An intro to tilt shift lenses!
As an architectural photographer you work either with realtors, architects or do commercial stuff. Realtors are pretty forgiving when it comes to perspective distortion, architects and agencies not so much. See, when you use a wide angle lens and tilt your camera up, buildings get really distorted. That’s were tilt shift lenses come in play!
Don’t deliver distorted images!
Sometimes you want to achieve this kind of look, but in professional architectural photography it’s intended to deliver the image with the correct perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that these tilt shift lenses are freakin expensive and can drain your pocket like having a gold-digger girlfriend.
The downside of fixing distortion in post.
If you don’t have the money yet, you can fix a lot of stuff in post. Photoshop, Lightroom and Capture One can correct the distortion easily. There is a downside though. You will lose a lot of pixels and when the distortion is too much, the correction can look very fake.
There are some situations though, where things get complicated.
Especially for interior shots, like in this image for instance. This fabulous living room has two different levels, I wanted to show in the image. I placed the camera on the platform, to give a downward look and still maintain the amazing outdoor view. Shooting from downstairs in the opposite direction was no option cuz there weren’t any big windows to deliver the same pleasing view. If I had tilted my camera down with such a lens, the room would have looked really distorted and my client wouldn’t have been very happy.
Using the shift function on my „Canon 24mm TSE L“ lens to frame my image worked like a charm.
Don’t go to wide.
90% of the time I shot my interiors with 24mm focal length and the other 10% with the 17mm, which is often too wide for my taste and will distort close objects significantly. Because the tilt shift lenses are prime lenses I recommend using an extender when you need to zoom in. It saves you tons of money and in architectural photography aren’t that many situations where you would need a telephoto tilt shift lens.
Invest in lenses first.
I can stress this enough but invest in good glass first, before you go for a fancy body. Seriously, I made so many good pictures with my „Canon EOS 650D“ body, which weren’t possible with the proper lenses though. In 4 years of working as a professional photographer, I used 3 different camera body’s but still work with the same lenses. Think about it!
– Dominik Berg –