40 Awesome Examples of Tilt-Shift Photography

By / Dec 22, 2009 / Inspiration
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Tilt-shift photography refers to giving the subject of a photo a miniature look or toy-like appearance. This affect can either be achieved with a special camera lens and other shooting techniques, or it can be done in post processing with applications like Photoshop. There are a number of tilt-shift tutorials available that will show you how to achieve this effect on your own, but in this article we’re going to inspire you. Here are 40 awesome examples of tilt-shift photography.

Clicking on the images will take you to where we found them, and will allow you to see a larger version and learn more about the photographers.

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About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.

32 Comments

  1. Brendan Wenzel
    December 22, 2009

    Wow, that’s amazing what can be done with a camera and some photoshop work. Most those don’t even look real. I especially like the soccer picture.

    Reply
  2. Joel
    December 22, 2009

    Amazing collection – The ones that work best seem to be the ones that are the most exaggerated!

    Reply
    • Belkiss Obadia
      April 30, 2012

      Agreed!! It’s absolutely brilliant!! Love it.

      Reply
  3. Steve Martin
    December 22, 2009

    Wow these tilt-shift photography are awesome and they really look like toys… I loved all the images above and very impressed with this technique…

    Reply
  4. Sérgio Soares
    December 22, 2009

    awesome effect with a simple technique.
    the playground is the best for me!

    Reply
  5. Judd Dunagan
    December 22, 2009

    Sweet! This gave me so many ideas. Great post I am going to check out the tuts.
    Thanks,
    Judd

    Reply
  6. Luís Pereira
    December 22, 2009

    I saw the images before reading the article and I thought it was LEGO’s or toys photos. The effect was achieved! Great examples and fantastic technique ;)

    Reply
  7. SmashingWebs.com
    December 22, 2009

    Nice Collection. Really enjoyed :)

    Reply
  8. Rick
    December 22, 2009

    Crazy! I was just thinking to myself this weekend I hadn’t seen a recent feature anywhere on tilt-shift and thought I’d sit down and have some fun by doing one of my own ( http://extranoise.deviantart.com/art/Tilt-Shift-Lodge-147319691 ) on Saturday. Timely!

    It’s really great that you guys provided so many awesome examples I hadn’t seen before. Thank you! These were fantastic.

    Reply
  9. Arvin Bautista
    December 22, 2009

    Eh, I am extremely sensitive to the difference between real tilt-shift and tilt-shift done in photoshop, and I must say most of these were done in Photoshop without perfect attention paid to detail…

    the biggest telltale sign is that in real tilt-shift, really bright areas would really blow-out when it goes out of focus compared to non bright areas. If they don’t, such as the traffic lights in #3, it clearly means it was a normal photo edited in photoshop.

    There are definitely steps to make it look better than that with just PS, but I don’t think people should just assume they just need to do a blur on the edges for it to work.

    Reply
    • Aaron Blakeley
      December 22, 2009

      @Arvin if Photoshoping it is wrong then I don’t want to be right.

      Reply
    • Jay Lee
      December 23, 2009

      @arvin Is it your goal to be a total buzzkill just before Christmas? Lighten up!

      Reply
      • Arvin bautista
        December 30, 2009

        I’m sorry but I wouldn’t put a photoshopped image of a dragon and call it a stunning example of nature photography, even if the image was compiled from actual photos of lizards. Nor would I consider a photo with an impressionist filter on it a stunning feature if landscape painting. No matter how good it is.

        Call this a stunning collection of tilt shift style photography but don’t pass it off as the real thing when the only thing that makes it that style was a Photoshop edit.

        Reply
  10. Morgan Graham
    December 22, 2009

    Thanks for giving me a smiling face this morning! Love it!

    Reply
  11. BebopDesigner
    December 22, 2009

    Brilliant collection! Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  12. Design Informer
    December 22, 2009

    Tilt-shift photography is so awesome. I do agree with Arvin though. Most of these were done in Photoshop.

    Reply
  13. Robin Q.
    December 22, 2009

    I thought the tilt-shift fad was over. I can’t believe that “designers” is still following this trend! What happen to creativity? What happened to pushing the boundaries of design and art to create something new? Where can you use this photography style in a design sense?

    Reply
  14. ML Web Consulting
    December 23, 2009

    Wow, some of these are amazing. ML

    Reply
  15. Erik Shultz
    December 23, 2009

    Amazing. Personal goal for 2010: Learn how to do this!

    Reply
  16. Michelle
    December 23, 2009

    its amazing what can be done with a camera, it takes a true photographer to snap up the photos that no one else would ever think about taking. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  17. Trevor
    December 25, 2009

    Not sure I agree with the definition of TS photography. It’s not only about miniaturisation – there are some *REAL* architectural purposes to TS lenses too.

    But these examples above are mighty fine!! Tx for sharing

    Reply
  18. Steve Z
    December 25, 2009

    The problem with this article, is that it implies that making things look miniature is the only possibility, goal, and outcome of the tilt shift lens.

    Every example, is of the same thing. Get up high, and align the focal plane with only a small portion of the photo.

    This is a simplistic and basic approach to the lens, and is the core of the impression that the lens is a ‘fad’. Articles like this further this view, by offering only a limited view of what the lens can accomplish in the hands of an experienced user.

    Many awesome tilt shift image do not appear tilt shift at all to the casual viewer, as they align compositional elements at varying distances from the camera. Only an experienced photographer would recognize the impossible DOF. Furthermore, this only uses the tilt capacity, not the shift capability.

    So really the article should be called, “40 awesome examples of a tilt shift lens making things look miniature”

    Reply
    • denise
      December 29, 2009

      thank you Steve Z!! my thoughts exactly. there is more to tilt-shift than making things look like miniatures/toys. not to take away from these examples – they are cool – just not the be-all and end-all

      Reply
  19. Carlos Luna
    December 28, 2009

    Wow, awesome, i love that effect, i looks unreal…

    Reply
  20. Gemini Grafix
    January 7, 2010

    These are amazing!

    Reply
  21. Ellen
    January 20, 2010

    WOW!!
    you’re photo’s are AMAZING!!
    i hope that you have some more!!

    love

    Reply
  22. Dave
    February 2, 2010

    I’ve seen this done before, but could never quite figure out the technique, let alone figure out what it was called. Thanks for the insight!

    Reply
  23. Mariah
    February 9, 2010

    Wow.. this is amazing!

    Reply
  24. Anderson
    March 5, 2010

    So amazing. I love it!!

    Reply
  25. angie wood
    March 20, 2010

    Cool examples of Tilt/Shift.

    Reply
  26. George Hausler
    April 9, 2012

    These photos are truly amazing! At first I though some of them were actual miniatures! They are that good! I’d like to know whats going on in our brains that we get fooled into thinking the images are tiny. These are very well done!

    Reply
  27. Rayna McGinnis {Boulder Wedding Photography}
    May 20, 2012

    Very cool. I enjoyed them all!

    Reply

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