For a true tilt-shift photo, you need a tilt-shift lens. And you’d typically use it for architecture photography, to fix the perspective of buildings when you look up.
Recently though, photographers have used the effect in Photoshop to make creative tilt shift style ‘model village’ style photos. It makes the whole scene look miniature.
Here’s how to do it…
Firstly, you’re going to need Photoshop or GIMP to edit the photos. Even though it’s not complicated to complete, it does go further than the basic tool available in Aperture or Lightroom.
These sorts of photos work best as landscape and cityscapes, so start off with a photo like that.
Step 1 – Open your photo in Photoshop, and click on Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode.
Step 2 – Select the gradient tool in the sidebar, and then at the top of the screen, select the cylindrical gradient tool.
Step 3 – Use the gradient tool to select the area that you want to be in focus when you turn the photo miniature (select and drag upwards). You can experiment with the size of this area, but I find that something like below works best. It also works best off center.
Step 4 – Unselect the Quick Mask Mode. You can do this in the sidebar, by selecting this icon at the very bottom.
Step 5 – Go to Filter > Blur > Lens Blur, and the image below will appear. Click invert in the first section (Depth Map), and play with the radius in the Iris section until you’re happy, and then click OK, and the job’s a goodun.
Here it is!
Here’s a few more examples for you to feast your eyes on.