Freelensing, have you heard this term before?
Over the years, I've heard the term more than a few times. I knew what it was, but I'd never experimented with it before, that is until the other night.
Freelensing is a technique of taking photos where the lens is not firmly mounted to the camera. By not mounting the lens to the camera, focusing is accomplished by moving the lens in or out and tilting the lens until the portion of the image you want is in focus. Also, by not mounting the lens on the camera you lose the ability to control the lens's aperture, but you introduce a very cool effect and have the added benefit of achieving in camera light leaks.
So the other night I was sitting with my son as he took a bath, as I often do. He was content playing in his bubbles by himself, so I took the time to break out the camera with the hopes of catching him doing something totally silly. As I sat there with my 50mm f1.4 lens mounted on the camera, he was being mostly subdued in his bath antics and I was a little bored, so I decided on the spot to try my hand a freelensing.
Here's what I did:
- Before popping the lens off the camera I set the f-stop to 1.8 and focused on where my son was knowing that as soon as I took the lens off I would lose the ability to auto-focus and adjust the aperture.
- Holding the camera with one hand and the lens with the other, I held the lens up to the camera connection and moved it in and out, and tilted it left, right, up, and down to get a feel for focusing with it.
- After I had a feel for it, I started taking a few photos. As I did, I noticed that that I had to be a lot more cognizant of where the focus was because anytime my son would move it took a few seconds to refocus.
- I also noted where my light sources were and how/where I was getting some light leaks.
- After some thinking, I took the lens off again and went back to shooting to practice some of the things I'd come to understand.
All-in-all, I'm happy with the results of my first experiment with freelensing. I learned a whole lot, and I've compiled some of what I learned into the tips/tricks and considerations below.
The shots below are from my freelensing experimentation. To better help you out, I've decided to share my setup with you.
Camera: Canon 5D Mk III
Lens: Canon 50mm f1.4 - set to f1.8
Shutter: 1/160 to 1/200
Lighting: Ambient light + 1 x Lumopro LP180 set at 1/32 power and 24mm; the speedlight was set off to the right on the sink, and was triggered by a Pocket Wizard Plus III.
- Having shot in the bathroom before, I knew the lighting was horrible, hence the use of a speedlight.
- Only basic edits were done in post processing. For the edits I used the presets from my MHP Preset Starter Pack (Basic, White Balance, Sharpening, Grain, etc).
Here area a few tips/tricks that will help you as you experiment with freelensing.
Things to consider:
Hopefully, my experience and tips/tricks will help you out as you try freelensing. I'd love to see how your experimentation with freelensing goes. Feel free to tag me in Instagram so I can see! You can find me on Instagram at @markhamilton.photos
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