Our Photography Courses Blog

How to do a tilt shift effect

We’ve been asked quite a lot how to achieve a tilt shift effect – something we see around a lot these days – it has the effect of making landscape shots look like tiny toys:

Here’s an example of a station on the Severn Valley Railway, with the effect applied:

picture taken on photography course on the Severn Valley Railway

Highley station looking like a toy

This effect is made by making the landscape scene look like a portrait setting – by blurring lots of the image artificially in post production. This has the effect of making it look like the sort of image you get with a tilt-shift lens, or more usually in a tiny subject.

picture taken on photography course on the Severn Valley Railway

Highley station as it really looks

Here’s the real image with no processing.

It’s extremely easy to do this in Lightroom by using the graduated filter set to minimum clarity and sharpness, then dragging it over the image so that there is a focal point where your eyes would have set. It works best of all on things we have no problem with imagining small – like train sets. Looking down on the scene from height also helps.

It’s a very easy effect – this took less than five minutes – there are much better people at this than us – here is an article with some fantastic examples. You do need to think about the shot when you take it if you are interested in doing this afterwards, or else go back through all your old pics looking for (usually rather dull) pictures in which a there is a clearly defined subject that you can make clear while everything else goes blurry.

Here’s another one – this time from Stourhead:


Tiny weeny Stourhead

And another from the tiny weeny Malvern Hills:

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