I was so excited when I was recently sent two Lensbaby OMNI Filter kits — the Creative Filter System and the Crystal Expansion Pack. Both have become an absolute must-have for me!

What are OMNI Filters?

What are OMNI Filters you ask? They are incredible shoot-through crystals that are specifically engineered by Lensbaby to create awesome in-camera effects like flares, rainbows and bokeh. They have been designed to work with your existing lenses by attaching to your lens.

How does that happen? Well, they have a filter ring that screws directly onto your existing lens. You can also use one of their step up/down rings to fit your lens’ filter thread size if needed. Then you attach one or more Effect Wands to the magnetic mount, with or without an arm.

I think the magnetic arms are what make the OMNI system so incredible. They come in two sizes, short or long. They are mini magnetic rods, if you will, that allow you to be completely hands-free when using the filters. They attach right to the Magnetic Mounts and are easy to adjust by just sliding around a metal track on the filter ring. Move, twist and rotate the Effect Wand to change the way the light affects your image.

With all of this, OMNI offers control and repeatability without having to change your gear.

How I tested them

I had never used the OMNI Filter system before and since I shoot 90% of my work in the studio, I decided I was going to do a mock shoot using my mannequin head to see what kind of effects each filter gave.

I had a giant 6-by-6 foot softbox behind the mannequin head with just the modeling light on and my Godox AD600Pro Witstro All-In-One Outdoor Flash. That had a beauty dish on, at 1/16th of its power in the front of my mannequin as my main light. I had my settings the same as I would if I were shooting a real model — f/8.0, 1/125s and ISO 400.

I immediately noticed that each filter could create multiple effects with just a small tweak to its placement. I not only attached each filter to arms but I tried hand-holding them as well to see what kind of effects they would create at different distances from my lens. I was loving everything that was happening so much that I set up a real shoot and created magic!

Photoshoot time

I did the exact same set up as I did with the mannequin, except this time my backlight was set to flash so that I could get that really blown out high key, white background look.

It was definitely still a learning process. Some images were a total bust and then some were pure magic, like the image below! I honestly have no idea how it happened. I just kept trying different things.

I realized halfway through the photoshoot that since I was filling the frame completely with my models face, at times I was only getting the filter effect on half of my model. I decided to try Lindsey Adler’s trick by using a triangular mirror around my lens and OMNI Filters to sort of multiply the effect in-camera. It worked and turned out AMAZING!

Heres the thing — I couldn’t get the look again. I tried and got close but after I had taken the photo I got so excited that I couldn’t remember what I did or how I did it. But mark my words — it will be done again!

Conclusion

If you want to push yourself technologically and creatively all at the same time you need OMNI Filters in your life! It will open up a whole new world of possibilities and allow you to really step outside of the box of photography. You can purchase the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System for $99.95. For more fun, the OMNI Crystal Expansion Pack is available for $49.95.