TUTORIAL | Freelensing featuring Forever Whimsy Photography



Check out REDEFINE | Freelensing featuring My Three Sons Images

I spent the better part of 2014 trying, failing, trying again, failing again, reading more, trying again — to understand freelensing. Everything I came across basically said, “take your lens off your camera and hold it in front of where it should be, tilting it until you get the effect that you want.” So, I would take my lens off, hold it in front of my camera, tilting away — then look at my pictures. DARK! SO DARK! I was getting so frustrated. I would increase my ISO, decrease my shutter speed, etcetera – couldn’t actually do anything with my aperture (so I thought) because it wasn’t connected to my camera!

Please keep in mind, this is a Nikon D5100 and Nikon Lenses. I understand that with Canon cameras and lenses– this step isn’t needed. You simply take your lens off, and the aperture is automatically wide open!

Finally, I looked at my lens. Why, oh, why – was it stuck at f16? Put it on my camera, it was definitely going down to f1.4. It was driving me crazy trying to figure out how to get my aperture to change on my 50mm 1.4G lens, since I could not do it manually – like older lenses. So, I googled “lens stuck at f16” – I found a link that was saying take a screwdriver and move the internal blades and I was screaming, “NOOOO!!”

I knew I could figure it out. I looked in my camera. I looked at my lens. I realized there was a little “thingamagig” on the inside of my camera, and also on my lens, that matched up. That is when I had my ‘aha moment’ :)

*the lens cap is still on in this image*


I realized that the “thingamagig” was movable, and when I moved it, IT WAS WIDE OPEN! So, now, I had to think of how to keep the “thingamagig” open – or else I’d have to manually keep it open, while holding the lens in front of my camera and pressing the shutter with my other hand.

I grabbed a tiny piece of paper, folding it up a few times, then made one end pointy and stuck it in! *Make sure your piece of paper is big enough to easily remove, you don’t want it getting stuck in there – that would cause a problem when you would put the lens back on your camera!*


The first image is what the lens looks like when you take it off of the camera (and take off the lens cap.. haha) and the second image, you can see my folded up paper to open the “thingamagig” – and lots of light!

The next step is to hold your lens in front of the camera, right where the lens would be if it were locked in. There is a necessary balance you need to do, as you are holding the lens and the camera with one hand; using your other hand to hold the rest of the camera and press the shutter.


It can be tricky here – you have to manually focus at this point, since your lens is not connected to the camera. You need to focus for one point, and then move the lens – ever so slightly – to achieve the focus in one spot. You may have to manually focus a number of times for the focus to be correct. If the lens is slightly to the right, then the left will be OOF (out of focus) and vice versa. If the lens is slightly up, then the bottom of your image will be OOF (and vice versa!)

Things to consider as well: when your lens isn’t attached, dust and dirt can enter your camera and or lens. Pay particular attention to ensuring dust and dirt are not on the sensor or on the back of the lens that connects to the camera. If there is dust or dirt on your sensor or the back of the lens, when you reattach and look through your viewfinder, you will see them (it happened to me the other day). I recommend having a “Lens Pen,” (if you don’t already!) which you can purchase anywhere – this link will send you to Amazon.com :)

Freelensing really makes some amazing, interesting images with beautiful soft focus!!


This was my first ever freelensed photo once I figured it out. It is not as focused as I would like on my daughter’s eyelashes, but it is still beautiful in my eyes (as are my first images when I first started teaching myself photography, blown out and not properly focused!)


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