Tilt-shift photography is easily one of the most interesting genres, but working with tilt-shift lenses tends to be tricky. With creativity, the right lens, and the right techniques, you’ll be able to effectively transform a scene into a miniature scale model. Today’s photography cheat sheet should be able to help you get the best snaps in your next practice.
The cheat sheet below, by Canon, outlines some quick tips for shooting with tilt-shift lenses like the Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L II. Whether you’re just getting started with this specialized photography or a little further along, these tips should help you get some eye-catching results.
First, make sure to use a tripod, which Canon noted is a necessity for precise shooting with tilt-shift lenses. For best results, shoot at a good vantage point where you can capture sweeping scenes from above, but not from directly overhead. A balcony or roof deck several floors up would be a great choice. To get the miniaturized effect, point the camera down while tilting the lens up — this technique is precisely where the name of the technique comes from.
Adjust the tilt function of the lens to experiment with selective focus. The tilt function of the lens, as Canon explains in this guide, inclines the lens at an angle. This allows you to adjust the area in focus in a way that isn’t possible with your usual lens. So, with a tilt-shift lens, you can also capture an image with a lot of depth by ensuring that everything from the foreground is in focus.
Apart from the tilt function, the shift function of the lens will also allow you to achieve more advanced techniques, most notably removing the perspective distortion we typically see when photographing buildings using conventional lenses. Adjusting the shift dial will allow you to keep the lines of any buildings parallel. Learn more about this technique in the guide mentioned above.
Lastly, try getting extra creative by shooting panoramas using the tilt-shift lens. You can do this by shooting a series of shifted photos which can be stitched together in post. Your tripod will come handy with this!
Need more photography tips and tricks like this? Don’t forget to check out our photography cheat sheet collection to find more that will come in handy for your next shoot or project!