You might already be familiar with tilt shift; a digital postprocessing effect where a photograph of a life-size location or subject is manipulated to give the illusion that it’s a miniature-scale model. The first time I ever tried to use tilt shift it looked like I had a dirty great big smear across my camera lens. For some unknown reason the second time I tried, the outcome was even worse.

Therefore, when I first came across the work of Melbourne based photographer Ben Thomas and his series of photos titled City Shrinker, I was a little bit in awe – there wasn’t a smudgy camera lens in sight, and it just shows how a so-called gimmicky editing tool suddenly becomes something very cool and entirely more interesting. Can you spot the cities pictured below?

If you’re interested in trying out this effect and have been inspired by Ben’s work, I’ve got a few hits/cheats for you:

  1. Close-up shots of one or more subjects rarely work well, generally photos of scenes work much better for tilt shift
  2. To create a good miniature effect for your photographs try and shoot subjects from a high angle, especially from up in the air
  3. Limited depth of view is a good thing in the world of tilt shift so keep the aperture as wide open as possible
  4. This comprehensive photoshop tutorial explains how to create the effect step by step at home in front of your computer
  5. Or why not cheat and use this automatic online tool to create an instant mini city scape

For more tips look here. Whatever your tilt shift style or outcome, remember to share your pictures via the Travelettes flickr group when you’ve finished editing.


lorna stokes This post was written by Lorna Stokes, part of the travelettes team from 2009 to 2013. Originally from the UK but currently based in Brussels after stints in Canada, Peru, Italy and a job for the French military, she’s always had an unquenchable thirst for exploring new places! She’s still travelling the world with her family so catch up with her adventures on Instagram & Twitter.