Tilt-shift lenses come with a slightly steeper learning curve than traditional DSLR lenses, so don’t expect to have your technique mastered right out of the box. “The first time I used my tilt-shift lens I was frustrated for the first month or two,” says Piealge. “It took a lot of experimenting to learn how it worked. You really need to get it in your hands, shoot with it, and make a lot of mistakes. That’s the best way to learn.”
As you explore the lens, don’t combine the tilt and shift functions right off the bat. Instead, experiment with them one at a time to get familiar with how they work independently. Because tilt-shift lenses are all manual focus, you’ll need to spend more time dialing in your composition and setting up your shot. “I think the biggest challenge is slowing down your process and making sure your focus is locked in,” says Ulivieri. “You have to be really deliberate about what you’re trying to achieve.”
No matter what kind of photos you want to take or how experienced you are, tilt-shift lenses offer something new for every photographer. “There are so many different ways to use tilt-shift photography. I think people are still figuring out different ways to get creative with these lenses,” says Piealge.
Now that you know the ins and outs of tilt-shift lenses, get ready to enjoy the process and discover all the different kinds of creative photos you can make with this powerful tool.