personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge

Personal Photography Project of Caroline Jensen

30 day lensbaby challenge

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?

I had wanted to play with the Lensbaby products for a very long time, many years in fact. When I got the green light to buy a large kit, I just jumped on it. I had a pretty good idea that there would be a learning curve, so I set out to give myself a thirty day challenge. It actually ended up being much longer than that.

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?

The biggest obstacle was the learning curve of the lenses. I am pretty sure I did everything wrong at first…as in everything was a blurry mess and unusable. I quickly learned a few tricks by accident that made things easier. By the second week I had created a method for the madness and was quite happy with the images I was producing. All of the lenses are manual focus, which created quite a challenge too.

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

What have you learned through your process with your personal project?

I have learned that I do better with loose guidelines and open-ended challenges. I didn’t put any restrictions on what I shot, but only defined the lenses I would use for the challenge. Really, I just carried my camera everywhere with a Lensbaby attached and shot anything that intrigued me. I also learned a great deal about manually focusing lenses. This alone proved really valuable and had a profound impact on my work.  I was afraid of it at first, but the Lensbaby lenses taught me to let go of my camera doing all the work.  The entire frame became open to me when I stopped worrying about focus points. It was really liberating.

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?

It was during this project that I really found myself photographically. Many call it “finding their style”, but it was really me finding myself. I love creating without restrictions and the process of letting go of focus points and embracing the blur of the lenses proved to be just what I needed to feel comfortable in my own skin.  I found that the images often had a painterly feel to them which resonated with my love of classical painters. It was as if huge blinders fell off my eyes and I could just be me for the first time. My work became very personal and I let go of trying to be like other photographers.

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photoCaroline Jensen, Minnesota
CM Mentor | CMU Instructor
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Caroline Jensen, a Sony Associate Artisan of Imagery, is a photographic artist living on the prairie. Her favorite things include cozy nights in front of her natural wood fireplace, an expansive tea collection, and read alouds with her children. Photography is her expressive outlet and features emotive black and white portraiture, unique macro work, and colorful landscapes. Her gear includes her Sony a7s, vintage lenses, and her favorite Lensbaby lenses that express her photographic voice perfectly. She has been featured in the magazines: Dreamer Journal, Sony Alpha Universe, and numerous times in Click magazine, including freelance work for Adobe. Her work has been featured in a long running gallery show at Shop 88 Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ as well as on the packaging of the Lensbaby Sweet 50 lens. She teaches three popular workshops where she encourages creativity through both traditional and mobile photography: Shooting 301: The Art of Observation, Processing 202: Communicating with Color and Light, and Shooting 107: The Art of Mobile Photography.

Read all photography tutorials by Caroline Jensen.

personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge photo

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18 Responses to “personal photo project: 30 day lensbaby challenge”

  1. Jul 10 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    I’d love to give one a try but I’m a little scared! I can see me getting uber frustrated at first, but I do love some of the dreamy images they can produce… :)

  2. Chimene
    Jul 10 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    These are absolutely beautiful! Just stunning.

  3. Jul 10 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    ♥♥ beautiful, Caroline! some day i’ll get a lensbaby to play with.

  4. Jul 10 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Amazing, Caroline. You truly do create works of art.

  5. Jul 10 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Gorgeous, inspiring work, Caroline! Can’t wait for the breakout <3

  6. Jul 10 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    I love these. I just ordered my first Lensbaby and I’m nervous, but excited for something new. Looking forward to the breakout!

  7. Jul 10 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    these are beautiful, caroline! i might have to incorporate this into my 365…i love the feeling of not being restricted as well…opens up lots of options…plus, i just took a FANTASTIC workshop to help me see the world in a new way- endless opportunities! heehee!

  8. Jul 10 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    These are absolutely stunning Caroline. You know how much I love and admire your lensbaby work and where you are going with your fine art photography. Just gorgeous.

  9. Jul 10 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Working with the lensbaby has been so liberating for me too, I can totally relate to what you are saying. <3 I can't get enough of your beautiful work!

  10. Jul 10 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    I loved reading about your project Caroline. I admire your commitment to your craft!

  11. Jul 10 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    So, so beautiful and inspiring, Caroline! I’m still getting the hang of my Lensbaby … frustrating at times, but love the different looks it gives and how it forces me to slow down.

  12. Jul 10 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    You and your work are so beautiful and inspiring. I just put my lensbaby on my camera and will keep it there for 30+ days. Looking so forward to your breakout. <3

  13. Jul 10 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Gorgeous Caroline. You are such a great artist <3

  14. Jul 10 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    I think you see in Lensbaby, I really do. I agree with Willie — you are such a great artist. <3

  15. Jul 12 2013 at 1:25 am #

    These are beautfiul, Caroline! As always! It’s encouraging to hear you write about finding yourself through this challenge. Two years ago, I bought a TS 45 and took only this lens with me on a trip to Hungary, visiting my family. I told myself I would figure out how to use it and fell in love via the challenge. I have no idea how it compares to a lensbaby, but they share similar qualities. It, also, can only be manually focused, and now I find myself always manually focusing, no matter what! I need to start using that lens again and go back to the style where I felt most exhilarated. Thank you for sharing your story!

  16. Jul 12 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    these images are stunning! just incredible!

  17. Lisa Harrison
    Jul 13 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Amazing work, Caroline. I can’t wait for the breakout. I had no idea you were doing a “project”. I knew I was seeing a lot of lensbaby work though, which has inspired me to use my lensbaby. You’re crazy talented.

  18. Kristen Ryan
    Jul 14 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    Love your project and your images, Caroline! So inspiring!

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