My boyfriend Scott (@xtharnx) and I are based in Phoenix, Arizona and enjoy experimenting with the Lomography Petzval Lens for its fabulous bokeh effects and dreamy, swirly portraits. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your Petzval Lens.
The Lomography Petzval Lens is a great way to add versatility to your kit and unique effects to your images to make your subjects truly standout.
The versatility of this lens comes from its ability to tone down or really show off the swirly backgrounds or beautiful bokeh, depending on your needs. The following shots were all taken with the Petzval in a group studio setting with indoor lighting set at f4. Notice how there is neither bokeh nor background swirls, but the subjects still come out looking great.
To achieve out-of-this-world bokeh, shoot at wider apertures such as f2.2 or f2.8, and put your subject at the center of lens where it will be in focus the most. This way, the bokeh surrounds your subject. It is best to have a textured background if shooting without the special shape aperture plates to achieve the swirly effect that the Petzval is so notorious for..
When using the special shape aperture plates, remember that whatever is on the background of the subject will be where the bokeh is going to be on your image. To help visualize your bokeh, you will be able to see the shapes in your viewfinder to get an idea of what it would look like in the final image.
Have fun experimenting with your Petzval lens, and if you haven’t picked one up yet, visit the Lomography Shop and order one today so you can create beautiful bokeh portraits, too!
The photos in this article were shot using the Brass Petzval Canon Mount Lens on a Canon 1N and a Canon 6D.