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Build & Shoot: Tilt and Shift Lenses

Lesson 8 from: DIY Photography: Lens Attachments, Filters & Creative Effects

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

8. Build & Shoot: Tilt and Shift Lenses

Lesson Info

Build & Shoot: Tilt and Shift Lenses

- [Instructor] Tilt and shift photography so you can buy a tilt and shift lens. And they're used primarily for architectural photography or for landscape photography. And the idea with one of these lenses is the lens tilts forward or tilts up, and it allows more of the photo to be in focus. So you could get this really impressive, almost infinite look for the depth of field. Also, we use some of these types of lenses to correct perspective on architectural photography. So a lot of times you'll use your shift and you'll move it up or down, and you'll get the buildings to like either look like they're really falling over or for the edges to be straight. Well, these lenses are not cheap. They're very expensive, you know? The Nikon and Canon versions are multi-thousands of dollars. One of the effects, though, that you can get is to do the tilt and the shift incorrectly to kind of force this blurry look to the photograph, right? So imagine...let's go to the presentation notes here. Imagine ...

that you're in Iceland standing at the tower there in Iceland, the church tower, and you're photographing down. Well, a tilt and shift lens, you could actually untilt it or tilt at the incorrect way and then the foreground becomes blurry as well as the background becomes blurry, and it looks like it was taking like in a miniature environment. Kind of looks like it was a little train station or a little train set or something along those lines. So what I want to show you now is how to basically duplicate that effect back to our Vaseline filter, all right? So I'm going to show that. I probably won't shoot our model for this one. I'll probably just shoot the flower just to show how this looks on a flower arrangement. So let me show you the tilt and shift effect with Vaseline and a filter. All right, so for this one, I've got... Oh, where did my other...oh, there it is, my other filter. So it's basically the same filter as before. I'm just starting with the new one just for the heck of it. I could just wipe off the petroleum jelly on the last one, but we'll start with this one. I'm going to use this lens, which is my 24 to 70, and for this one, I'm actually going to apply it when the filter is screwed onto the lens so I can get the orientation correct. Now, get on there. Maybe it' get what you pay for, remember that. Twelve dollar filter from Amazon. There we go. I got it. All right, so it's screwed on there, and I'm just looking at the lens and this is the top of the lens. So what I want to do is when I put the Vaseline or the petroleum jelly on there, I want to leave a little slit in the middle that's unaffected by this. Okay? So I want to make sure this doesn't roll off. I'll put it there in that little slot. Grab a little petroleum jelly, and can you guys see that okay? All right. And again, I'm just going to make sure I'm exactly at the top. And I'm guessing, right? I'm guessing. Remember this is a full frame camera that I'll be shooting on, so I may not get it exactly perfect. And I just realized what I might want to do here is apply the petroleum jelly lightly in the middle and more densely towards the edge. So I probably should have done that the opposite way. I'll do it on the other side the correct way. And the reason why is because I want it to be sharpest in the middle and blurriest towards the edge. So I'm going to start with the most gunk down below. Gunk, and go lighter gunk as we move up. Okay, cool. All right, let's do a quick test here. Wipe this off. I think for this one we can do live view. So I'll do the live view camera and show it in real time in the studio. Which one's live view? That one. I'm just going to bring this over to the flowers. I think this pack will be able to move with me. Yeah. I'll use the colorful roses for this one. So the thought process, what's going through my mind right now, is, basically, I want like...let's do it this way. I want like this rose to be in focus, and this other stuff way back here just to go blurry really fast. This is the antithesis of high depth of field, super low depth the field. Okay, I hit live view and we'll see what that looks like. Oh yeah, so we're starting to see some of that blur happen. Let me focus on that rose right there. And so even though that you know a limited depth of field causes the foreground and the background to go blurry, the haze, not the haze but the petroleum jelly on there really increases that effect and you can see it especially on the top up here. You can definitely see that going blurry and down here as well. And right there it goes blurry very quickly very fast. So I'm liking the looks of that. Let me just modify, in real time, let me modify that. I'm going to bring down the filter effect a little bit closer towards the middle. There's a lot of blur right there. Cool. All right. So know you can kind of see what that looks like. I'll move the flowers around so you get a feel for what it might look like in a different orientation. All right, now if you were photographing, let's say you were photographing something like a train set or even a landscape... Let me take a photo of the room. Keep it on live view. I'm going to move the camera back a little bit, and I'm just going to photograph off this way. And yes it does look blurry. Let me focus it. Here you go. I'm just doing it manual focus. And really the way you want this to work is you want something close in the foreground. So let me rearrange. I'm going to move the camera over here closer to the table again and have, I'm out of cable. It's okay. I'll do this. So here's my nice drill and my cell phone and some flowers here in the background. And so I'm just trying to set this up so it looks like a miniature set. Let's do this. Pull one of these roses out and put that down here. Cool. Okay, so this is definitely the engineer's set. Got a flower, a rose to represent the love of my life. And then the other love of my life: the drill. Fantastic. And the idea is here if I had a little bit longer lens or whatever, you're kind of creating yourself a little miniature environment with the tilt and shift. I should probably get the camera down closer, but I'm a little bit out of cable. That's all right. So the idea is this is in focus or that's in focus and then everything else rapidly goes out of focus. So like if your kids have little lego sets or if you're photographing in the kitchen with the food, you can create this miniature set effect using this method. So do it yourself tilt and shift using Vaseline and a filter. - [Woman] I just had a quick question from Photomaker which was, "Besides using that Vaseline filter on the filter, again, should we shoot in a particular angle of view to get that miniature scene effect? Again, is that always a consideration? - Yeah. Lower angle, yeah, and what that lower angle of view does is that it, again, increases kind of that out of focus effect. So if I could have got it closer to this table, we would have seen it a little bit lower. The foreground becomes really blurry. The background becomes really blurry, and then you have this little strip that's in focus. That's the effect that we're after.

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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

It's a fun course, with a lot of interesting ideas presented in a way to help spark the creative juices in anyone wanting to branch out and experiment with different ideas. Mike's presentation style is fun and easygoing - perfect for this type of discussion. If you're not afraid to color outside the lines and see where the road takes you, this is a very enjoyable bit of inspiration.


Love it!! Very creative and full of inspiration. Mike Hagen explains the different effects in a great way, he is precise yet easy-going so he makes learning fun. I recommend this class to all who wants to take their creative photography to the next level without spending money on expensive accessories.


Mike has an easy-going, pleasant & fun personality. He explains things clearly. Rolls with whatever happens. And, he's very good about answering audience questions in an understandable, positively reinforcing and non-judgemental way (which can be rare for some established pro photographers...).

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