How To Use a Tilt Shift Lens for Food Photography

When it comes to food and product photography, there are a few lenses that are ideal to have in your kit. One of these is a tilt-shift lens.

A tilt-shift lens is a specialty lens. It will allow you to work with the depth-of-field and perspective in your photos in a creative way.

Tilt-Shift lenses are often used in architectural photography. They solve issues with perspective control.

Read on to find out more about how tilt-shift lenses work. And how to use them for shooting food and product photography.

What Is a Tilt-Shift Lens?

The commercial product and still life photographers use tilt-shift lenses all the time. In fact, a lot of commercial food photographers rely heavily on a tilt-shift lens.

They can be quite pricey, but worth the investment if you need to use them often.

So what is a tilt-shift lens? It’s a lens that can be tilted or shifted in a wide range of directions, relative to the image sensor. They give you a wider image circle than a traditional one.

Essentially, they are like a medium format camera. They give you the ability to use different portions of the lens.

A traditional lens doesn’t see exactly as the human eye. But the perspective it offers is pretty close to what we see.

A tilt-shift lens opens up various other possibilities. You can have a focal length that runs through many different distances. All without blurring out the other parts of the scene.

In a regular lens, your plane of focus is parallel to your camera’s sensor. This affects what will be in focus. Anything that is at the same distance as your subject will appear sharp.

The focal plane and depth-of-field fall on distance and will depend on your selected aperture. This is why when you shoot at wide apertures (small f/stop numbers) you have a very thin depth-of-field.

Wherever you place your focus, this is the line in your image where everything is in focus.

A tilt-shift lens allows you to control the convergence of parallel lines and the plane-of-focus. You can shoot two subjects at two different distances, instead of just one.

How Does a Tilt Shift Lens Work?

A tilt shift lens allows you to do two things:

  • the tilt function allows you to change the plane-of-focus to no longer be parallel to the sensor.
  • the shift function adjusts your subject’s position in the image without you having to move the camera.

With these two functions, you can use a tilt-shift lens to shoot your subject at its most flattering angle. You control how much you include in the frame without changing the camera angle or distance.

Being able to control the plane-of-focus allows for sharp focus in the foreground. And the background objects remain out of focus.

Tilt-shift lenses also give you more control over your image’s depth of field. With a traditional lens, anything at the same distance as the subject will be in focus. These elements are on the same focal plane.

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