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Updated: Nov 9, 2021

I tried something new a while back.

When traveling the exciting Instagram world, I came across the term "freelensing". The photography challenge of the week was motion and I was all for trying something excitingly new.

This was my first attempt.

By no means perfect or even the best example of freelensing. But I will definitely be trying this out a bit more. It's fun!

What is freelensing?

Freelensing is exposing an image when the lens is not attached to the camera body. You hold the lens in your hand and tilt it this way and that. The effect will be a kind of tunnelvision. It is similar to what a tilt-shift lens produces, but then without the cost.

The blur is because your plane of focus is no longer parallel to your camera sensor. With an attached lens you can only blur the foreground and the background. With the freelensing technique you can blur whatever you want by just tilting your lens. It sounds simple, and it really is, you just need a little practice to pinpoint the sharp area in your frame. Keep your lens close to your camera body and tilt away. If you can't find a sharp area, that means your lens is too far away from the mount.

So how to determine your camera settings?

It's always best to shoot manual because, well, your lens is no longer attached to the camera body and therefor the automatic setting is no longer functional.

Choose your settings before you take the lens off. You could do this in Aperture Priority and then recreate the same in manual mode.

After you have taken off the lens, open it to infinity. Then turn your camera to Live View Mode so you can see the effects in real time and easily check your focus. Now start tilting the lens. Turning the lens to the right will keep the right half in focus and vice versa for left. Experiment with different angles and see where the focus lands.

Keeping the lens too far away will let a lot of light in the sensor and blow out the frame. The right distance will create a soft haze like you see in the image above. Just keep experimenting until you have the haze you like.

BUT! Be careful of where you use this technique! You don't want dust in your gear 😱


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