June 18, 2020

Shooting Through With The OMNI

By: April Milani

This month is all about seeing life in a new way. A few of us here at Gather Academy joined together to show you how we used our OMNI filters and shot through them, just for a little fun. This blog post is packed full of our tips and tricks. Let’s get started!”

First off, sit back and get fully inspired with this slideshow created by Kathleen Clemons.


The Lensbaby Omni Color Expansion Pack Magic!

The Lensbaby Omni filter system, for shooting through, is a fun tool set for making photos in a new and creative way. When Lensbaby announced a new pack for the Omni system, the “Omni Color Expansion Pack”, and I have been lucky enough to be shooting with it for the last month. This pack contains a set of reflective colored film strips that allow you to add color and light to your subjects, some strips are textured and some are plain. I have been having a blast shooting with these and have definitely found the magic of Lensbaby once again! I spent some time shooting in my gardens, but the real magic happened for me when I shot raindrops on some leaves after a heavy rain, when I saw this image through my viewfinder I could barely breathe!

Here is a shot of my set up with the Omni color film on my Velvet 85. You can see why the image on the back of my camera showed me the magic of using these:

I can change the color or temperature of the light across the entire frame, or add color to a particular area of my composition. Adding color allows me to lessen possible distractions, to simplify or add interest to my subjects.

Omni Bonding

The Omni System, an incredibly creative way to shoot through objects placed in front of your lens. Now, instead of holding the object yourself, you can easily move, change angles, combine and switch objects out quickly and easily with any lens. Check out the above link for more info and details on what is included with this system.

Whenever I am testing a new product, it takes me a little time to figure out what it can bring to the kind of work I do. Though I have been amazed by the portraits taken using the Omni system, I needed to see if I could utilise it with the close up nature photography that I love. I am happy to tell you that I am having a ball with it, bending light and selectively blurring areas of the frame has been lots of fun!

I first tried the Omni system with my 180mm and 24-70mm lenses and made some fun images:










I was especially excited when Lensbaby recently sent me a step up ring so that I could try the system with my Velvet 85, and I spent yesterday morning experimenting with that combination and can tell you that I definitely bonded with it. Painting with light is a blast! I used several different wands, but my favorite images were with the Stretch Glass and Triangular Prism Effect Wands used together. 


I kept the Velvet 85 on f/2.8 for all of these photos.

It’s always good to push yourself to try something new, the Omni system helped me to create some very unique images and definitely earned a place in my camera bag.

Happy Shooting,

Now here’s how Laurence Boswell  shot through his OMNI to create this amazing self-portrait.

Here is the image straight out of the camera- SOOC

For this image, I used a ring light to cast some light onto my face and as a result, cast a shadow onto my backdrop. I had a simple pink paper backdrop that I sat in front of. My camera was set up on a tripod with the following shoot through glass attached. See image for an example: 

Luckily, the glass I was shooting through just happened to be positioned just right in front of my lens to make my face blur when the image was taken. I imported my image into Photoshop, got a little creative with the colors, and finished with some dodging and burning. In all honesty, this image was just a tester shot, but it happened to work out in the end. Hence, moral of the story: When using an OMNI lens or shooting through any type of object, don’t be afraid to test things out! Get creative, take lots of photos, and see what you can come up with! 

I know you so inspired to get up and start creating, hold tight! We have more to share with you.

Next up is Natalie Finney

Grateful for the extra push to go out and create, there was no hesitation from me when this month’s theme was announced, ‘Shooting Through the Known to see the Unknown’! Whether I am shooting through generic objects around the house or specifically designed tools built for this very purpose, shooting through objects adds a whole new level of depth and interest to my images and I adore the added layer of creativity it brings. I made these particular photographs by our living room window with a combination of my Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filters, a crystal and a Gum Leaf branch!


For my first image, I used on the Stretch Glass and Rainbow film from the Omni system plus a freeholding crystal to shoot through. I placed the omni filter wands onto the filter ring at the front of my camera lens and then hand held the crystal at the bottom left of the frame. By twisting and angling the filters and crystals I was able to frame my daughter in a wash of magical, dreamy rainbow colour.



For my second image, I used the Crystal Seahorse wand from lensbaby which, when angled correctly creates a subtle reflection in camera. To finish off the image, I placed a gum leaf sprig to add more depth and interest and to pair against her green dress. The gum leaf was placed relatively close to the lens adding to a greater depth of field.


Helen Whittle had some summer fun with her OMNI

Placing the filter system on my lens, I ask my son to pose for me. It was on a warm day and he was already wearing his sunglasses. For this particular effect, I used the stretch glass add-on and kept twisting it until I acheived the results I was looking for. You never quite know what you’ll get when you start out using this amazing filter system. Thats the beauty of it. Its fun to experiment and its fun to create interesting and original images!

A few moments later, he was running through a srinkler. The water droplets made for a beautiful contrast to the blur of the stretch glass effect.

This image was taken with my 24-70mm lens and the stretch glass Omni wand perpendicular to the lens.

So much fun to be had with this!! 

From her home studio to Washington DC April Milani says the OMNI will not disappoint!


With the OMNI you can let your imagination run wild with no limits. For example, I took two images with my stretched glass and seahorse wands then merged them together in Photoshop. Take a look at the before and after.

Now that we have shared with you some of our creations we would love to see yours!!


We are so excited to share this amazing giveaway with you!! Gather Academy has teamed up with Lensbaby this month and we are giving away a free Omni Creative Filter System.
🧡 All you have to do is:
1) Like our IG page/Facebook page
2) Tag a friend in comments on the Gather Instagram or Facebook page.
3) Use the hashtag
#ga_lensbaby2020 on your images, this doesn’t have to be with a Lensbaby lens, it can be anything you have that is super creative. Tell us how you took it.
🧡 We will share your images throughout the month. On 15th July 2020 we will announce our favourite image and that person will win their very own Omni kit.
Ready. Set. Go!! 
Want to learn more about Lensbaby and their OMNI Kits? Follow this link: https://lensbaby.com/products/omni-creative-filter-system


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