This week features a different type of dog portraits, soft portraits utilizing a lensbaby. The Lensbaby Velvet 56 is a great manual focus lens that allows you to create 'dreamy' or soft portraits. Using the aperture, you control the amount of dreamy (or to some blurry) effects on your subject - in this case, a cute little dog who offered to pose for me. Using various aperture settings, you can get images that are close to 'normal', but this lens is great at giving you soft focus ones, great blurred backgrounds and what photographers call 'bokeh effect'.
This photograph of Petie shows some softness on his face, yet some sharp areas also. This is achieved by using a 'middle aperture' value such as f/5.6 or f/8.
For a softer photograph, use an extreme shallow depth of field (think f/2.8, f/2 or f/1.6) This lens will allow you to get quite close to your subject focusing down to 5 inches (13 cm) with aperture ranging from f/1.6 to f/16. Here's an example of a wider aperture causing all of the dog's face to be soft. The overall photograph almost appears to have a dreamy glow created by the Velvet 56 lens which is a great portrait lens for pets and people.
In the below photograph, most of the dog's face is in focus leaving the body and background to blur. This effect is using a smaller aperture such as f/16.
It's a matter of what effect you are trying to achieve and the end result you want for your portrait. The Lensbaby Velvet 56 is a nice portrait and macro lens providing some great effects once you master using it. Remember it is a manual focus lens (think before autofocus back to the mid 1980s - Nikon introduced autofocus in about 1986). The lens has an aperture ring that is also changed manually (not using a command dial or some other method to set the aperture).
After reviewing these photographs - do you like the soft focus dreamy effect? Or does it just remind you of a blurry un-focused photo? Please post your comments and let us know!