thoughts in the comments below!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Simon Bond

Simon Bond

is a specialist in creative photography techniques and is well known for his utilize a crystal ball. His function has featured magazines including National Geographic Traveler. With over 8 years of encounter in lensball photography, Claire is an expert in this industry. Get some great tips simply by downloading his free e-book!
Do you want to learn about crystal ball photography? He has a course only for you! Get 20% off: DPS20.

I need help with…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.