30 Images Of Real Cities That Look Like Miniatures

30 Images Of Real Cities That Look Like Miniatures

Shallow depth of field is something we can enjoy when shooting portraits, insects, products and other small and/or close subjects. But when shooting wide shots of landscapes and cities, it's technically pretty much impossible to achieve this effect with our normal day to day lenses (assuming most of you don't carry tilt-shift lenses or tilt adapters). Of course some parts of the image will be out of focus, but the general effect wont be as noticeable as when shooting close subjects with open apertures. This is when Photoshop comes into play. By adding lens blur on the bottom and on the top of the image (and a lot of it), you can transform a normal wide shot of a city into a snow-globe-size-looking city.

To achieve that look you have to start by shooting from an angle that will make sense. There are no rules of course, but some angles work better. The next step is editing your image and fixing the colors. Then all you need to do is gradient-select the bottom and the top of the image and use 'Lens Blur' to blur those areas. To achieve the tilt-shift miniature look you should add a lot of blur. Click here to watch a tutorial on how to do this in Photoshop.

Want to achieve that look in camera? Tilt-Shift lens should be your next purchase.

Fake city..
Photo: Francesco Saponi.

Miniature Blue World
Photo: Katrin Shumakov.

This will be Freedom Tower
Photo: Noam Galai.

Golden Magic of Holiday Season
Photo: Katrin Shumakov.

Blue Hour Lights in Mini-Town
Photo: Katrin Shumakov.

The Little People of Shibuya
Photo: Les Taylor.

MLB - Yankee Stadium - Last Pitch
Photo: Andreas Adelmann.

Miniature Cathedral of Trier
Photo: 55Laney69.

Prague - Old Town Square 2
Photo: Abir Anwar.

Tilt Shift Florence
Photo: Luca.

Photo: Epic Palmer.

Il Duomo, Firenze,  Italy / Fake tilt shift
Photo: Mattie van Rijen.

The Sandpit - Water Treatment
Photo: Sam O'Hare.

Boat Pier in Stockholm
Photo: Fotomax.

Manhattan Bridge, New York City
Photo: Noam Galai

Mini London Stock Exchange
Photo: sick.fiction.

City Hall Miniature
Photo: edwardkb.

Fukushima city miniture
Photo: Pete Leong.

Grand Central, Tilt-Shift Fake, New York City
Photo: Sean Ng.

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Photo: Beau Wade.

Tea Time at QVB Sydney
Photo: Sacha Fernandez.

Focus on Haring
Photo: Christian Senger.

The Glowing City
Photo: moardin.

Photo: Ankhbayar Tumurbaatar.

Experiment 2 : Deck-chairs on the beach
Photo: Ian Robins.

Photo: Ankhbayar Tumurbaatar.

ts fm #3
Photo: Andrew James.

Detroit Tilt
Photo: Mike Lanzetta.

little llerena
Photo: Carlos Julián Martín Carrizosa.

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Scott Bourke's picture

You may want to check your images a little closer. Considering the photo by Sam Javanrouh with the cyclists on the bridge was captured at Miniatur Wunderland and he happily says this in the description of his image on flickr let alone the fact it looks fake

"this time the effect is real. and no tilt-shift lens and no photoshop. this was shot in "miniatur wunderland" in hamburg, germany. if you ever happened to pass through hamburg, I can't recommend enough visiting this amazing huge miniature of a full city, going from day to night with moving vehicles and trains and everything!".

cy sawyer's picture

Ok, So im not losing my mind. I stared at that image for 10 mins thinking. This is either a real miniature or the best damn fake i have ever seen. The cars and cycleists look plastic.

Noam Galai's picture

Thanks for catching this! Not sure how I missed it - the image was removed from the post.

Scott Bourke's picture

No problem. It looked a little to convincing with the cars. ;)

I'm confused how this effect is technically impossible without Photoshop. This is the stereotypical way that people use a tilt-shift lens. I know its not the most useful way to use the lens, but its the way people use it for dramatic effect.

Here is one I took that people have commented on as looking like the above effect only I did not photoshop the image. I simply put a blur at the top of the frame using the instagram tool. Does that qualify as tilt shift? http://instagram.com/p/bdCXMcFrt0/

None of these qualify as tilt shift if they were done in post production.

MAYBE a handful of these look passable.
Just one immediately stood out.
The crappy baseball field image? See Dave Burnett.
Also see ebay or craigslist for a LF view camera and learn the scheimpflug principle.
I suppose if you've never seen the altered plane of focus these look "neat", but when you've seen te real thing over and over... this is a really weak collection you've got here.

so you have a trained eye, move along, don't ruin it for the rest of us rookies..

Had a go myself a while back at http://tinyurl.com/kzyhdq9 although I recently purchased a real PC-E lens which should be fun :)

Would like to see but when I click on it flickr poops out this message: "This photo is private."

Ah, good point. Now changed (long story as to why it was set to private)

looks dumb

Spy Black's picture

Some of these look really good, others OK but still nice. My D5100 has a feature like this built-in, but I've never used it. Not sure if my D600 has it. Might be interesting to stack the effect in-camera to see what happens.