Hey, and welcome to my Freelensing tutorial!
First off – what is Freelensing? Often referred to as the, “poor man’s Tilt-Shift”, it’s basically a cheap way to imitate the effects of a Tilt-Shift lens or a Lens Baby. It creates an unusual plane of focus, which makes for a really cool/blurry picture. All you have to do is detach your lens (preferably a 50mm, but I’ve used my 35mm on occasion) from your camera body and hold it close to the exposed sensor. Play around with the blurry effect by slowly moving it around while looking at your LCD screen or through the viewfinder. I almost always use my LCD screen because I can get a much better idea of how the picture’s going to turn out that way.
**Disclaimer: Removing your lens from your camera body while the camera is turned on allows dust and moisture to enter in, which is dangerous for your camera. If you plan on Freelensing a lot, you’re going to want to clean the inside of your camera body more often. You may want to pay a professional to do this for you, as the impurities may be hard to get out once they’re in there.**
Freelensing will take a lot of practice and patience. I still have a hard time getting the focus where I want it to go, and I’ve been doing it for years. So don’t give up!
Tilt your lens at a very slight angle, while holding it really close to the sensor (which is where your lens attaches to the camera body). Try different angles for different looks. Sometimes you won’t really notice a blur (take the picture below), and sometimes it will be a lot more noticeable, depending on how angled your lens is.
It can be more tricky to Freelens while taking pictures of people. I usually like the focal point to be on the person’s face, and that can be hard to accomplish. Just keep in mind that the more you practice, the more control you have.
I love taking pictures of moving water while Freelensing. The results are sometimes unpredictable, and I love culling through the pictures I take (because I take a ton while I’m Freelensing) and seeing all the different effects.
Prepare yourself for a bit of frustration, as sometimes there will never be a point of focus/a spot in the picture where it’s sharp. And that’s perfectly ok!
Ok, this last picture wasn’t taken while I was Freelensing, but I had to include it because Swans are so pretty!
K, now go out and practice!!! Leave a comment below with a link to some of your own Freelensing pictures! I would love to feature a photographer’s Freelensing work on my blog soon, so be sure to let me know if you’re interested!