Creative Technique: Free Lensing

Free Lensing is a great tool to capture a very shallow depth of field image. This process helps you create Images that are dreamy and ethereal. This technique may seem risky to some, but you can do it without harming your camera or lens if you practice. 

This technique requires you to expose the image while the lens is off the camera body. Selective Focus is used while you hand-hold the lens and move it to get the focal effect you want.  This will help you to create dreamy, blurry images.

Tips to get started:

  • Set ISO, Shutter Speed, and your White Balance before you start. You want to have your exposure all set.
  • Set your lens to manual focus and place it at infinity
  • It is recommended to start with a 50 MM lens or 35MM to get started if you have one available. A used “nifty-fifty” canon lens is an inexpensive option. The lens maker does to matter since it is not attached to the lens. 
  • If you have a live view on your camera, you can turn that on to see the effects in real-time.
  • Remove the lens from the camera and hold it as close as you can to the camera body. Begin to turn the lens play with the angle, turn to the left, right. This will affect the area of focus.
  • Take the lens further from the camera body to bring in more light and create a nice glow. Slightly let light into one corner to get light leaks.
  • Practice a lot!

The hardest part will be finding your focal point - you will have to look through the viewfinder and tilt and shift the lens around to get the focus you want.

Once you have figured out holding the lens and finding your subject, you can try an additional technique. Flip the lens over while you are handholding it for a macro-closeup view of your subject. This is a fun way to capture maco images without a macro lens. 

Here is a short video to demonstrate while out in the field live shooting. 

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