May 04, 2016

Freelensing

pinterest-branding-horiz-(final)bt

Freelensing is, quite literally, freeing the lens from the camera body. You may wonder – why on earth would anyone want to do that? Couldn’t you drop and break the lens, or allow dust inside your camera body? Possibly, yes. But aside from the cheap thrill of living photographing on the edge, there are many creative reasons for freelensing.

BarbToyama03

BarbToyama04

BarbToyama02

BarbToyama01

BarbToyama05

The effect of freelensing is similar to using a tilt-shift lens or a lensbaby, creating a “sweet spot” of sharp focus, while shifting everything else into creamy softness.

Creatively, I get bored easily, so for me, freelensing is a way of feeling inspired and breathing new life into my photography. Just like you might experience with a new lens, tried subjects and scenes became new again as I started exploring this technique. I found a way to give my images more depth and create photos that convey deeper feeling, two things I always strive for in my photography. It has made me become a better observer, taught me to slow down, shoot with intention, and helps me notice more of the small things and magic surrounding me in everyday life.

BarbToyama06

BarbToyama07

BarbToyama08

BarbToyama09

BarbToyama10

Ready to give it a try? If you are new to freelensing, the easiest way to get started is with a 50mm lens. You don’t have to risk your expensive, high quality glass. A cheap, used, or even partly broken lens will do just fine. Bonus – a plastic lens is lighter and smaller and therefore easier to hold.

Turn your camera to manual, figure out your exposure, then turn the camera off. Make sure your lens is set to manual focus and infinity, detach the lens, and turn your camera back on. Hold the lens right in the mount, and tilt or move it forward slightly as you look through the viewfinder. Less is more – think millimeters, not inches. You’ll see the focal plane shift across your image as you tilt and move the lens.

BarbToyama11

BarbToyama12

BarbToyama13

BarbToyama14

BarbToyama15

Some tips for beginners:

– I recommend starting with a stationary subject or still life for the first few tries
– Take lots of photos – what you see is not always what you get (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing)
– Picking a multidimensional subject or scene will up your chances of achieving a sweet spot

BarbToyama17

BarbToyama18

BarbToyama19

BarbToyama20

BarbToyama21

BarbToyama22

The fun thing about freelensing are the endless possibilities this technique presents. Once you get the hang of the basics, take it a step further:

– Try moving subjects – my wiggly baby is a really fun challenge to freelens
– Turn your lens around and give macro freelensing a try (back of the lens facing your subject)
– Give other lenses a go – you don’t have to be limited to a 50mm. I’ve seen gorgeous shots with an 85mm, and am currently experimenting with my zoom lenses and wide angle prime.
– Experiment with positioning yourself in different ways relative to the light source to allow for light leaks
– Hold your lens further away from the camera body while moving closer to your subject and see what happens
– Create some intentionally out of focus images
– Freelensed video, anyone?

BarbToyama23

In conclusion, the main thing is to have fun. Embrace the unpredictability of it – let go of missed shots and celebrate happy accidents. There is no right or wrong. Follow your intuition and let your heart lead your eye. I can’t wait to see what you create!

 

Thank you, Barb, for the fantastic introduction to freelensing! We can’t wait to put your tips into action.

For more of Barb’s photography, be sure to bookmark her web page, Like Endless Summer Photography on Facebook, and follow her on Instagram.

share this post:

TweetShare on FacebookEmail

About the Contributor: Katie, our Editorial Manager, is our wordsmith and communications extraordinaire!  After college and graduate school, she worked in the nonprofit world, and briefly in politics. She realized she'd be quickly burned out, and started writing for various lifestyle websites. Before landing at NAPCP, Katie shot product photography for Etsy shops and other small business owners. Katie also works with Pinterest, as a member of their Pinfluencer team. She is passionate about making the world a happier, more beautiful place! Katie lives for her husband and two children, updating their totally 90's home, and finding joy in the small things. Even washing dishes.

 

comment on this post

Leave comment

No comments have been added yet

liked this post? img you might also like...
  • Keeping Cozy for Cold-Weather Sessions
    We have seen some crazy weather here in Atlanta, GA this season — we had the first legitimate snowstorm in many years, and the week prior, temps were in the 60s! As a photographer who typically shoots outdoors using natural light, I’ve found that clients are sometimes hesitant to keep their scheduled sessions when the […]
  • An Emotional Documentary Newborn Session & Film
    Inspiration I was inspired in this session by the emotional connection between the mom, dad, and baby. From every angle, there was an emotional connection and strong bond. A sense of pride, excitement, and deep love came pouring from this family. I really did not have to do much directing — these are my favorite […]
  • Golden Hour: A Family Session at the Beach
    The inspiration for this photo session was to capture my two favorite things: children and the beach. And not any beach … Redondo Beach, California. It’s my happy place; to me it’s pure magic, and the sunsets here are stunning! In California, the land of “forever summer”, sunset beach sessions are a daily possibility. My […]
  • A Joyful, Refreshing Family Session
    1. Inspiration My newborn session style is soft and airy, and I would love my outdoor family sessions to match them. I always advise my clients to wear light, monochromatic, neutral colors to coordinate the color palette of the whole family, because they look best in the field. This family looked perfect from head to […]
img find a photographer
in your area
img

We are so delighted that you are here. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP provides the most comprehensive resources for its members, bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.

NAPCP.com (formally pronounced "NAP-C-P") is a place where professional child photographers can come and connect, learn, teach, aspire and grow. It is also a valuable resource for parents who are looking for a professional child photographer in their area, and want to be inspired and educated about our specialized industry.

img award winning photos click here to view


img most recent issue
img vendors we love
napcp supporters








 
img helpful articles napcp resources
  • December Inspired Magazine: Featuring Kristen Montgomery!

    This month’s issue of Inspired features Kristen Montgomery of Kristen Montgomery Photography. Click here to see her beautiful work, learn more about the 2018 Marketing Summit and get a sneak peek at the 2018 NAPCP Image Competitions! Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save

  • November Inspired Magazine: Featuring Hannah Drews Eggert!

    Click here to read our November magazine featuring Hannah Drews Eggert! See Hannah’s beautiful work, learn more about the 2018 Marketing Summit and read about the NAPCP 2017 Photographer of the Year! Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save Save

  • Marketing Summit 2018: You’re Invited!

    You’re invited to register for our January 17-19, 2018 Marketing Summit in Atlanta, today! Registration is LIVE. We’re talkin’ setting and accomplishing goals, the best way to market yourself through blogging and email campaigns, and anything and everything you need to know about growing your social media presence organically (read: in the best possible way). […]

  • October Inspired Magazine: Featuring Second Half 2017 Image Competition Winners!

    Click here to read our October magazine featuring the winners of our Second Half 2017 Image Competition. See their beautiful work and read their inspirational interviews – guaranteed to give you the little “push” you need to get you through to Christmas. Don’t forget, Inspired is now printable! Print your copy straight from MagCloud, and […]

Categories