Miniaturize It: Fun with Tilt-Shift Photography

It’s a big, big world—but you can make it look downright tiny with the right photography tools and techniques. Miniaturization of scenes using tilt-shift focus is one of those special photography effects we don’t see in our shop that often, probably because it’s a bit whimsical and not something you can do (or want to do) with just any subject. It always makes us do a double-take, making life-sized subjects appear to be small replicas of the real deal. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell if it’s a miniature or not.

Thanks to photo-editing software and apps, you don’t even need to use a tilt-shift lens to get the job done. You just need to photograph your subject from a fair distance (think top of a mountain, second story of a home, or across a river). The image below was taken by an amateur photographer using her Android camera. It was such a ho-hum photo, with a wall intruding on the left, that she was just going to delete it:

Tilt Shift Photography


Then she realized that, because it was taken at some distance, it might make for a good tilt-shift photograph. So, she edited the image in the free Snapseed app, using the app’s Tilt-Shift filter:

Tilt Shift Photography


Kind of cute, no? A boost in brightness, contrast, and color saturation tends to exaggerate the dollhouse effect and make the image seem more fantastical. (The ability to fiddle with all of those things is built right into the Tilt-Shift filter on Snapseed.)

If you have any not-so-awesome photos sitting around on your SD card or computer, why not take a look and see if you could breathe new life into them with a little tilt-shift treatment?  We’d love to see what you create!




Recycling Vintage Photographs

Oil paints, pastel chalks, watercolors, clay, vintage photographs—one of these things is not like the others. Right? Wrong. Vintage photographs are more and more being used as a medium for creating new works of art. Of course, any photograph can be used in this way, but there’s something particularly riveting about a vintage black-and-white photograph re-imagined as a new work of art:

Vintage Photograph as Work of Art

Chilean mixed-media artist Jose Romussi creates works from vintage photographs and thread.

Have you ever considered creating new artworks from your own piles of old family photographs? For many people, this would have been an unthinkable offense before the advent of photo restoration services. But with the ability to restore vintage photos as well as produce multiple prints of them, you now have infinite freedom to experiment with unique ways to display them. You can use their original beauty without worrying about ruining your original copies.

Vintage Photographs Re-Imagined

American Artist Mary Daniel Hobson tore the edges of these vintage photographs before bottling them into a triptych.
She explains that the torn edges symbolize the fragmentary nature of memory.

Delicate Vintage Photographs

And you thought a vintage photo was delicate:
British Artist Louise Richardson transferred vintage images to feathers.

Hey, it’s a photograph. It can be reproduced ad nauseum. Which means you can experiment ad nauseum. Which means you can let your imagination run wild. Which means your box of old black-and-white snapshots is a little like a new box of crayons to a kid. What will you create?

Spring into Colorful Monochromatic Photographs

When people hear the term monochromatic photography, their minds tend to fly to grayscale or black-and-white images. Indeed, that’s the most notorious form, but have you ever experimented with colorful monochromatic photography? Since any photo that uses one color with either black or white is monochromatic, you can really have a heyday with it. This delicious effect can be achieved easily by desaturating a photo to black and white and then adjusting the color balances in a photo-editing program like Adobe Photoshop Elements.Monochromatic Photographs

Monochromatic Photographs

Yet there’s another way to achieve the monochromatic photo or at least something approaching it. That is to choose a monochromatic subject or create a monochromatic composition. Food makes a great tool for this kind of project. Think heaps of apples or rows of shucked corn.

Monochromatic Photographs

The natural world can be wonderful for it, too!

Monochromatic Photographs

Monochromatic Photographs

Don’t these pictures just make you itch for the lushness of April and May? Get your cameras ready. Spring’s zenith is just around the corner, and we’d love to see some of your very own monochromatic compositions from the natural world as it continues to reawaken—from the green grass to the happy yellows of wild primrose to the downy whites of flowering serviceberry trees.

Show us what you’ve got! Share your photos with us on our Facebook page!

Digital Scanning to Keep Time from Stealing Your Memories

Fess up. You have a pile of yellowing pictures somewhere in your house. Maybe they’re in a box under your bed. Maybe they’re in a file cabinet in your basement. Or are you one of those people who at least put them in a photo album a million moons ago? (Are you letting clear plastic overlay be the only thing standing between them and the ravages of time?)

There is something really lovely about being able to hold a memory in your hand. That’s what prints offer. And as I’ve written in the past, I just don’t think you can fully appreciate a photo until it’s turned into a print you can touch, pass around, display, and so on. Yet there’s a flip side to that coin: If the only version you have of an image is the print, then you risk losing that photo. Literally speaking, you could misplace it, but I’m talking in the figurative sense here. Pictures obviously tend to deteriorate over time if not handled with kid gloves (or museum curator gloves, more accurately).

Scan Photos to Digital

I think it’s so important to take the time to make digital copies of old photographs. You don’t have to sit at a scanner for days on end to do it, scanning one picture after another into digital files. It’s actually a quick and painless process, especially if you let us take care of it for you. We offer a “by-the-box” deal for photo scanning that’s become extremely popular. For $169, you can get about 1,500 photos scanned to disc. That’s about a dime per print. It’s certainly much more affordable than waiting until it’s too late and having to pay for restoration. We can also do high-resolution scans of film—both positive and negative. Let us help you make quick work of that pile we know you’re hiding in your house!