Pet Photography - Using Lensbaby Sweet 50 for dog portraits

January 15, 2021  •  5 Comments

This week our pet photography theme is "center" and as I thought about this - I thought, what better time to give the Lensbaby Sweet 50 a try with Abby, one of our rescue dogs.  The Sweet 50 optic is used with the Lensbaby Composer which is a manual focus lens - making this a much more challenging process - to highlight Abby in the center of a sharp sweet spot of focus that is surrounded by dreamy blur.  As we have very gloomy weather outside today, I decided to use this with the optic wide open on the aperture giving a lot of dreamy blur around a small center of focus.  

Background Image - Lensbaby Sweet 50

First, here's an overall image that has the sharper areas focus in the center of this photograph of the ferns at our local park.  This is where I requested Abby sit down and thankfully she agreed.

Abby's portrait using Lensbaby Sweet 50

All images were taken with a Nikon D750 full frame camera and the lensbaby composer with the sweet 50 optic.

This particular portrait has the focus on Abby's right eye (furthest from the camera) which probably is not the best option.  Focusing on the eye closest to the camera is the preferred option but hey, getting used to a new lens, manual focus, and a moving subject.

This portrait has the focus on the eye closest to the camera which is a better sweet spot.  I've noticed that Abby has taken to "not looking at the camera" which she did very well when she was a few years younger.  I also noticed that 2020 was the year that Abby decided to 'go gray' - she will be 5 in February - but apparently is going gray already!

This one is probably my favorite pose from this photo shoot but  the sweet spot appears to be more towards the eye furthest from the camera.  

This portrait of Abby has good focus on her eye closest to the camera creating a sweet spot on this side of her face.  The center of the focused spot is her eye.

Lensbaby Lineup

The lensbaby lineup of various lenses and optics are interesting tools to work with.  A throw back to the time where focus is manual - many may not have ever used manual focus but there was a time that cameras didn't auto focus (for those of you that are younger and don't know that world).

Oh, for all of these photographs I tried to use 'no tilt' of the Lensbaby composer because it often makes it harder to focus.  However, it can be a really nice feature when you want to change where the center of focus for the sweet spot is located.  Also, if you're curious - the Sweet 50 is a 50mm lens.  They also have a Sweet 35 (a 35mm lens) and a Sweet 80 (an 80mm lens).  These are the focal lengths for a full frame camera.  You can also control the 'sweet spot' size by using different apertures - all of those above were shot wide open, but if you use a smaller aperture, the sweet spot will be larger.

That's it for this week's pet photography blog.  For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to visit Kylee Doyle Photography, serving pet parents in the greater Sacramento area.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to [email protected] or give us a call/text Linda at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).



Abby is a beautiful model! Love new lenses - so much fun!
Danyel Rogers(non-registered)
Abby is adorable. Such a beauty. Lens Baby seems like a great way to do some artistic images. Nicely done.
Nicole Hrustyk(non-registered)
This looks like a fun lens!
Angela Schneider(non-registered)
This is kinda cool. Have you used the Sweet 50 for any client sessions yet and, if yes, how did they respond? It doesn't matter. I'll probably buy one to play with anyway. You've sucked me in.
Kim Hollis(non-registered)
Abby is adorable and hats off to you to use this manual focusing lens on dogs. That has to be hard!
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