HDR and Tiltshift Autotune Photography

Autotune is everywhere in popular music.  What was once the novelty signature sound of Cher‘s hit Believe a decade ago and then spun into a huge selling iTunes app by T-Pain is now the calling card of Usher, Ke$ha, Britney and the Black Eyed Peas. It’s at a point where even the news seems better when filtered through autotune.

And now the trendy, gimicky sugar coated goodness is making it’s way into photography.  What autotuning is to music, tilt shifting and HDR is to imagery and with the new features just a click away in the iPhone, get ready to see a lot more of it.

As with autotune, these new photography gimicks are tricks that, if done right, add depth and vividness to an image.  Done wrong, as with music, and it’s just painful to watch.


Tilt shifting takes a narrow range in the center of the image and pulls it into focus, blowing out the rest of the image as blurry.  If done right, you can take a wide shot and make it appear to be a tight shot of something in miniature.

An upgrade to Instagram’s iPhone app added the tilt shift feature this past week, so get ready to see it in a lot more places.

While there are many great tilt shifting photos, one of my favourite applications of the trick turns Whistler Village in to a buzzing village of tiny little ants.


HDR stands for high dynamic range photography.  A series of photos are taken at incremental f-stops exposing varying levels of light in one photo.  Where a sky would normally be blown out or a corner be lost in shadow, all is now seen when the images are masked together.   

HDR is starting to pop up more since it is now an option built into the camera in your iPhone, but be careful how you use it.  The HDR images are not shot all at once, but rather right after each other.  Using a tripod will get the best results otherwise you could see some blur in your final result.

Tyler Ingram is a photographer friend from Vancouver. Check out his HDR application of the Olympic Cauldron at the top of this piece. Here is more of his HDR photography.

As with many things in life, just because everyone can doesnt mean everyone should.  These are highly addictive and gimicky camera tricks that need to be employed in the right situation, not as a filter on every single image on your Facebook page.

Here are some places to get tips and tricks to get your HDR and tilt shifting on track.

Tiltshiftmaker – photo ideas that work best using tilt shift
Visual Photo Guide – how to make fake miniature scenes
Tilt Shift Photography Photoshop – some tips on achieving the look in Photoshop

Digital Photograpy School debates the pros and cons of HDR
Flickr – discussing tips and tricks in HDR
MacLife – HDR tips for your iPhone 4

catch the buzz … pass it on.

buzz bishop future shop tech blogThis post was originally published at The Future Shop Tech Blog.



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  1. March 14, 2011

    Have you seen this new Mac App from the Icon Factory? http://flareapp.com

  2. […] about popular music. With the rise of autotune, he’s also started to notice a similar trend in photography with HDR and tilt-shift. My Olympus has a “diorama” mode that mimics tilt-shift […]

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