How to be creative with a fisheye lens?

The use of fisheye lenses has a certain mystique. Those who make them swear to their creative purpose, while others may see fisheye lenses as toy lenses rather than tools for serious photography.

While they can be challenging to master, fisheye lenses can help you express your creativity in a variety of ways, no matter what type of photography you choose. Their unique effects and impressive optics give images a fluid, dynamic, and often abstract quality that makes even the most mundane scenes more fascinating.

How to be creative with a fisheye lens? Fisheye lenses are incredibly versatile, allowing you to view the world around you in many interesting and different ways. So if you’ve been looking for fisheye photography but aren’t sure what this professional lens will add to your images, read on to learn how to make your work more creative with the fisheye.

apexel fisheye lens

1. What is a fisheye lens?

Fisheye lenses are essentially ultra-wide-angle lenses. However, it has more properties than that. This type of lens causes distortion, which when applied correctly to an image can be enhanced. One of the main features of the lens is the curved shape of the optical lens at the front of the lens. This means that you will not be able to use a regular lens cap for this lens. Fisheye lenses can be used as prime or zoom lenses.

Prime lens: Most fisheye lenses are prime lenses. They typically have an aperture of F/2.8 and a focal length of 8 mm or 15 mm, depending on whether you are using a full-frame sensor or crop sensor camera.

Zoom lens: Zoom lens fisheye has a smaller aperture at F/4, but allows you to change the focal length. This gives you more creative options because, at the widest focal length, your photos will be round with a black border.

Focal length: A typical fisheye lens has an ultra-wide-angle focal length of about 24 mm or less. They can be used as prime lenses (with a fixed focal length) or zoom lenses (with a variable focal length range).

Depth of field: Due to the short focal length of fisheye lenses, shooting with a smaller aperture such as F/16 produces a very large depth of field. This is true even if you turn the aperture on, such as F/2.8 or F/4. While you might still get a little fuzzy, you might not achieve the overall bokeh effect.

Thanks to this large depth of field and the ability to reach infinity at close range, the images you take with a fisheye lens look sharp and sharp from the foreground to the background. This is particularly useful for landscape photography but can be problematic when isolating the subject from the background.

Fisheye lens for different scenes

2. How to use a fisheye lens

Photography with a fisheye lens is not as difficult as it seems. Mastering the basics can be a bit of a challenge, but once you’re done, you’ll have a good grasp of fisheye photography. In summary, the key to taking a great fisheye lens image is to know the following about using a fisheye lens:

You’ll see more distortion at the edges;

The distortion increases as you get closer to the subject;

To make the horizon look as flat as possible, place it near the center of the frame;

Tilting the lens up makes the horizon look concave;

Tilting down the lens will make the horizon bulge.

Depending on the minimum focal length of the lens, you can get very close to the subject to get interesting results. You can also turn off the aperture for incredible depth of field, or turn it on for a slightly blurry background. It’s much easier to create dynamic themes around the edges of the frame center, where everything is distorted.

3. Creative use of fisheye lenses.

(1) Distortion on the horizon

One of the obvious creative uses of fisheye lenses is to distort the horizon. You can use the lens to bend the horizon up or down.

To bend the horizon downward, you need to point the camera at the ground. This means that a large portion of the photo will feature the ground, so make sure the foreground contains enough interest to do this.

Then, as you might have guessed:

To bend the horizon upward, you need to point the camera at the sky. If you aim for the sky, try to do this when the sky is full of drama, as it will fill the frame.

autumnal scenery

(2) Use the fisheye lens to obtain the ultra-wide-angle

Fisheye lenses can be used as normal wide-angle lenses, but with a wider range. This is best done by pointing the camera at the horizon and keeping the camera angle flat.

Try to avoid objects on the edge of the frame, as they will still twist and aim inward unless you correct this with post-processing. Locations with a minimalist feel, such as coastlines or deserts, work best for this type of shot.

(3) Take architectural photos

Fisheye lenses are a real gift for architectural photographers. Its trueness is used for creative effects to compose the scene you are photographing. You can usually merge the elements behind it because the focal length is wide. This all means that you’ll be able to emphasize the lines in the composition to create powerful architectural photos.

(4) Use deliberate camera movement

Deliberately moving a camera means moving the camera during an exposure. The exposure length needs to be long enough for the camera movement to be visible in the final image. A 1/15s exposure during the day is fine, and longer exposures can be tried at night using a tripod. Whether you shoot during the day or at night, this results in two very different types of photography.

Radial blur: This effect is hand-held and involves rotating the camera around an imaginary central point. Rotation keeps the camera stable for best results and usually requires exposure of about 1/15 of a second.

Dynamic light painting: This is a nighttime variant of a radial blur, but taken from a tripod. This type of photo is a form of dynamic light painting in which the camera rotates on the head of a tripod.

(5) Interesting portrait photos

Fisheye lenses can also be great for portrait photography. It has a certain versatility, even though it’s a niche wide-angle lens. If you choose to stay close to your models, you can distort their appearance for an interesting effect, but make sure your results match the theme!

One popular method is to make a body part particularly large, such as a person’s eyes or a hand reaching for the camera. Another approach is to emphasize the architecture around the model. In this case, they would be smaller in the frame, perhaps with a tunnel around them.

4. Expand your creativity with fisheye lenses

To get creative with the fisheye lens, take it with you the next time you walk around the city. You can try to capture the entire monument and exterior architecture of the building within a single frame – distortion effects will make them look even more fascinating.

Standing in high places, such as the top of buildings, can create some incredible panoramic effects when photographing the city below. Use any curves you might find, such as railings or design features, as they can add more interest to the frame.

While you’re in the city, try heading to a train station, gallery, library, or museum, where you might find some impressive interior buildings or historic murals on the ceiling. Fisheye lenses allow you to capture an entire scene and take some compelling photos.

Lower your body so you can tilt your camera up and turn the vastness of the interior space into a single shot. Or, if you can head to a higher floor, you can shoot down the spiral staircase or some of the other features below to create thought-provoking images with dazzling depth.

Fisheye lens for different scenes

Your creativity with fisheye lenses doesn’t end with urban landscapes. Take a fisheye lens with you on your next trip. Whether your goal is to capture panoramas, galaxies, night scenes, or just to exaggerate the curvature of the earth, you’ll be able to see the world in interesting and surprising ways.

The fisheye lens can even be used to point at yourself for selfies. The ultra-wide-angle nature of the fisheye lens means you’ll be able to capture the vast landscape behind you. Also, the distortion effect around the center of the frame can produce some interesting images during close encounters with friends during holiday pranks.

Speaking of which, did you know that fisheye lenses are great for portrait photography? By taking full advantage of extreme distortion, you can truly represent the personality of a person or animal. While these images aren’t the most flattering, you can use the fish-eye effect to highlight certain features of your subject’s face, such as a person’s big eyes or a horse’s long nose, especially if they happen to be pulling a funny expression! Try shooting at the sun at the same time to create some color lens flare or reflection.

Last but not least, fisheye lenses are great for extreme sports. If you like adrenaline-pumping sports, take a fisheye lens with you when you go skateboarding, BMX riding, snowboarding, or even surfing. You’ll find that distortion effects can help you create some truly dynamic images that convey real excitement.

If you have a waterproof camera case, then go into a bucket with the surfer and use the curvature of the waves to compose the picture. The possibilities are endless. Where there is a will, there is a way. Using fisheye lenses is a great way to get creative with your photography, so get out there and practice!


When should a fisheye lens be used?

A fisheye lens is designed for shooting very wide angles, usually 180 degrees. They are popular in the landscape, extreme sport, and artistic photography. A fisheye lens, also known as an “ultra-wide” or “super-wide” lens, is a type of wide-angle lens that can capture an extremely wide image, typically around 180 degrees.

How do you use fisheye lenses on your iPhone?

Using fisheye to take photos is very simple and almost exactly like using your iPhone’s native camera app. Launch fisheye by tapping the app’s icon, select your lens and film stock by touching the little “wrench” symbol, frame your shot, and tap the large circular “shutter” button.

What is a fisheye lens good for?

A fisheye lens is a camera component used for shooting extremely wide angles, typically 180 degrees. Also referred to as a “super-wide” or “ultra-wide” lens, it produces an image that appears distorted, giving it a more abstract yet dynamic aesthetic.

Are fisheye lenses worth it?

A fisheye can also be super useful in getting shots that would normally require lots of trouble and are sometimes nearly impossible to make with a normal extreme wide-angle lens. Think of crazy vertigos from rooftops or images in which distorted lines give meaning to an image.

Why is it called a fisheye lens?

The name ‘fisheye lens’ comes from the wide angle of view these lenses produce and is similar to the perspective of a fish’s eye. Fisheye lenses were originally developed for use in astronomy due to their ability to record the whole of the sky but are now used for many purposes.

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