Tilt-shift And The Focus of Interest

Posted on 03 August 2011

Tilt-shift photography is a photographic style that utilizes tilt-shift lenses. There are two different types of movements at work: rotation of the lens against the image plane (tilt), and the movement of the lens parallel to it (shift). This technique results a very shallow depth of field and a large aperture. Tilting the plane creates an area of sharp focus in the picture, also called ‘selective focus’, directing the viewer’s attention to a small part of the image while de-emphasizing other areas.

With the evolution of digital photography this technique can be easily achieved in post processing. It affords greater flexibility when choosing the sharp region and more control over the amount of blur for the out of focus regions. The digital process has created endless possibilities and its most popular application is a new technique called ‘miniature faking’. Miniature faking uses life-size locations or objects and makes them look like a photograph of miniature scale models. The effect is best achieved with photographs taken from a high angle and can be further enhanced by increasing contrast and adding color saturation.

My obsession with the Tour de France has prompted me to try this technique on a couple of photographs from the race with hopes of applying the tilt-shift effect to my filmmaking endeavors.


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