19 Jan

Tilt Shifting

Posted by Jenna, Under Photography

I needed to rent some lenses for my wedding on Friday (my last one before baby!) and I decided to add a lens known as the Tilt-shift to my rental just to see what it is like. If you have no idea what a Tilt-shift lens can do click over to this post by Smashing magazine to see some really incredible results. Have you seen this video of a beach in Australia made using a Tilt-shift lens?

I really like what I’ve seen other photographers do with it and I wanted to see how it would work for me. I ended up leaving the rental place just in time to get to the wedding so I didn’t have any time to practice or really learn how it works. I wound up with only a few photos worth keeping and realized I needed to spend some more time practicing.


Yesterday I went for a “photo walk” in an attempt to both get some exercise and play with the lens before I had to return it. I didn’t end up with anything mind-blowingly awesome but I think it’s a lens I would definitely enjoy renting and using more in the future.

I really love to see what the lens can do when shooting portraits, as seen here, here, here, and here.

There are those who say the same effects can be achieved through Photoshop, but I disagree. Unfortunately my mathematical skills prevent me from letting you know exactly WHY I disagree, but I’ve read several arguments back and forth about it and I agree with the “Photoshop can’t fake what an expert can do” camp. Photographers I love who frequently use the Tilt-shift include Jonas Peterson, Jeff Newsom, and Sean Flanigan. Try scrolling through their stuff and spotting when they use the Tilt-shift.

If you have a dSLR and you’d like to shake things up a little bit from your normal routine I’d suggest renting a new lens and having some fun with it. You can try the Tilt-shift, find someone who has a Lensbaby, or you can get really ambitious and look into making your own!

11 Comments


  1. I can’t wait to get a tilt-shift, I miss shooting with it! I may just have to buy one in the next few months before wedding seasons starts up again.

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  2. I took my dSRL out this weekend and got some great photos of our dog! I’m still super new to the whole thing, and really have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m reading the manual and practicing a ton. I’ve also looked through your photography posts, so thanks for all of the tutorials! Oh, and would you recommend Lightroom or Photoshop for someone who wants to learn how to edit photos, but won’t be doing it professionally?

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    Jenna Reply:

    Lightroom is awesome for making slight changes to your photos and for processing really quickly. Photoshop gives you the ability to make very small changes, isolate things, and is MUCH more powerful than Lightroom when it comes to editing (it’s designed that way). Unless you are thinking you want to edit hundreds/thousands of photos from a session, and you want to make them all look very similar (something Lightroom rocks at) then I would go with Photoshop.

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  3. This is such a great post! I’ve always wanted to try a tilt-shift lens. I noticed that you said you would like to continue renting one … but would you eventually buy one in the future?

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    Jenna Reply:

    Very very far in the future, when I have money to invest in “toys” rather than things I consider necessities. I’d like to get a 24mm, 35mm, 85mm, and 135mm first. It’s going to take me a long time to get there!

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  4. Love it! I’m considering a couple Lensbaby’s. :) Also, “nothing mindblowing”?! Whatever! I actually really really love a couple of those “nothing mindblowing” pics you took and would totally print them and frame them. (I particularly love the parking lot arrows one)

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    Jenna Reply:

    Aww Dawn, you’re so nice! I was looking at the Lensbaby website. I really like the direction they are heading and how they are trying to make their lenses more versatile!

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  5. I always wondered how people got those kind of shots (which I call toy shots because I think it makes everything look like tiny toys in a dollhouse or something equally amusing!).

    I think all of the photos you took/posted are wonderful!

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  6. wow amazing. I had no idea that a lens could do stuff like that

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  7. Some very interesting shots here.

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  8. Jenna, you’re so sneaky! I was finally catching up on your blog and caught the bonus pics here. I LOVE the first one so much!

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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