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30 Extraordinary Black & White Tilt-shift Photos

Tilt-shift is a powerful photographic technique used most often to make large objects appear miniature in size. The best tilt-shift photography can be achieved using expensive lenses, like the Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8, which costs over $1,000, but there are cheaper alternatives for the more needy photographer. It’s possible to produce a tilt-shift ‘fake’ by blurring the outside of an image in Photoshop and increasing contrast and saturation. Online tools like TiltShift Generator and imimux (both available as iPhone apps) and freeware like GIMP can be used to much the same effect.

Sadly, with so many photographers competing to make their images the tiniest, few are looking beyond their preoccupation with miniaturisation to explore the other benefits of tilt-shift. Don’t get me wrong, tilt-shift miniatures are amazing, and I’ve included some brilliant examples below, but the technique is capable of so much more.

Black and white tilt-shift images, which are surprisingly uncommon, have a classic, vintage quality that can be truly stunning. You’ll find 30 of the best below!

Urban Landscapes

Tilt-shift photography is perfectly suited to capturing urban landscapes. Huge skyscrapers can be dwarfed to more manageable sizes and extra definition can be given to buildings that might otherwise be lost within vast cityscapes. The following photos have been captured around the world, from Hong Kong to Paris.

1. Paris


Image: monsieurlam

2. Chicago


Image: Christian & Cie

3. Shanghai


Image: Creeper-Sleeper

4. Hong Kong


Image: wenzday01

5. Chicago


Image: smaedli

6. Saigon


Image: Un rosarino en Vietnam

7. Market


Image: nrtphotos

8. Knoxville


Image: Chuck Johnson

Vehicles

Men love tiny vehicles – in fact, many never really grow out of Scalextric, Hornby trains, Micro Machines and Hot Wheels. This goes some way towards explaining the wealth of tilt-shift photos of vehicles out there. Some of the most interesting have been included below.

9. Sea Plane


Image: baldheretic

10. Digger


Image: nrtphotos

11. Car Park


Image: nrtphotos

12. Airport Monorail


Image: Click.Develop.Repeat Photography

13. Toy Truck


Image: Lawrence Whittemore

14. Train


Image: nono fara

15. Beach Life


Image: nrtphotos

Roads

The following batch of images clearly demonstrates the versatility of the tilt-shift method. While ‘610 @ Post Oak 1’ is a classic miniature, ‘Snowy Road’ looks like an image from a bygone era while ‘On The Move’ has a real cinematic flair.

16. Snowy Road


Image: nrtphotos

17. Snowy Road


Image: nrtphotos

18. Woodland Road


Image: nrtphotos

19. Manhattan Street


Image: joaquimb

20. 610 @ Post Oak 1


Image: baldheretic

Rural Landscape

Tilt-shift photography is dominated by images of urbanity, so it’s great to see some rural scenes too. ‘Greek Coastline’, below, is a particularly effective miniature and ‘Shifting Storm’ really captures the power of a dark, tumultuous sky.

21. Country Path


Image: nrtphotos

22. Shifting Storm


Image: stumayhew

23. Fence


Image: nrtphotos

24. Heritage Acres


Image: nrtphotos

25. Greek Coastline


Image: mtoynbee

26. Graveyard


Image: spondle

Nature

Making images of nature appear miniature can be difficult. Without a building or vehicle in shot, it’s hard for the viewer to get a sense of scale. For this reason, very few people use the tilt-shift method when photographing the natural world, which is a shame, considering how successful these images are, whether they look miniature or not.

27. Bedrock


Image: BAlvarius

28. Playas Valley, New Mexico


Image: BAlvarius

29. Free Flying


Image: Jesse Kruger

30. Flower


Image: Jim Blob Blann

About the author:

Tom is a huge tech and gadget geek with a broad range of interests including travel, art and design. Much of his time is spent blogging on CreativeCloud but he also enjoys writing for other blogs in the design niche.

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  • User Gravatar Stephen
    September 23rd, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    There is an Australian artist that makes tilt-shift videos

    They are simply brilliant.

  • User Gravatar Tom Walker
    September 23rd, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    @Stephen – Thanks for sharing the link, those are absolutely amazing!

  • User Gravatar louis gubitosi
    September 23rd, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Very cool post … I love how these images look so miniature.

  • User Gravatar BAlvarius
    September 24th, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Thanks for show casing 2 of the low level aerial photographs I have created, it is always good to get feedback on the work.

  • User Gravatar Detroit Web Design
    September 24th, 2009 at 4:36 am

    These are pretty interesting. I think the angle needs to be different in some of those photos to create a convincing effect.

  • User Gravatar BebopDesigner
    September 24th, 2009 at 4:57 am

    Brilliant collection! I’d like to learn how to do this just as flawless as these guys. Very inspiring, very cool.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • User Gravatar Kayla
    September 24th, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Tilt-shift photos are quickly becoming my favorite form of photography. If only I could afford a decent camera at the moment I could try doing some myself. 😛

  • User Gravatar craig
    September 24th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    doesn’t seem to have the same impact as the colour ones – i think the saturated colours really make the effect!

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