Tilt-shift photography is a technique where the photographer manipulates the camera lens to make life-size objects appear miniature.   Here are a couple examples via Smashing Magazine:

tilt-shift example

tiltshift example

If you don’t have the camera equipment or the know-how to create actual tilt-shift photographs, you can use the lens blur filter in Photoshop to create a faked-yet-realistic alternative.   TUAW walks you through the easy-to-do tutorial.   Warning: if you decided to try this out, prepare to be lost experimenting for hours!

I tried this on, umm, a LOT of my photos. :-)   The trick is to select the right photo.   Some work and some don’t.   I found that aerial shots worked the best, but many landscape photos work well also.   And to really see the effect, make sure you use a large photo.

Before tilt-shift fakery:


After (larger version):


And here are a bunch more.   Stonington, CT (larger version):


Place de Trocadéro, Paris (larger version):


Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris (larger version):


Catalina Island, CA (larger version):


Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ (larger version):


NYC (larger version):


Petrified Forest, AZ (larger version):


Paris (larger version):


In most of these, if I really wanted to fake the effect, I should have tweaked some elements in each. For instance, in the NYC one, the light posts and a couple of the taller people shouldn’t have their tops blurred since they’re on the same depth plane, but for this exercise that’s okay.

Seriously, though, try this out. Turning your photos into miniatures is fun!