Using trick photography, or specifically the tilt shift effect to take better travel photos

We all like to share our travel adventures with our family and friends by taking lots of photographs of the sights we see. However, we all tend to take photographs that are influenced by what we’ve seen before in travel magazines or postcards. This is simply because we like what we see and will try to recreate that shot when we are actually there. Why not add a twist to it and use trick photography to create something unconventional and interesting with the tilt shift special effect?

Tilt shift, faking miniatures, or diorama effect photos are fun and interesting. They make real-world objects look like miniatures, and give you a sense of how small we really are in this world. It’s like looking at a small-scale model or diorama. Imagine if you are visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy and you climb up high to snap a great photo overlooking the entire structure. You then apply digital trickery to turn it into a tilt shift photo.

This is actually a fake tilt shift photograph because it’s done digitally, and not in-camera. But the point is that you now have a “toy-version” photo of the Colosseum. Repeat this with the various landmarks and you have a great collection of toy landmarks photo to impress your family and friends. You can also give life to your “toy” landmarks by taking multiple tilt shift photos and combine them into an animated image file or video. Not only will you have more interesting stories to tell them about how you got the shot, but your photos are likely to be more interesting than others!

It used to be that to create a these tilt shift effect photos you need a special tilt shift lens that attaches to your camera. They are also called perspective control lens. Their main purpose wasn’t to create miniature or diorama effects but to allow movement of the camera lens independent of the camera film or sensor. This is used by photographers to avoid convergence of parallel lines, so when you photograph a tall building from the ground the base of the building is the same as the top of the building. You see this used a lot in architectural photographs to avoid parallel lines converging to create a distorted look.

When you tilt the lens, you also produce a wedge-shaped depth of field. When you snap a photo from high ground looking below with this wedge-shaped depth of field, the photograph appears with the tilt-shift, miniature, or diorama effect. In fact, although it’s called the tilt-shift effect, shifting of the lens is not really used to achieve it. The good news is that you don’t need this special and expensive piece of equipment to create this tilt shift special effects.

Modern camera technology has moved on and you now have unprecedented freedom to create photographs with these special effects. Technology has simplified everything so all you need is a photo taken from a high ground overlooking a wide area and a wedge-shaped depth of field. The simplest method to do this is to take the photos and upload them onto your computer with Photoshop. You can then either manually apply the depth of field by selectively blurring certain areas of the photos or use a software plug-in to automatically do it for you.

The best camera is the one you always have with you. If you have a modern smart phone you could even create these trick photography and special effects by downloading certain applications dedicated to the tilt shift special effect. You take a photo, fire up the application to digitally insert the special effects and then share it with the world.

There are more great tips and ideas in trick photography and special effects that I share with in my newsletter every week. You also get to download my FREE report on how to immediately improve your travel photos, so click on this link to sign up now!

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