I’ve always had a soft spot for tilt-shift lenses and although I’ve rented them over the years, I’ve not yet owned one. If you’ve arrived at photography in recent years and gone straight to mirrorless, you might wonder what a tilt-shift lens is.

A tilt-shift lens or perspective control lens has the ability to change position in relation to a camera’s image sensor. When the lens tilts so that it is no longer parallel to the camera’s image sensor, it shifts the plane of focus and alters the depth of field.

They can be used to minimise distortion when photographing buildings and they have many creative possibilities. They allow you to play with depth of field and choose which part of your frame is in focus. They are expensive to buy (hence why I never owned one), and there is yet to be one native to mirrorless so you would need an adapter to try one. They are a challenge to get right but when you do, the results can be ever so sweet.

Like this image from Amy Faith. She has used the tilt-shift to create very minimal DOF at both the bottom and the top of her frame. The couple’s faces are sharp and turned towards the light. Their obvious joy also elevates this image and makes it just a very joyous composition. Please someone make a TS for Sony!??

Canon 5DMKIV | 45mm tilt shift | f/2.8 | 1/800 | ISO 250

own preset

What Amy Said…

“The bride and groom were very keen to shun tradition and chose to do a first look and all of their portraits BEFORE the ceremony. They went to university in York so taking time to shoot around the town centre was very important to them. After a few photo opportunities (and stopping all of the tourists in their tracks down the famous Shambles), we also had time to shoot at their favourite coffee shop and buy some iced coffees. While we wandered back to Grays Court Hotel sipping our coffees I was keen to find some shade for our next portraits (due to the direct overhead sun and heatwave). It was then that we happened upon a very pretty merry-go-round nestled amongst some well-positioned trees.

Because we had a lot more time to shoot the couple portraits (we had 1 hour shooting time instead of the usual mid-wedding 30 mins), I took the opportunity to grab my tilt-shift for the merry-go-round images. The tilt-shift lens usually needs a bit of time to work with as it’s completely manual focus, but all of the beautiful bokeh it added from the lights on the merry-go-round was definitely worth the extra work. Due to the sun being almost completely overhead at this point, the light was filtering down through a gap in the trees, which can create shadow problems on faces, however, I had the couple turn their heads to their left where the sunlight was reflecting off a nearby white building which gave me the light source I needed to illuminate their faces.”