Robert Bowen May 30th, 2011

Inspiration Shift: Tilt-Shift Photos and Effects

With all of the various techniques and lenses that photographers use to create over the years in the development of their craft, we see many spring to the forefront of the industry to take hold. Of these that are popular with the public, several have been adopted by graphic artists who attempt to replicate the outcome with their own works. One that continues to grow in favor with the masses is tilt-shift photography.

Across the Web there are tutorials and tools that can assist any amatuer shutterbug or graphic artist with applying this technique to their photos after the fact. No longer is this popular style only available to those with the expertise and the proper, high end equipment. And the replication processes are getting even better with each new iteration. In fact, below we have a mix of both real tilt-shift photos and altered photos to make them appear to be tilt-shift. See if you can tell the difference!

Photography Mix


Photo by Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash


Photo by Matt Milton on Unsplash


Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash


Photo by Yves Scheuber on Unsplash


Photo by Misuto Kazo on Unsplash

New york

Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash


Photo by Sander Crombach on Unsplash

Lego city

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

Hong Kong

Photo by Vernon Raineil Cenzon on Unsplash

United States

Photo by Taton Moïse on Unsplash


Photo by Misuto Kazo on Unsplash


Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

Blue sky

Photo by Alejandro Franco on Unsplash


Photo by Misuto Kazo on Unsplash

City lights

Photo by Kiril Krsteski on Unsplash


Photo by Philippe Oursel on Unsplash


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash


Photo by Sobolev Maksim on Unsplash


Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash


Photo by Ioann-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash

Shopping mall

Photo by Gerry Roarty on Unsplash


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash


Photo by Kazuki Taira on Unsplash


Photo by Raivis Razgals on Unsplash


Photo by Alice on Unsplash


Photo by Martijn Baudoin on Unsplash


Photo by Sebastian Huber on Unsplash


Photo by Misuto Kazo on Unsplash


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash


Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash


Photo by Kazuki Taira on Unsplash

Central station

Image by NoName_13 from Pixabay

Historic center

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Roof garden

Image by Anja from Pixabay


Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay


Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay


Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay


Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay


Image by Michai? Nowa from Pixabay

Manitou Incline by Angie Bowen

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

< < Tilt-Shift miniature faking is a creative technique whereby a photograph of a life-size location or object is manipulated to give an optical illusion of a photograph of a miniature scale model. Altering the focus of the photography in Photoshop (or similar program) simulates the shallow depth of field normally encountered with macro lenses making the scene seem much smaller than it actually is. In addition to focus manipulation, the tilt-shift photography effect is improved by increasing color saturation and contrast, to simulate the bright paint often found on scale models. >>

Tilt-Shift Resources

If you enjoyed this showcase and would like to try your hand at this technique post photo then take a look at some of the assembled goodies below to get your tilt-shift angling towards something more visually stunning:




Robert Bowen

Robert Bowen is an emerging author, celebrated podcaster and poet, and most recently the co-founder and imaginative co-contributor of the creative design and blogging duo at the Arbenting and Dead Wings Designs.


  1. nice shots/manips.
    and you can clearly see that a bird’s view is the best perspective to create the miniature effect, that makes tilt shift so loved.

  2. Hi many many images are old not use new images and many many images are some right reserved….please use new stuff next time this is bad impression for noupe….

    1. Sorry you feel that way. However, as to the rights issues, all of the images used are available for such purposes with attribution, which has been given. But thanks.

      1. ok Robert suppose you take permission but you use all old images what is this??? this is 2011 and you doing use 2006 or 2007 and 2005 photos why?? :) :)

      2. The images may be from a few years ago, but they were ones I have not seen featured everywhere. So in that respect they felt fresh. Obviously you do not share in this opinion. Perhaps next time. :)

        Please direct me to some examples that you would have used. I would love to see them! :)

  3. Very easy to spot the fake tilt-shift shots as mentioned above. I am somewhat good at making miniature shots with TS lenses and I can tell you there are NO ways to replicate its effect without some serious PS work.

    It is not just about using linear gradient with blur. While this technique works for some shots, it fails when used for buildings since the plane of focus is not constant.

    1. I can imagine that, especially if you have worked with the actual lenses it is extremely easy to spot them. I like the tip you offered as well. Much appreciated!

  4. I have long thought the Japanese photographer, Naoki Honjo (????) to be the master of tilt-shift. Maybe you might be interested to check out his book ‘Naoki Honjo: Small Planet [Tankobon Softcover] / author – Masahiko Sato’. It’s quite old, 2006, but in case you haven’t come across him, it’s well worth a look. Probably the best example of real tilt-shift photography that I have ever come across…

  5. lol.. i can’t really tell the difference, but I do love the effect! It makes everything seem so tiny and cute :)

  6. It is actually pretty easy to do this technique quickly in Photoshop, but the really amazing tilt-shift photos take into account the actual depth of elements in the photo, and try to keep area in focus to objects the same distance away, not just a blur from the bottom and top. Thanks for the inspiration!

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