In Digital, freelensing, How to, Inspiration

In my last post I shared a bit about my adventures with double exposure.  It’s actually not the only experimental technique I have played with recently.  I’ve also been toying with freelensing for several months, mostly when I am on vacation with my family.

For those of you not familiar with freelensing, you detach your lens from the camera body.  While holding the lens close to the camera, you move it around until you have an area of focus (for instance, the eyes of my subject below).  The remainder of the image is bathed in a beautiful blur, creating a dreamy effect throughout the photograph.  

I’ve read that the optimal lens for freelensing is the 50mm, but since I don’t have that lens I use the next best thing in my arsenal, my trusty 35mm.  I can’t speak to the benefits of one lens over the other, but I can say that from my reading on the subject, no matter what lens you use there is a great deal of trial and error.   

Nailing the focus point can take patience, but when it works I love how our eye can be drawn to a specific detail such as the ear (above) or the texture at the edge of the flower (below).  Everything else fades away with a very soft focus.  

Some time ago I shared a favorite quote by David Alan Harvey, “Don’t shoot what it looks like.  Shoot what it feels like.”  I think I am attracted to freelensing because it allows me to do just that.  These images are less documentary, more sense memory.  The process feels somehow collaborative, as if the camera and I are stretching and bending together.  

I am not the only Viewfinder to experiment with freelensing.  Michelle GD shared her photographs and tips in this post

And as always, we’d love to hear your experiences.  If you have tried your hand at freelensing, do share! 

xxoo Deb


  1. i have always been so fascinated by freelensing and have always been afraid to try it!! love these images!! wow – so interesting – i love the way the eye is drawn to the focus in a different way!! such great shots!!

    • Ah yes. I tried a lens baby many years ago — I rented it for a weekend. Thank you for the reminder! — Deb

    • Wow Grace! What a beautiful post. I’m so touched that you felt inspired to try freelensing AND to write about your experience too. Isn’t the technique fun? I’m jealous that you have a 50mm to practice with! Thank you for being a part of the Viewfinders community. We are so grateful to have you here. xoxo Deb

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