So lets face it, most of us have seen those cool time lapse videos or photos with that really cool miniature effect. Those outstanding photos with a lot going on in the frame that seem to have this great selective focus on a few or many particular objects giving them that almost toy look. Come to find out, the equipment used to make these tilt shift photos can cost as much as some of the top tiered lenses from manufacturers, so how do you get creative without spending a lot of dough? Well if you have Adobe Photoshop or a similar editing software, the effect is completely possible with a little photo manipulation in the application. With a few simple steps you can cheat your way to this effect, and surprisingly enough, some of the more recently released cameras have creative filters like these built into their firmware.

So to start, lets grab a photo with a bit going on in the frame through out, or even one where the main subject is relatively centered in the in the middle horizontal third. This will become our focus point for the photo, most everything else with be blurred out on either side of the photo.  For this example, I am going to use this shot of a boat dock that was taken in Victoria British Columbia, and am going to open the file in Adobe Photoshop.

Tilt-Shift
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The first thing I recommend doing is getting all of you curves, layers and tones edited prior to doing the effect. Although it doesn’t truly matter, I feel it gives me a better idea of what the photo looked like before I go in and modify the focus.

The next thing I like to do is to make a copy of the original layer. You can do this by right clicking on the original layer and selecting the option to duplicate it. I tend to do this as it allows me to view back and forth between the edited version and the original by simply selecting or deselection the eyeball icon next to the layer.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.13.55 PM
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From there you just need to make sure you have the copied background layer selected and you can get to work. What you now need to do is select the filters option from the application toolbar up top. Here you select Blur Gallery >Tilt-Shift…

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.16.07 PM
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Once you do this a grid like structure will pop up on top of the photo. You will see several layers of lines. The simple way to explain this is on each side of the subject you will see a pair of hashed and solid lines. The solid lines will signify where the blurs begin to gradient, and the hash should signify where the full blur setting is reached. You can play around with these setting as well as the blur and distortion settings on the side panel options until you get that look you are going for with the photo.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.17.30 PM
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Once you are all set, you simply click the OK button at the top of the page and allow Photoshop to render the layer for you. And with that, you now have a tilt shift, miniature photo for a fraction of the cost you would otherwise need and expensive lens for. While this may not be a suitable option for all photographers, it is a fun and new way for you to experiment getting creative with your photography.

And the results are:

The Dock
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Show us what Tilt-shift photograph you made. Post them in the NOTINDOOR Magazine Facebook Group with #NOTINDOORtiltShift

Written by Allan Pudlitzke

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