FREELENSING: A retrospective of my freelensing journey | Personal Work | Cambridgeshire Photographer

I was looking at the calendar the other day and it suddenly occurred to me that it was a little more than a year ago since I had begun seriously doing freelensing (yay!). 

A Year of Freelensing

If you haven’t been following my freelensing journey or you are wondering what freelensing is about, then you should read this entry I wrote on my blog last summer HERE. It showcases some of the first freelensed images I took during a month-long photography project delving into freelensing. I also detailed what camera I used and how I adapted my lens, and mindset, in order to enable me to freelens.

What got me seriously hooked onto freelensing though was joining a group of photography friends to challenge ourselves for a month to spend every day doing freelensing. I had talked about the value of doing a personal photography project before, in terms of experimenting new techniques and creativity. But finding a partner-in-crime or your own tribe, who could share the same interest or goals as you, is so invaluable for keeping each other motivated and accountable when it comes to doing a photography project or learning a new skill, such as freelensing.  

Freelensing is not the easiest camera technique to get right. If there is a right or wrong at all. 

In my Freelensing / Freelensing 31 article, I had said at the beginning that one thing I learnt with freelensing is the object of letting go. A year on, I would also add perseverance too. 

The Point of Letting Go

I have had a few photography friends who have dabbled in freelensing (with the lens un-attached from the body of the camera) ask me how I create my freelensed photographs. Or what I imagine they really want to know is how they can get it right every time. 

You cannot get it right every time or indeed even straight away, like some magic you can create as soon as you pick up the camera. So many times I had looked through my camera viewfinder thinking I had got the slice of focus where I wanted and captured the vision in my image, only to see on the back of the screen or back at home on the computer that it hadn’t landed right where I had intended. 

That’s ok. I’ve learnt the point of freelensing is about letting go of perfection and persevering until the little adjustments I make with the lens becomes more intuitive.  

Freelensing is not about creating a sharp image or even a blurry photograph. It’s about taking a very literal image and elevating the image into something else; creating moods and feel to a photograph. During freelensing, I find I slow down more which helps me to observe my environment and feel the moment.

I realise the above description could be applied to a lot of photographic techniques. I am concentrating on just freelensing here, because I know it can be frustrating to see if you are doing it right when you first discover this wonderful camera technique. I am not into fad or photography trends that could quickly make photographs look out-dated one day. On the other hand, freelensing is gaining popularity in the photography world and I love the painted quality it adds to my photographs, like that of the Impressionist painters.

Freelensing Life

Below is a slideshow of images I have selected from some themed freelensing challenges (#freelensinglife) I have been doing throughout the course of this year over on my Instagram account with some other photographers. I have not previously shared these images to my blog, as they did not fit within the narrative-theme that I normally contribute for the Free 52 project. However, doing the Free 52 project and #freelensinglife together, has given me the confidence to explore freelensing further. It has spilled over into other photography work I undertake, which includes using freelensing in my self-portraiture.

To follow this month’s blog circle to our Free 52 project group, go now to my beautiful friend Julie Godbolt and follow along to see what some of these talented freelensing artists have been creating in September. 

Huntingdon Family Autumn Photography Session | Cambridge Children and Family Photographer

I got to know Julia through our older children being in the same school together. I often would bump into her as she walked her dog, Marmite, back home after school. Somehow we even both ended up joining the parents-teachers’ association together at the same time too! 

I was aware that Julia works as a music teacher and also an opera singer/performer, so I am convinced her creative background is the reason why she connected with my photographs and wanted to book a family storytelling session. In our conversation, she had told me she loves reportage or documentary photography, and had chosen this natural, relaxed style for her wedding photography. 

We chose the beautiful setting of Hinchingbrooke Country Park for some photographs of her two girls and Marmite. Marmite is nine-years-old and a Hungarian Vizsla. Although it’s hard to imagine their loyal companion will not be around with their family forever, Julia was keen to get some photographs of her children with Marmite so they could have some beautiful photographs to treasure now and for years to come. 

The girls started off during the photography session feeling a little bit shy, but as soon as they realised I wasn’t asking them to stand and pose, they soon lost their shyness and just went for it and had fun! They even took their mum’s scarf and ran off with it; playing hide and seek that produced fits of giggles between the two sisters. It was clear that the sisters had a loving relationship and adored Marmite. 

I was also shown how to make a whistle out of grass, which I’ve not tried yet but will do next time I am down by the lake. Before long the session was coming to an end just as the evening light was fading away.   

Rock pools and Caves | Free 52 Project Personal work | Cambridge & Cambridgeshire Family Photographer

Our freelensing circle of artists took a break during the summer.

I had intended to spend the summer capturing my children as they went on their little adventures, but somehow summer just flew by and I didn’t pick up my camera as much as I thought I would. This was not such a bad thing. It allowed me to decompress after a busy work season, be present with my children, and immerse myself in our daily activities over the summer holidays.

Below are some photos taken from our trip to Northumberland for our freelensing blog circle, The Free 52 Project. Click on an image to enlarge. Then, go to my friend and fellow freelensing artist, Lauren Frost Jensen, to see her freelensed images from this summer HERE. Follow around our blog circle until you’re back here.

Rock pooling

Somewhere between Bamburgh and Seahouses on the Northumberland coast.

St Cuthbert’s Cave, Lowick

Took the off-beaten track to explore the countryside around the Cheviot Hills.

Freelensing is an advanced technique of tilting the lens around the camera with the lens off the camera body to produce artistic blur and light leaks in the images. To follow my previous freelensing posts, go to the tag #thefree52project.