How To - Free Lensing

This post is for all the photographers out there, wanting to get a bit more creative.  Now the free lensing technique is definitely nothing new & I'm sure a lot of you already have tried & tested it. I heard about it a few years back but my camera at the time wouldn't allow me to take photos without a lens attached.  It's not a very nikon friendly technique..

Here's the basic idea - you remove the lens from your SLR, hold it closely to your camera body & move it around to get different areas in focus. The result is a tiny area in focus, then the rest of the image is blurry & distorted. It's sort of a cheat way of getting the "tilt-shift" effect without having to splash out on a tilt-shift lens!

So last week I decided I'd give it a go! I tried it with my nikon lenses but I had trouble getting anything in focus as you have to hold down the clip on the back of the lens to keep the aperture ring open. I did some googling on the subject & saw some people recommend using blue tac or tape on the clip to keep the aperture ring open. I didn't fancy that.

I suddenly had a brain wave & took the lens off my film SLR (an olympus om-10)  The aperture ring stays open all by itself on this! This lens I am using is a 50mm f1.8. There's several on ebay right now going for about £20! So even if you don't already have a film slr, you can easily find a lens on ebay - still far less than buying a tilt-shift lens! 

Ok, enough waffling! Here's a step by step guide on how to do free lensing!

1. You'll need a digital SLR body & lens.

2. Set your camera to manual mode & set your shutter speed. You won't be able to adjust the aperture with no lens attached. If your lens has a manual aperture ring, set it on there. You can also use the focusing ring to help get your desired area in focus.


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3. Hold the lens closely to the camera body so not to let too much light into the sensor. You can then play around with the angle of the lens to get different spots in focus. Tilting the lens will distort areas of the image & create a cool effect!


Here are my results! 


I've definitely still got a lot of practise to do & I'm excited to try it out with some portraits! 

All the images in this post were edited using "Lemondrop" from my Delux Photoshop Actions