Freelensing Photography: The Ultimate Guide (+ 5 Tips)

Freelensing Photography: The Ultimate Guide (+ five Tips)

your guide to freelensing (capture creative photos!)

What is freelensing photography, and exactly how can you use it to capture gorgeous images?

Freelensing is a powerful creative technique ; it can add diversity to some portfolio, and when used carefully, it generates some truly stunning effects.

I’ve been carrying out freelensing for years , and in this post, I share everything I have learned – from the overall basics to advanced tips and advice. I also include plenty of freelensing example photos along the way, and that means you know exactly what the technique can produce!

Prepared to become a freelensing photography learn? Let’s do this!

What is freelensing photography?

Freelensing is an innovative technique that involves detaching the lens from the camera body and focusing by moving and tilting the lens in different directions .

camera freelensing detach lens
Example freelensing technique with a 50mm lens. The particular lens is pulled (slightly) away from the camera body.

What does this do for your photos? When you manually tilt and move the zoom lens, the plane of focus tilts with it; therefore , the area of focus is no longer parallel towards the sensor.

In other words, you get both close to and far objects selectively in focus. Take a look at the particular photo displayed below; would you see how leaves in the downroad and some leaves in the background (look in the base right corner) are in focus, while the rest of the scene is usually blurred? That’s thanks to the power of freelensing.

freelensing macro bokeh autumn leaves

When should you use freelensing?

Freelensing is a fantastic creative technique, and am recommend you try it out if you get the chance, regardless of your own subject. Who knows what images you might produce?

That said, certain subjects do lend themselves to freelensing. For instance, macro scenes – flowers and leaves, especially – look amazing within freelensed shots; the picky focus creates a stunning bokeh background , and the subject colors actually pop.

freelensing macro photography bokeh

And people are also excellent freelensing subjects. You can selectively focus on a subject’s head, for instance, while letting their body blur into oblivion. You can also focus on an outstretched hands, or an eye, or even a strand of hair. Freelensing allows you to highlight certain features while blurring others, so utilize it to your advantage!

An additional suggestion:

Try out freelensing when shooting scenery. Play with the selective focus, let the foreground or the background blur, and just see that which you get. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – but it’s always fun!

How to do freelensing: the step-by-step process

Freelensing is pretty simple to pull off, and it doesn’t require a lot gear, either. Here’s just how it works:

The first step : Gather the right equipment

I’ve found that freelensing works best with lens in the 50mm range . Longer lens make focusing unnecessarily challenging, and shorter lenses provide less obvious freelensing results. (That said, you can always try working with a 35mm or an 85mm lens and see what you get; this is innovative photography, and it’s about experimentation! )

Note: Because freelensing requires holding the lens unattached from the camera, there is always the risk that you might drop something. Therefore , I like to use lenses that are for the cheaper side; a Canon 50mm f/1. 8 is my go-to glass.

The camera design isn’t important – so long as it takes interchangeable lenses – but I tend to use my backup body. Detaching the lens from the camera really does increase the risk of dirt and other debris getting within and onto the messfühler, so I prefer not to work with my higher-end equipment. I’d also encourage you to use a DSLR, not a mirrorless camera ; the DSLR mirror can protect the sensor externally elements.

freelensing flowers macro photography

Step 2: Prepare the lens and camera

Begin by putting your zoom lens on the camera as you usually would. Turn on the digital camera and set it to Manual mode , then choose whatever aperture you like. (When the lens is taken off the camera, the aperture setting can automatically reset. ) Concentrate the lens on a remote object.

Note: With some camera makes and models, if you hold down the depth of field preview button while removing the lens, the particular aperture will lock on your own desired setting. Test and find out if your camera has this particular capability.

Be sure that your camera is not set to Live View. Then turn off the camera. Detach the particular lens, and carefully keep it in front of the camera body, just before the mirror/sensor. Switch the camera back upon.

Step 3: Proceed the lens and consider some photos

At this point, the fun starts! There are a few things to consider:

First, the farther a person move the lens far from your camera, the greater the particular magnification.

2nd, tilting the lens remaining, right, up, and straight down adjusts the parts of the particular scene that are in and out associated with focus. It takes experimentation to get the hang of this, so do not be afraid to take quite a few pictures when first starting out.

Third, any gaps between the lens and the digital camera allow for light leaks. This could result in very interesting effects (but be careful not to overdo this! ). To minimize light leaks, cup your hand tightly around the lens.

Therefore find a subject, take some images, and see what you believe. If you don’t get great results at first, that’s okay. Mastery comes with practice!

freelensing nature macro photography

Pro tip: Whenever freelensing, your camera’s metering system is essentially useless. I actually often take a few fresh shots, incrementally increasing the shutter rate (and checking the image on the LCD), till I reach an exposure I like.

5 tips for freelensing photography

Now you’re acquainted with the basic freelensing process – but how can you take your images to the next level? Here are a few suggestions:

1 . Make use of freelensing to create spectacular backgrounds

One of my personal favorite things about freelensing is that it may generate stunning backdrops. The particular shifted plane of concentrate causes greater subject/background splitting up, and the bokeh effect is often impressive.

Consider shooting into the light (with the subject backlit):

freelensing macro photography bokeh backlit
The setting sun (just to the right of the flower) provided some great opportunities for freelensing!

You can also work with a shaded issue, especially if the background is lighted by direct sunlight:

freelensing poppy flower macro photography

2 . Find a stage of focus

Freelensing can be an exhilarating encounter; often , subjects that you’ve shot a hundred times may seem brand new. But do not get so caught up within the uniqueness of freelensing which you forget to create strong compositions!

My help and advice? Find a focal point. This might become a flower, a rock, several leaves, or a person’s eyes. Use this point of focus to anchor your shot. Carefully tilt your zoom lens so the point of focus is tack sharp. (It’s okay to let the rest of the scene turn blurry! ).

freelensing daisy macro photography

a few. Use freelensing to isolate a subject from clutter

Adding to the previous suggestion:

One of the advantages of freelensing is that you can create order in an apparently cluttered picture. Simply tilt your lens, and a sliver of the picture will turn sharp, as the rest blurs away.

So seek out the type of images that would have previously felt chaotic. Find a primary subject (see above! ), then tilt the zoom lens so that it – and nothing else – is rendered within focus.

For example, this leaf scene appeared far too busy until some freelensing helped blur away the messy background:

autumn leaves freelensed macro

4. Make use of light leaks for creative effects

When used right, light leakages can be so beautiful. Here is an example of a heavily light-leaked image:

freelensing daisy macro photography
The effect right here was created entirely through lighting leaks (and freelensing).

Remember, the more you pull the lens away from the digital camera, the more the light leaks will be in your photos. You can modify the light leak position simply by shifting the lens-camera spaces or by covering upward select gaps with your fingers.

And if you need really strong light leaks, try shooting some backlit subjects!

5. Use freelensing for macro-level magnification

When i mentioned above, the more you draw the lens away from the particular camera, the greater the image magnifying.

Even though it’s a bit unorthodox, you can use this to get close-ups of macro subjects.

Now, there is a stipulation: The more you pull out the lens, the softer your pictures will appear. But I actually like this effect; it gives freelensed close-ups a very ethereal look:

freelensing sunflower macro photography

Freelensing picture taking: final words

Freelensing is fun, it’s creative, and it can be an fantastic addition to your toolkit. By detaching the lens from you body, you can create exclusive backgrounds and artistic lighting leaks while emphasizing the primary subject.

Therefore grab an old camera and a 50mm lens. And have some creative fun!

Now over to you:

What freelensing do you plan to do? Exactly what subjects will you photograph? Talk about your thoughts in the comments beneath!

freelensing coneflower macro photography





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