Featured Expert: Kathleen White


by Kathleen White of Kathleen Elizabeth Photography

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This is meant to be done with caution! Regular cleanings of lenses and cameras is always a good idea!

Free-lensing is a fun way of shooting that involves detaching your lens from your camera. By detaching your lens from your camera (but still holding it close) you are able to create a unique tiltshift effect. Since you are detaching your lens from your camera, free-lensing is for the brave! Here are a few tips and tricks to help get you started!

Step 1: Choose your lens. I have found that working with anything under a 50mm is REALLY hard to get anything in focus. For this tutorial I used a 50mm 1.4, and have also used a 85mm 1.8 in the past which works just as well!


Step 2: Check your settings. Since you are detaching your lens, your autoexposure function will not work. Set your exposure with your lens attached, set the focus on your lens to manual, and turn the focus ring to infinity.

Step 3: Detach lens. Take off your lens, and while still holding it very close start moving it around and see what happens! Each time you move it you will see how the different angles affect your photo. This part is all trial and error, so snap away! TIP: I cup my lens in my hand, to prevent any dust from coming in and to make sure I have a good grip on it.

Step 4: Choose your subject. When trying this for the first time, choose something to photograph that is still like flowers, sunsets, household items, etc. It is much harder to photograph a moving subject while free-lensing!


Step 5: Practice, practice, practice! Like anything new, practicing is the only way to get the hang of free-lensing. You may only like a few, but those few photos will be unique and beautiful and it is totally worth it!

3 thoughts on “Featured Expert: Kathleen White

  1. Addie says:

    Ive been wanting to try this for awhile but just haven’t known where to start….So do you have the camera on a tripod? Im not sure how I would hold my camera, hold my lens and focus the lens all at the same time?

  2. Kathleen White says:

    Hi Addie!
    I do not use a tripod, but this can easily be done using a tripod as well! The same tips above will still apply. A tripod can make it easier and give you more freedom while moving your lens around when just starting out. If you do start to photograph moving subjects, a tripod might be a bit more difficult since you will not have the freedom of moving your whole camera while your subject is moving.

    Free-lensing is a bit of a learning curve, and when I do it I hold my camera with one hand, and then cup my other hand under the lens (keep in mind you can still support your camera a bit with the hand cupping the lens). If this is too much or you are just starting, a tripod can definitely be used. I would have used a tripod, but I was dealing with my crazy 3 year daughter 😉

    Keep in mind free-lensing is all trial and error, and not meant to be perfect. Have fun with it, and let those creative juices flow 😉

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