This Is Tilt-Shift Photography - The Art Of Making Normal Photos Look Like Tiny Models

November 16, 2015

"Tilt-Shift Photography" is the art of creating shallow depth-of-field pictures, either from digital manipulation, or analogue techniques.

You take a normal plane of focus and falsify it to be substantially more shallow than it should be. This tricks our eyes into thinking that the subject is much, much smaller than it really is. Let's get into how that works...

The Original Photograph (BMW Headquarters)

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: /u/TM531

This was shot at f/7.1 - 1/500s. You'll notice that most of it is in focus, or in "tilt-shift" terminology: the photo has a deep plane of focus, which is illustrated in the next photo.

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: /u/Skudworth

The green is your plane of focus. The red portions, which fall outside of the plane of focus, don’t remain in focus (duh). Note that the building’s focus doesn't gradually fall into red like the rest of the shot. Why? Because it’s a giant, vertical structure that doesn't follow the geography of the rest of the shot. The entire building, from top to bottom, is (for our purposes) an equal distance from the camera. This is the key to understanding how tilt-shift editing works.

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: /u/Skudworth

We've shrunk down the plane of focus. The building will be very sharp and the focus will fall off rather dramatically.

Now, it looks like someone built a tiny little BMW buidling.

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: /u/Skudworth

Here's more real places that have been edited using this technique to look like tiny models...

Dawn Treaders

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: dtrford

Paris

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: Coolbiere. A.

Richmond Hills Explosion

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: netwoodle

Buddhist Temple

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: BusinessMansTrip

Sunrise in Bagan

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: willhaney

Terminal Under Grand Central

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: willhaney

Containers

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: willhaney

The Longaberger Company

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: willhaney

Christ The Redeemer

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: MstrHavok

Dubai

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: willhaney

Farm in Africa

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: willhaney

Apollo 17

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: captnyoss

Church in Slovenia on Lake Bled

tilt shift photography little models
Credit: bungeru

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