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Gear & Apps

Tilt Shift Effects – Tips and Tricks to Getting the Look with LensBaby

By Hanssie on March 24th 2014

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following post is sponsored and brought to you by LensBaby].

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Tilt shift effects have been showing up more often in photographers’ work recently, but it’s not always clear how they achieved the look. Was it with a large format camera, a tilt shift lens, through free lensing, software, Instagram, or with a Lensbaby? We’re proud to offer what we think is the best way to create this effect, and here we’ll briefly explain why.

Edge80_CompProThe Lensbaby Composer Pro with Edge 80 optic is a lens that tilts on a ball and socket to give you a slice of focus through your image, essentially creating the same effect as a tilt shift lens, or of an old bellows camera where you can change the plane of focus. You can isolate you subject while smoothly blurring out the rest of the image. You can also get two subjects at different distances in focus at the same time, or even get a miniature effect. The Lensbaby does these things with some advantages over other methods of achieving the same type of effect.

First of all, it’s simpler and cheaper than using a true tilt shift lens or view camera with bellows. These cameras and lenses can be very technical, and easily cost thousands of dollars.  This type of lens is great for architectural photography, but for everyday use they may not be ideal.


Next, it’s much easier and less risky than free lensing (shooting photos with the lens detached from the camera). If you’ve ever tried this method, you know how difficult it can be, and you definitely know that there’s a good chance you will get dust on your sensor.

Finally, it looks better than mimicking the effect in software, and it gives you more time behind the camera and less time in front of your computer.

So, how will you use this effect in your work? Will you use it enough to warrant getting the lens?



It’s true that our lenses are specialty lenses, at least to some degree. It’s very likely that you will own other lenses in addition to Lensbaby gear. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t shoot all kinds of things with them, and even use them on every single shoot. With practice, they can excel in any circumstance and really give a uniquely special quality to your photos.

Throughout this post you can see some samples of the various ways that some photographers are using the Edge 80. Portraits, lifestyle, weddings, sports, food, travel, nature, and abstract forms are just a few of the subjects that can look great with this lens. If you’re looking for something different in your photos—something to create a magical feeling—the Composer Pro with Edge 80 is worth trying.

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Lensbaby is running big sale on the Edge 80 right now! Save $100 on either the Composer Pro with Edge 80 or the Pro Effects Kit (Composer Pro, Edge 80 optic, Sweet 35 optic, and Macro Converters), or save $50 on the Edge 80 optic alone. Don’t miss this limited time opportunity, and click here to buy now.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rob Gipman

    Good story guys, had to remake my own DIY tilt-shift from an old Sigma Super Mini-wide 24mm I’ll post some shots with it soon. Here’s one i test made already.

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  2. Maryanne

    Is this an ad or a real article? I need to go through my emails and unsubscribe all this junk mail.

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  3. Sean Tucker

    I think people should be warned that, whilst this is a fun and creative lens, it’s very hard to use on a pro shoot, and has almost such bad chromatic aberration when back lit that it makes it unusable for those kind of shots. Just be warned. Do a bit of research first because I really struggled to get great images (like those above) out of this lens.

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