Freelens - What is it and how do you do it?

Updated: Aug 10

Quite a few people have asked me what freelensing is. To tell you the truth, I only started practicing this technique last year and I am far from an expert but I love the challenge and the freedom it provides. 

Freelensing has allowed me to let loose and the freedom to be more creative. It also allows you to slow down and really see. You can have some areas of your image in focus or nothing at all. It is all up to you and your vision.

It takes patience and lots of practice but the effects you create can be quite beautiful. I have only done nature photos using this technique but you can certainly take photos of people or still life. 

Freelensing means you take a photo with your lens detached from the camera. I use a Nikon 50mm lens but it can be done with an 85mm lens as well. Any brand works since, well, the lens is not attached to the camera body.

When you freelens, you allow light to get through your sensor which can create dream-like photos with beautiful streaks of light through it.

Steps and process:

All you need is your camera body, a rubber band or perhaps a tiny piece of plastic and your 50 or 85mm lens.

1. Set your camera and lens to manual mode 2. Start by attaching the lens to the body of the camera, set the exposure, ISO, and WB of what you are trying to shoot  3. Turn off the camera and detach the lens 4. Set your lens to infinity  5. Use a rubber band or a small piece of paper or plastic to hold the aperture ring open. I use a rubber band and it takes some getting used to. It is easier if you use a tripod as that minimizes all the things you are holding and dropping your camera. If you opt-out or are unable to use a tripod, make sure you put the camera around your neck

You can either set your camera on live-view or see through the viewfinder. I like the second one better but it is easier to use live-view.

OK! you are ready to go.

Move your lens around, tilting it sideways or moving it further away from the camera until what you are trying to photograph is in focus and clear. Again, let your creativity go wild. Nothing needs to be in focus. Play around and see what you like and capture. The further you move your lens from the body of the camera, the more light filters through. Be sure not to overexpose, you will end up with a white image. 

A few things you need to be careful of. Make sure it is not windy. Why? There is a bigger chance of getting dust and particles into your camera's sensor. This process can be risky for that reason. Just be careful.

Also, don't drop your lens!

If you are feeling stuck or in a creative rut, or like the rest of us, unable to go out because of the pandemic isolation. This is a great technique to try. It will get your creative juices flowing and hopefully, you will get out of that funk.

Remember, have fun with it!

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 Martha Montiel Photography   |



Copyright © 2019

All images are owned and copyrighted by Martha Montiel Photography