Photography Technique | Free Lensing

By July 9, 2012 personal

I recently picked up a photography technique called “free lensing”. Basically, it involves detaching the lens from your SLR camera and shooting through it while holding it up to your camera.There are two main things you can achieve with free lensing. One is to keep the lens positioned the same way as if it were attached, but tilt it slightly to create a tilt-shift effect. So far I haven’t had much success with this method but I’m going to keep trying and will report back if I ever get it down.

The other technique is to reverse your lens so that the front is facing the camera and shoot through the lens backwards. This creates a macro effect. It take a lot of practice to get right if you aren’t used to shooting manual but I’ve had a lot of success with this technique.

Since the lens is detached, your camera will not be able to correctly predict what sort of conditions you’re shooting in, so you won’t be able to use the auto or even the aperture mode on your camera – you have to shoot in manual mode. If you aren’t confident in your ability to shoot manual, one trick is to shoot a picture however you normally do with the lens attached and then set your camera to those settings manually when you switch to free lensing.

Here are a few pictures of my rings using this method (the first photo was shot normally for comparison):

Free Lensing RingFree Lensing RingFree Lensing RingFree Lensing Ring

I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with this method! If you decide to try it out, just make sure you’re careful not to hit any parts of your camera or lens together on accident and don’t try this if you’re somewhere prone to dust or dirt.

1 Comment

  • Reply miss alix July 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    i’ve tried free lensing before, but never knew about flipping the lens around for macro. very cool. i was able to take some tilt/shift style photos and they came out very strange, but in a good way.

Leave a Reply