Flickr Find | Miniature Fakery | A Continuous Lean.

Flickr Find | Miniature Fakery

Jan 14th, 2009 | Categories: Flickr Find | by Michael Williams

While I’m generally very turned off by HDR images, I have been obsessed as of late with tilt-shift miniature faking. The effect makes normal images look like perfectly composed models. Some beautiful examples below.









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Comments: 25

25 Comments to “Flickr Find | Miniature Fakery”

  1. Trip Fontaine
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 12:12 PM

    It may not be HDR but this is awful, sensational photography just the same – it requires little of the viewer and is a one trick pony – hardly sustainable.

    While there may have been others before him, I believe it was a Japanese photographer (name eludes me) that popularised this aesthetic – the style was rapidly emulated bringing the short lifespan of a visual trend to its death.

    Sorry to get morbid on you ACL – keep up the good work with the rest of the blog.

  2. Sean
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 1:43 PM

    Ben Thomas @ cityshrinker does nice work also.

  3. robbie
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 1:57 PM

    Whoa, I enjoyed these images; thanks for sharing.

  4. chasingmoss
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 2:08 PM

    For they DYI types, the latest issue of Photography magazine includes a walk through of how to do this yourself.

  5. Peter
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 2:29 PM

    Online tilt-shift image maker

  6. Erik Avram Sälgström Peterson
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 4:34 PM

    These particular images don’t appear to have been crafted with HDR technique, but the level of exposure range created with HDR would be interesting to see in model fakes.

  7. Rob
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 4:35 PM

    just saw an exhibit on illusion photography at the Met. Some photographers are able to do it in a manner where it is every bit a work of art.

    i can’t remember the guys name, but he uses old toy soldiers along with false perspective to create realistic battle scenes in b&w.

  8. sam
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 4:53 PM

    Yeah Rob, that Met show was great.

    As for this kind of thing being bad… isn’t the history of photography totally intertwined with sensation(alism) and novelty (particularly at the outset) balanced with its documentary possibility? Camera (pony) tricks aren’t inherently awful or artful as anything a camera does is a trick, is techne.

  9. Michael Williams
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 4:59 PM

    Yeah what Sam said! Listen, I’m an idiot when it comes to photography but I like what I like. This works for ACL because I run the joint. Ha.


  10. JP
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 5:09 PM

    I’ve never even heard of this, but I’m hooked. It reminds me of all the miniature scenes in Mister Rogers.


  11. Steve
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 5:33 PM

    I’m not familiar with this type of photography either and I like it…

  12. trip
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 6:27 PM

    Thanks for posting this. I read about this style one time, but had forgotten what it was called. It may be a one trick pony type of shot, but it can create some very interesting and aesthetically pleasing pictures nonetheless.

  13. Marcellus
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 6:44 PM

    So funny you mention this, I just had to create an image this morning that used this technique. For those interested in learning how to produce the image in photoshop, check out:


  14. a paynter
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 6:50 PM

    looks best when shooting 4×5 or 8×10 cameras. achieved through the movements in the bellows. the digi people are manipulating among many other things…..

  15. Ansel Olson
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 8:30 PM

    call me old fashioned but I prefer it done with bellows or a tilt shift lens.

  16. Andy
    on Jan 14th, 2009
    @ 8:56 PM

    Nice example of the real thing here.

  17. giuseppe
    on Jan 15th, 2009
    @ 12:41 AM

    As both an architecture student and the father of a kid who watches a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine, I look at more than my fair share of actual miniatures.

    I’m usually not a fan of digital trickery, but this is fun and cool, so why not. Thanks for an unusual post.

  18. ecstaticist
    on Jan 15th, 2009
    @ 2:47 AM

    Hey Trip, who made you the art police? Why not let people do photography how they like? The audience determines whether they like it of their own accord. The moment of art is out of your control, bud, thank goodness. I suggest you just do your own thing and see if anyone likes it, if that’s what you are aiming for.

  19. coco
    on Jan 15th, 2009
    @ 6:31 AM

    as with all art, it’s done best when there is a purpose behind the technique

  20. invisibleagent
    on Jan 15th, 2009
    @ 9:36 AM

    Tilt Shift is definitely making a huge come back, both Leica and Hasselblad announced they were releasing tilt shift adaptors last summer.

    The technique is based on the Scheimpflug principle; article on wikipedia here:

    Very cool post ACL!

  21. Curt
    on Jan 15th, 2009
    @ 4:35 PM

    It’s interesting to see some of my photos here, and the responses to them. Pictures 2-5, and 7-8 are mine, and if you enjoyed them, I’m glad.

    If you didn’t, that’s fine too, though I don’t understand some of the criticisms, especially those made by Trip.

    It seems to me that you either like an image, or you don’t. How that image came into being, to me, seems irrelevant. The comment “this is awful, sensational photography” could be applied to any image, anywhere, at any time, depending on one’s point of view, right?

    So could the comment, ” it requires little of the viewer and is a one trick pony – hardly sustainable.” These are not valid criticisms, because they merely reflect the personal tastes and biases of the person making the comment, and are unprovable.

    I would have to ask, what should an image require of the viewer? Who sets there requirements?

    Yes, it is a gimmick. It is a trick. It’s all done on a computer. I don’t use a real tilt-shift lens, because they cost a small fortune. We all do what we like with what we can.

    As for art being “done best when there is a purpose behind the technique,” I would have to say that creating art is purpose enough. Again, who cares why it was created? You almost never get the complete story of the artist’s purpose anyway, unless you create it yourself, and even then you might forget, or the reasons may change. So why denigrate something simply because the purpose isn’t clear, or to your liking?

    I can see being critical about the way the technique is applied, or other technical aspects, but merely saying “I hate tilt-shift” or “I hate HDR” means about as much as someone saying “I hate the color red,” or “I hate rap music.” Different strokes for different folks, right?

    Either you like it, or you don’t. That’s art; that’s life. I don’t feel that this technique is dead at all. It’s fun to do, fun to look at (well, for some), and my god, it’s showing up everywhere now.

    The more things you like, the happier you will be. Keep creating, keep having fun. Life is too short to worry about art.

    Thanks everybody. It’s been fun.


  22. Stephen
    on Jan 15th, 2009
    @ 9:30 PM

    Nicely put Curt :)

  23. the lil bee
    on Jan 18th, 2009
    @ 1:16 PM

    The second and sixth photos are completely amazing. Wow. #6 looks like something from Capri actually.

    I’m surprised there’s so much controversy over these photos. Curt, I think they’re beautiful.

  24. ronnie
    on Feb 7th, 2009
    @ 10:29 AM

    Thanks for featuring one of my photographs here; #6 is mine. I agree completely with what Curt has said, so I won’t re-state it (loving #2 Curt). Mine too has been constructed with CS2 trickery (and was my first attempt) – tilt shift lenses are around £1000 and I can’t justify the cost!
    @ the lil bee – the original photograph was taken in Porthleven in Cornwall, UK. The colour has been saturated slightly to add to the illusion of it being a miniature.


  25. Fake Miniature: The Video « A Fine Dram
    on Feb 13th, 2009
    @ 9:41 PM

    [...] Video I really enjoy tilt-shift miniature fakery pictures. Some good examples can be found here. Keith Loutit has taken the form to the next level with tilt-shift video. An example below. More on [...]