If you want to capture some wonderfully artistic photos…
…then macro photography freelensing is the way to go.
And in this article, I’ll give you five tips for incredible freelensed macro photography.
You’ll discover how to capture creative macro photos–full of soft-focus effects and beautiful light leaks.
Let’s get started.
1. Carefully Hold Your Camera and Lens in a Macro Photography Freelensing Position
Freelensing is a special photography technique. It involves shooting with your lens detached from your camera–in order to create a gorgeous tilt-shift effect.
You can freelens using any camera and lens combination. However, I recommend you use a backup camera (because you’ll end up exposing the camera’s sensor to the outside world). I also recommend you use a lens of around 50mm.
Anything longer will make it tough to create a nice point of focus. Anything shorter will partially negate the freelensed effect.
Here’s how you freelens:
First, turn your camera on, and make sure your lens is focused to infinity.
Second, turn your camera off, and detach the lens from the camera.
Third, hold the lens close to the camera, so that the lens mount sits comfortably inside the camera opening.
Finally, switch your camera back on. Carefully cup the lens with your left hand, making sure you have a tight grip.
Look through the viewfinder.
You should see a normal view.
Tilt the lens in different directions. Do you see how the plane of focus changes?
With that in mind, let’s move on to Tip 2:
2. Isolate a Single Subject for the Best Freelensed Effect
Freelensing in macro photography is an extremely useful effect.
But you can’t freelens with just anything.
Instead, you have to carefully choose your subject, and carefully choose your background.
Otherwise, the freelensed effect just won’t look good!
Here’s what I recommend:
Start by finding a nice subject. Something distinctive, and that can stand on its own.
I often choose single leaves. But flowers can do the trick, too. So can insects.
Then, look around the frame.
Are there any distractions? Anything that might take away from the main subject?
If so, get rid of them! You want the photo to be completely clear of other objects. It should be just the subject and the background.
And speaking of the background…
It’s important that you choose a background that’s as clean as possible. You want something uniform in color–something that won’t draw the eye.
For instance, you can create a white background with a cloudy sky.
Or you can have a nice green background from some distant vegetation.
The key is to keep the background simple (ideally uniform).
Because the background should emphasize the subject. It shouldn’t take away from it!
Then, when you go to actually capture the freelensed macro photo, make sure that your isolated subject is in focus.
And watch as everything else is turned into a beautiful blur.
3. Experiment with Different Lens Angles for Beautiful Freelensed Macros
When you’re doing freelensed macro photography, don’t just stick to some simple shots.
Freelensing is an extremely fruitful technique–if you’re willing to get out of your comfort zone.
And one of the best ways of mixing things up…
…is with lens angles! Because different lens angles will give you radically different freelensed photos.
Simply tilt the lens in different directions.
Up. Down. Left. Right.
They’ll all give you different photos.
For instance, you can create interesting juxtapositions of sharp foreground and sharp background–but only if you play with different lens angles.
I took this photo after doing a bit of freelensing experimentation:
One thing I’d like to note:
By changing the angle of the lens, you can radically change the look of the entire photo. So don’t just do a bit of experimentation and then give up. Instead, force yourself to create lots of very different macro freelensed photos.
You’ll ultimately come away with some shots you’re truly pleased with!
By the way…
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4. Pull Your Lens Away for Increased Magnification
Here’s another macro freelensing photography tip:
If you want increased magnification while freelensing…
…then pull your lens away from the camera!
You see, when you pull the lens out, it increases the distance between the sensor and the lens. And it effectively increases the magnification.
So if you want to capture some nice detail shots, you can simply pull the lens away from the camera. The magnification will increase, and you’ll get a close-up look at your subject.
However, one thing to take into account is the brightness.
The farther the lens moves from the camera, the more light that hits the sensor.
And more light hitting the lens creates a brighter photo.
Pull the lens too far away, and the whole photo will be white!
One thing you can do to minimize this brightness is to cup your left hand around the space between the lens and the camera. This will help block out the light–and it’ll preserve the image details.
5. Tilt the Lens for Artistic Freelensed Light Leaks
If you want truly artistic freelensed photos…
…then you’ve got to add some light leaks.
Light leaks are one of the most interesting freelensing effects–and, when used well, they add something truly special to freelensed photos.
Now, light leaks are simple to create.
You simply have to pull the side of the lens away from the camera. It often makes sense to pull away the top of the lens–this will create a nice light leak effect at the top of the frame. It will give the appearance of the sun shining into your photo!
In general, you want to move the lens so that the sun shines through the opening. Find the sun in the sky, and then pull the lens away from the opening in that direction.
If you can create some nice lens leaks, you’ll take some wonderful macro photos!
Macro Photography Freelensing: Next Steps
Freelensing is an extremely rewarding macro photography technique–one that every macro photographer should try!
It’s not hard to capture stunning and unique photos.
Simply follow these tips…
And get out and experiment!
But don’t stop there!
If you’re looking to keep taking your macro photos to new heights, I recommend you sign up for my email list, where I send all sorts of macro photography tips, tricks, and secrets that I don’t share on my blog.
I’ll also send you my eBook, free of charge:
Mastering Macro Photography: 10 Quick Tips for Stunning Macro Photos
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