Miniature Mania

photo of Oregon State Beavers by Greg Keene

Have you ever seen a photograph like this – where it looks like the people or objects are miniature? I’ve often wondered about them and recently did a bit of research. As a little Sunday bonus post, I thought it would be fun to look at this specialty photo feature. Tilt shift photography is a method that uses special lenses to overcome the restrictions of depth of field and perspective that normal lenses provide and miniature faking is one of the most popular applications of this technique. Here are some interesting examples of this fashionable special effect.

Photo by Vincent Laforet
Eiffel Tilt-Shift II by AmarBi
Vatican Stairs by Toshio

photo via rolohauck via flickr

photo via cloudsoup on flickr

photo by Giovanni Orlando

Tilt shift lenses are very expensive, costing upwards of $1,000. There are also ways to achieve this effect with some knowledgeable and judicious editing in Photoshop. For those of you technologically savvy image manipulators, here is the link to an online tutorial .

Tilt shift is also used by interior and architectural photographers because it allows them to shoot a wide angle or deep scene and keep it all in focus by transcending the normal restrictions of depth of field and perspective.

So for any of you who ever wondered about those strange miniature looking shots or why your interiors and travel photography never look this good, one of several reasons could be the advantages that tilt shift lenses provide.

18 thoughts on “Miniature Mania

  1. This is a perfect example of why I have been enjoying this blog so much–from fashion week to tilt lens photography–well, I guess both are about changing your perspective!

    The only knowledge I have of these lenses is from archtitectural photography and it seems that even the most challenging of corrections no longer need a special lens but can be handled via Photoshop, as you mentioned.

  2. didn’t realize that tilt shift was used for expansive areas…I have seen tilt shift miniature type images a lot on Stumbleupon but hadn’t realized it’s true value in taking shots of larger areas…great post..

  3. Yes, my next wish is to get photoshop but waiting until I get a new Mac. I cannot wait to dig further into photography editing features. I still have so much to learn with what I have, however. Great information. I am learning the importance of having a variety of lenses. Enjoy your Sunday!

  4. Boy we never stop learning do we? Love this…the pictures are amazing…especially love the one with the Eiffel tower…beautiful in a very artistic sense. They keep the eye glued to the picture ( I presume subconsciouly trying to shift the eye to understand the balance or lack of)..makes for a really great picture!

  5. This is really great… and such an interesting tutorial! I will definitely try it in photoshop! Now, can we take the rest of the day off?! Happy Sunday. ; )))

  6. I did not know that! Thank you for the great education. (I am only using a simple point and shoot camra so I have a long way to go!)

    Happy weekend to you. I have added you to my blog roll. You always bring “new” knowledge to my world. I like that.

    ox, Mon

  7. A fascinating posting! I regularly have a flock of ibis go through my yard, and it’s so frustrating to see twenty of them – an impressive visual statement – go out and take a photo, and end up with a image of lawn and white specks! Thanks for the link!

  8. I’m such a novice when it comes to photography. This is really interesting. Every time I’m introduced to a new concept like this I want to learn more. Unfortunately the list is getting so long that I’ll never get to it all.

  9. Ahhh, you beat me to the punch line! I was hoping this was where I could HELP someone and actually answer the question of “Anybody know what is going on here?” Ha :D I am glad you found the answer and some beautiful images to show off the technique. It’s one of my favorites and if you ever want something tilt-shifted, please let me know! I can help you, for thousands less!! XOXO

  10. You always are able to surprise and educated me at the same time. I am forwarding this on to a few friends who are also interested in how these
    photos are done. Just great!

  11. So are the miniatures actually life-size scenes that we think are miniature? My head’s spinning! I do feel better though, hearing of the specialty lenses that make those interior shots in magazines look so much better than the ones I take with my basic lil digital camera.

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