Tilt-Shift photography is a miniatures faking technique. You will question whether they are objects or locations in real life or in miniature-scale model. Then, they are called as tilt-shift pictures. Usually, photographers love to play this trick on architectures, vehicles and people.

This type of optical illusion can be created through Photoshop or other photo editing programs. You, in order to produce closer-to-real tilt-shift pictures, will have to manipulate color saturation and contrast. Do you notice color painting for miniatures is usually bright and vivid? So now you are changing the intensity of those colors. Moreover, blurring some regions to focus on one certain area will enhance the tilt-shift photography effect. A photographer might worry about the originality of tilt-shift pictures. As if relying on too much digital processing, as what is in photographers’ terms, the photo is not “organic”.

It is not merely dependent on post-processing. Of course, tilt-shift photography has specified skills too. Angle is what defining the success of tilt-shift photography. A high angle will give a feel like looking down on the “miniatures”. Furthermore, the depth of field is another determining factor. Shallower it is, stronger the tilt-shift effect. Selective focus, which is about the f-number and tilt level, must be always practiced to get familiar and play with those settings. A special tilt-shift lens can also simulate the scene to let it seem much smaller than the actual measurement.

Going back to its name, “tilt-shift” represents two camera movements: “tilt” means rotation of lens plane relative to the image plane while “shift” means movement of lens plane parallel to image plane. Canon and Nikon respectively offer tilt-shift lenses. However, it is sure more expensive compared to other lenses without movement.

Tilt is very helpful to produce sharper “miniatures” through controlling PoF (plane of focus). Besides, shift can alter the image position without moving the camera back. This feature especially aids tilt-shift photography of tall buildings.

Both features must be together to produce a series of compelling tilt-shift pictures. Without a shift lens, you may not be able to capture the top of one building. Otherwise, an illusion of a backward-falling building will be produced if with only tilt lens. Yet, under some situations, you may only need to tilt the lens, instead of using both functions. Those photos are still considered as tilt-shift pictures although shift is totally irrelevant. It may be followed with the lens that you are using.

From the below 35 awesome masterpieces, you can realize that tilt-shift photography is particularly well-known in architectural and landscape photography. In fact, it can be used in motion pictures too.

Johannesburg in South Africa

Start with Johannesburg, it is like an architectural model for property developers.

Coconuco – Cauca

People inside the frame become tiny people in the miniature model.

Baghdad in tilt-shift

Sky also never seems as the sky in tilt-shift photos.

Tilt Shift Suburbia

If it is real, you are entering into the Lilliputians’ country.

Melbourne, Australia

All tall buildings optically turn into very trivia things.

Eiffel Tilt-Shift

Eiffel legs are yet huge but not gigantic as what it is.

Toy Kuala Lumpur

The bridge is so fragile now until looks like can break down with your fingers.

Miniature Airport

It is amazing to capture the airport like miniature object with the tilt-shift lens.

Miniature train

Train is another awesome object to be a toy in tilt-shift photography.

Canal Grande

Bringing tilt-shift lens to travel is the greatest idea.

Chinese Gardens

Despite the size, objects still keep their own feelings inside a photo.

Nakayan’s tilt-shift

Observation in parallel with objects brings you closer to them.


Those houses are just so unbelievable to be real.


People walking around the square are in the mini size when you are looking down from airplane.

School Walk

Tilt-shift photo can only focus on people, instead of the buildings or whole landscape.

Football Miniature Tottenham – Manchester United

In fact, you still feel hard to distinguish whether it is tilt-shift photo or a miniature.

Polish tilt-shift

However, it is normal to have this kind of confusion for all kind of tilt-shift photos.

Southern Cross Station

You cannot tell the exact height of any objects in the photo.

Tilt shift effect – traffic

Blurring some areas to focus on traffic is nice.

Little game

Just as this, blurring can allow you to focus on the green field first.

Vatican Stairs

Besides, blurring can make people or other objects more unreal.

Tilt-Shift GTM

Is it a racing car or just a toy?

Tikal Miniature

Temples can seize into miniature size in one click.

Tilt shift effect – stadium

No matter how big the stadium is, miniature faking is so easy with tilt-shift lens.

Harbour Bridge, Sydney

Only the water motion makes it nearer to real life but it is still a “miniature”.

Sanaa by night after tilt shift effect – Yemen

Using it in night times produces another atmosphere.

Tilt-Shift – Stade de Marrakech

You have to pay a bit attention to look for people inside the photo.


Yes, it is so artificial but real too.

You Can Tell

Till then, you should be able to tell more about tilt-shift photography.

Cleveland Clinic Miniature

Notice that brighter color plays important role in tilt-shift photos.

Real models

Reflection can be incorporated to make the scene more fake.

biG miNiaTURe wOrLd

Tilt and shift is what you do to capture a good tilt-shift picture.

Race start

The racing track seems as too fast to finish.

Tilt shift effect – London

Another angle to focus on people in tilt-shift photography.

Heisson Bridge

Can you imagine how huge those objects are if shifting back to our eyes?