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10 Creative Ideas for Tilt-Shift Photography

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You may not own one of these tilt-shift lenses, but I am sure you have seen tilt-shift photography images floating around.
Any image that makes a setting or scene look tiny was taken using one of these beasts. So let’s look at 10 creative ideas for tilt-shift photography.
Overhead shot of a sprawling cityscape using tilt-shift photography
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10. City Scenes

A city scene is a great place to use a tilt-shift photography lens. This is usually the go-to area and the most popular choice for those who want to experiment with their new purchase. The city offers buildings and architecture, people and situations.
By photographing a city from a high vantage point, you give the impression that it is actually a model of an actual city. The people look like ants, and the buildings do not represent their true size.
Overhead shot of a sprawling cityscape using tilt-shift photography

9. Construction Work

Construction work is situational and usually found in the city. You get to see people in uniforms and machinery that look like toys.
It is more interesting than a simple city scene, as you see things happening. There is a story here that you are showing. Tilt-shift photography gives you a great sense of scale and distorts your idea of the relative sizes of the objects and subjects.

Overhead shot of a construction site with men working using tilt-shift photography
Juan Pablo

8. Transportation Means

Transport is another great way to show scenes with a tilt-shift lens. Buses and trains are huge machines, brought down to the size of toys when photographed using this type of lens.
Steam engines are better, as the smoke makes it more realistic and gives it a sense of movement. By showing something as big as a bus, as small as you can see here, it really brings out the details.
You’ve made it look like a hyper-realistic image of something a child would play with using tilt-shift photography.
A tilt shift photo of a bus parked on a road in a beautiful countryside area surrounded by trees

7. Nighttime Cityscapes

Night photography allows us to distort our perception even more. If someone was to create a model village, the lighting is difficult to get right. Here, it looks like an excellent scene, created from scratch. The attention to detail is fantastic.
The great idea of tilt-shift photography is that it makes the viewer think. A nighttime image is very impressive. The lighting allows you to focus on a few smaller areas, drawing the attention of the viewers.
A sprawling cityscape at night, shot from overhead with a tilt-shift photography lens

6. Landscape

Landscapes work really well as a tilt shift photography idea. Landscape images contain vegetation, trees, cottages, shacks, and even roads and paths.
They may even contain water features like pools or rivers. Again, it is the level of detail that makes this image work.
A man-made cityscape is impressive enough, but a landscape is way more impressive. If someone believes that the scene is man-made, then their socks are likely to blow off. The trees must have been painstakingly slow to create.
A beautiful countryside area surrounded by trees. The use of tilt-shift photography makes the scene look like its a model.

5. Sports

Sports are great for tilt-shift photography. Here, you not only get to see the landscape, but he person gives it a sense of scale. There is a story and a situation to delve into.
There are many sports that would work well with this type of photography, cross-country skiing being only one.
What I love about this is not only the attention to detail but the relative size of the mountains. The viewer has to think about this shot. They need to realise if it is, in fact, a man-made model or a real image.
Make sure you grab a perfect moment to add power to the image.
A person skiing down slopes with a snowy mountain behind, taken with a tilt-shift photography lens.

4. Landmarks

Landmarks are a perfect way to fully utilise tilt-shift photography. the reason is that the landmarks are usually ones that we know inside out.
We know that the Eiffel Tower is 324 metres high (ok, not exactly, but we know it is pretty tall), so when we see a small version, it tricks our minds.
Either it feels unnatural or it must be a man-made model. This is the best part because if it was a model, it is a fantastic rendition. The detail is so incredible, it is difficult to believe that this didn’t take someone years to create.

The bottom of the Eiffel tower. The use of tilt shift photography lens makes the scene look like its made from toys.
Arnar Birgisson

3. Toys

Most of the inanimate objects we photograph with a tilt-shift lens look like toys. Except, they usually have more attention to detail than actual toys do. This creates an effect that makes your head want to explode.
Photographing planes from above makes them look like a bunch of children’s’ play things just lumped together. The perspective really squashes them down into really tiny objects which we are not used to seeing.
Overhead tilt shift photography shot of a carpark

2. Everyday Moments

Capturing situations that happen in our everyday life are difficult. Photographing them with a tilt-shift lens is more difficult, but not impossible. First, you need to find a scene that you can capture.
You also need to find a good enough vantage point for tilt-shift photography. By finding a scene and placing yourself above it, you are able to create a model village impression with a huge amount of attention to detail.
Here, they look like toys and the fire looks like cotton. Great job!

 Overhead shot of a fire in an urban setting. Fire engines and fireman and many cars line the streets. The use of tilt shift photography makes the scene look like its made from toys.

1. Forced Perspective Meets Tilt-Shift Photography

My all-time favourite tilt-shift-photography topic is the act of forcing perspective. Your mind goes through so many decisions that it is almost impossible to settle on one. My mind goes back and forth between reality and man-made model.
Showing a tilt-shift photography scene is bad enough, but with the paintbrush, it really makes your mind jump around. Here, the photographer holds a paintbrush into the scene from the camera, making it look the same size as the buildings.

 Cool tilt shift photography image where the photographer holds a paintbrush into the scene from the camera, making it look the same size as the buildings.
Matt West

Now check out this awesome tilt-shift photography effect time-lapse video.

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