2019 WEEK 41: Fake Miniature / Tilt Shift

This week, we’ll experiment with creating “Fake Miniatures“: A photo that makes the object look like a miniature, small scale model, when it’s actually a large, full-sized object. (This is also known as the “Tilt Shift” effect.) This effect is accomplished by selectively blurring the photo, which simulates the very narrow depth of field that you would see on a macro photo. In other words, it tricks your eyes into thinking you’re looking at a small-scale macro photo, when it’s actually a full sized subject.

Let’s start with a couple of examples:

biG miNiaTURe wOrLd – Sippanont Samchai

In this first example, the cars look like tiny models or children’s toys. Even the people appear to be plastic figures, rather than real people. The reason it seems this way is the very narrow depth of field. (I.e., only a very small portion of the image– around the yellow taxi– is in focus, with the rest blurred.) This makes the photo look like a small scale macro photo. The effect is enhanced because we’re looking down at the scene from above, as you would do when looking at a scale model.

Tilt Shift – 2nd attempt – drew_anywhere

Here’s another great example: The house, lawn, and street all look like a tiny scale model. Again, the very narrow focus (centered about the lawn) makes the photo look like a miniature model. The bright colors add to the effect.

Your challenge for this week is to take a photograph that shows the “Fake Miniature” effect. You can use anything you want as you subject, and can use any software (or in-camera features) that you like. As always, creative, out of the box ideas are welcomed and encouraged 🙂

Getting Started

Following are some helpful links and suggestions to help you get started:

  • Snapseed (Mobile App) Tutorial: Snapseed is a great mobile app, available for free on either iOS or Android platforms. Here’s a very helpful tutorial that shows the process from beginning to end: Tilt Shift [Miniature effect] in Snapseed
  • Photoshop Tutorial #1: Another good video that shows the effect created in Adobe Photoshop. Even if you don’t plan to use Photoshop, the video provides some very good info and suggestions on how the technique works in general: Photoshop Tutorial: TILT-SHIFT Effect
  • Photoshop Tutorial #2: This (simpler) tutorial shows how to use the built-in “Tilt Shift” filter in Photoshop CC: Photoshop CC Tilt-Shift Effect
  • When we look at small scale models, we often look at them from above. (Looking down into a dollhouse, etc.) As such, it’s helpful if your photo is looking down onto your subject, from above.
  • Similarly, small scale models tend to be painted in bright, bold colors. As such, some additional color saturation and/or contrast to your image can help the effect.

The Challenge

  • Take a photograph and edit it to show the “Fake Miniature” (aka “Tilt Shift”) effect.
  • Post your newly taken photo during the week of Sunday, October 6 and Saturday, October 12.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo?” or “why did this photo catch my eye?” Thank you!

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2019photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2019 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About Eric Minbiole

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with anything technical– electronics, computers, cameras, gadgets, etc. Growing up, I loved taking things apart to see what was inside. While I couldn’t always put things back together, I loved trying to figure out how things work. Because of my love for all things technical, I pursued a degree in Electrical Engineering, and currently work as a Software Engineer. I’ve been fascinated with photography ever since borrowing my parents 110 film camera when I was young. It’s been a great hobby ever since: I love experimenting with photos, and trying new things. I especially love technical and/or trick photography. (“Gimmicks!”, as my wife jokingly calls them 😉 ) While I’m comfortable with the technical side of how to shoot, I struggle more with the artistic side of what to shoot in the first place. This is one reason I quite enjoy this group: There are fun, interesting ideas each week. I joined PhotoChallenge as a participant in 2014, and am amazed at how much this group has helped me learn. Each week, I look forward to the fun, creative challenges that Steve, Trevor, Gary, and Jeremy put together. Most importantly, the weekly challenges give me the motivation to get out there and take photos each week. (Otherwise, I suspect my camera might be gathering dust on the shelf.) As well, interacting with the fantastic members of the group– discussing suggestions, techniques, what works, what doesn’t– has been an invaluable help. I am absolutely thrilled to join the PhotoChallenge team– I’ve learned so much from the group, and hope that I can give back a little bit. If you’d like to see some of my photos, please check out my flickr page.