Tilt Shift Photography
Learn how to create these fascinating images.
Tilt shift photography is a creative type of photography in which the camera lens is used to manipulate the image so that a life-sized location or subject looks like a miniature-scale model.
You can also create tilt shift images using Photoshop to manipulate your existing images.
The iconic Hollywood sign in this picture is NOT a model, it is a image of the sign which has been manipulated to look like this and to trick your brain into thinking it is a model.
Photo used under Creative Commons from dutchb0y
How Does Tilt Shift Photography Work?
Why do photos of real life appear to be like models?
These amazing tilt shift photos take a city scene or a picture of cars and transform it into what looks like a model.
This is done by the photographer, or afterwards in Photoshop or other photo editing software. The tilt shift image has a small depth of field which makes the foreground and background out of focus. This tricks your eyes into thinking that the image is of a subject that is quite close to your eyes, and so must be small, hence the interpretation that the subjects are actually models.
You can test this for yourself. Hold a finger from your left hand a few inches from you eye, then hold a finger from your right hand half that distance from your eye, and in a position where you can see both fingers.
Now focus on the finger from the left hand. You will notice that this finger is in focus and the other finger is out of focus. You will also see that the background is also out of focus - it helps if you try this with a wall or bookcase quite nearby in the background.
So when your eyes see a picture that looks like this your brain assumes the subject is quite close by, perhaps just a few inches, and so you think that what you are looking at is a model.
Some of the Photoshop techniques enhance the saturation and the sharpness of the images to give them a richer and more focussed appearence which adds to the sense of a model image.
Tilt Shift Lenses
How is this done with cameras and lenses?
Tilt and shift lenses are explained in great detail at the Northlight Images sites. In summary, the optical elements of the lens can be moved relative to the sensor (film) plane. This allows for the correction or creation of pespective and depth of field effects.
Once you understand how the lenses work and how they can be applied, you might want to read a more advanced technical explaination of how to use tilt and shift lenses to control depth of field and perspective.
Naoki Honjo is an expert in using the tilt shift lens to create his 'Small Planet' photographs which have been exhibited around the world.
Tilt Shift In Photoshop
If you can't afford the lens you can still create great shots
Using Photoshop or other photo editing tools it is quite a quick a simple process to transform any photograph into a 'model' picture.
1. Use a photo that has the subject in the middle horizontal third.
2. Apply a gradient blur from the central third to the top, and similarly from the center to the bottom of the image.
3. Sharpen the image
4. Add a touch of saturation
You are done! Well, at least you have mastered the basics. You can now start to really focus on the details and produce some stunning tilt shift images.
This tutorial uses Photoshop to take you step by step through the process. You can find plenty of other resources on-line to give further hints and tips on achieving great images using Photoshop.
Amazing Tilt Shift Video - Now this is really cool, a tilt shift view of the Hoover Dam.
Tilt Shift and Google Earth video - I like what has been done here, you get a real sense of viewing a model of a whole country
Links To Remarkable Tilt Shift Pages - Spend a minute or two following these links, you won't be disappointed.
- 50 Beautiful Examples Of Tilt-Shift Photography | Inspiration | Smashing Magazine
Tilt-shift photography is a creative and unique type of photography in which the camera is manipulated so that a life-sized location or subject looks like a miniature-scale model.Â Below we present 50 beautiful examples of tilt-shift
- Flickr: "tiltshift"
Photos on Flickr that have the "tiltshift" tag. Some of these are incredible
- tiltshiftmaker.com - Transform your photos into tilt-shift style miniatures
Use TiltShiftMaker to easily transform your standard photos into fun tilt-shift style miniature pictures.