5 Fun Ways To Use Fisheye Lenses


Fisheye lenses are ultra wide-angle lenses that produce strong visual distortion. This distortion gives images a characteristic convex non-rectilinear look which can add a dash of playfulness to landscapes and even portraits.

There are two main types of fisheye lenses, circular and full-frame ones. They produce different effects – circular one captures a full 180-degree view in all directions, which results in a circular image with black edges. On the other hand, a full-frame fisheye lens captures a 180-degree field of view along its diagonal and photos taken with it don’t have black edges.

Photo by Bianca Bozzo

No matter which one of these two types you decide to use, you will surely have many opportunities to create fun and unconventional images with your fisheye lens. It’s also good to know that these lenses are relatively cheap and accessible to many photographers, including amateurs.

If you’re unsure about what to shoot with fisheye lenses and how to use them creatively, make sure to check out the following 5 tips!

Create Radial Blur

You have certainly seen some eye-catching images with radial blur if you’re into event photography. While these images look pretty amazing, it isn’t too complicated to shoot them, and fisheye lenses are the perfect tool capturing such images. To get this radial blur effect, you need to slow down your shutter speed to approximately 1/25th of a second (this will depend on the lighting conditions). After this, you should spin the camera 90 degrees counterclockwise.  You should repeat the spinning a few times because not every image is going to look great, but you can surely get a couple of fascinating ones.

Photo by Jan Strecha

Shoot Super Wide Landscapes

Fisheye lenses shouldn’t be reserved only for experiments with visual distortion. Sometimes, you can use them to capture a stunning wide open landscape or urban area. To avoid distortion, you can position your fisheye lens in a way that it resembles a wide angle lens. This can be achieved by putting the horizon in the middle of the frame.

Of course, with certain post-processing tools in Photoshop and Lightroom, the curved lines can be straightened, so that’s another option for correcting fisheye lens distortion.

Photo by Mostafa Meraji

Capture Interesting Ceilings And Skies

Don’t forget to look up when you’re shooting with fisheye lenses! You’ll be able to capture genuinely mesmerising scenes when pointing a fisheye lens upwards or slightly upwards.

If you’re shooting outdoors, pay attention to tall buildings and sky above them – they will look surprisingly different through your fisheye lens. If you’re shooting indoors, remember to take a few shots of the ceiling. You can’t capture much of a ceiling with a normal lens, so you should definitely pay attention to ceilings, especially if you’re shooting inside historical buildings with striking and opulent architecture.

Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet

Compose Unusual Portraits

It’s not easy to shoot beautiful portraits with fisheye lenses – visual distortion can severely alter your model’s facial features, especially if you try to shoot close-ups.  Because of this, remind yourself not to place your subject too close to the edge of the frame and not to shoot extreme close-ups, unless you’re up for some intentional distortion. Of course, such distorted portraits can be still effective if you’re working with clients such as musicians, various creative professionals and athletes.

Fisheye lenses can be the perfect choice for environmental portraits because they allow you to capture the surroundings of your subject in a rather powerful and refreshing way.

Photo by Jan Kopriva

Use Distortion Creatively

If you’re brave enough to break the rules, you can embrace distortion instead of trying to avoid it.

A lot of times, distortion can be quite annoying. However, it doesn’t have to be that way if you know how to use it your advantage. Fisheye lenses can add a certain unexpected flair to the scene. They have the power to transform even the most mundane scene into something quite surreal and puzzling. Try to use the distorted lines and curves as a means of leading the viewer into your image.

Photo by Michael Paredes

If you want to learn more about fisheye lenses, feel free to check out the following links!

Further Resources:

  1. An Awesome Guide To Fisheye Lenses
  2. Four Tips To Help Get You Using A Wide Angle Lens
  3. Actionable Tips And Tricks To Pick The Best Lens
  4. The 7 Best Exotic Lenses Of All Time
  5. Fantastic Fisheye Lens Photography: A Basic Guide
  6. All You Need To Know About Using A Fisheye Lens
  7. The 7 Best Fisheye Lenses

About Author

Jasenka is a photographer with a background in web design. You can find out more about her on her website, see some of her newest images at 500px or get to know her better here.

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