Is My Dutch-Tilt Photo a Hit or Miss?

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#16 brucer007 on 6 years ago

Thanks [U]Diegator[/U]: I think it could be an asset to have a tilt that is not noticeable. It's like watching a movie with music that you did not even notice...That is when music is seamlessly integrated.

The best tilts don't have to make you aware of the tilts in a composition. It can be a subliminal enhancement. They don't always need to be in-your-face. Often, I find tilted shots obnoxious, because the tilt is too extreme for my eyes...and for my neck.

#17 dbchan on 6 years ago

I think I'm starting to learn how to apply the tilt. I'm trying to use it more subtly.


Still a little heavy handed, I think. ^^'

#18 nathancarter on 6 years ago

I very rarely use a tilt, only when I want to make a feeling of discomfort or disorientation. In fact, I usually work to make my horizontals or verticals as straight as possible. Almost every photo is cropped/rotated very slightly to make sure it's level.

I think it has to be evaluated photo-by-photo, but unless there is a strong, legitimate reason to tilt it .... just make it straight.

Here's one recent instance where I used the tilt intentionally.

[url=]DragonCon_20120831_2739.jpg[/url] by [url=]nathancarter[/url], on Flickr

#19 Patcave on 6 years ago

Kill the wabbit! Kill the WABBIT!!!

[url=]IMG_7757-2[/url] by [url=]Patcave[/url], on Flickr

#20 brucer007 on 6 years ago

On Dbchan' photos: I don't mind the tilt much on the window shot, but it seems like she is preventing a falling house from collapsing. The tea kettle photo seems like it might fall off the table.

I like the tilted shot of Nathencarters, the best of the three images. It heightens the action.

Patcave's tilt is very subtle, but it can be seen in the faint horizon-line. I think the tilt adds to the feeling of dominance and vulnerability.

Here is my latest submission for this forum:


#21 TMLiza on 6 years ago

Still a beginner at photography. I'm not sure if this is a good tilt or not.

#22 nathancarter on 6 years ago

In terms of framing the subject, the tilt is fine. It allows you to nicely frame the flowing dress.

However, two other critiques:
1) In portraiture, the background is almost as important as the subject. Look past the subject, what do you see? That pole is killllllling me. Take a half-step to the left and turn slightly to the right, and the pole will be gone. The cars and the building are not so great either, but maybe you couldn't avoid them in this location.

If your lens will do it, a wider aperture (for less DOF) can help make the faraway background elements less distracting.

2. Stay out of direct sun if you can. It makes hard shadows that are hard to work with, and it makes the subject want to squint and wrinkle up their face. Her face is a bit underexposed here, especially where her hair and brow cast a shadow onto her eyes. You can use fill flash or reflector to help mitigate this, or get the subject into the shade.

#23 brucer007 on 6 years ago

@ [U]Touchmon[/U]The tilt does seem to add to the over-all composition, as it brings her head more into the frame, giving it closer to a rule-of-thirds balance with the bottom of her dress. Her stance has her feet close together, so it seems she might fall over from gravity.

The lighting from overhead, seems it was not full on direct sunlight, since it seems a cloud was partially obscuring the sun, which did help make it less harsh. Good timing! It made the texture of the dress come out very nicely, especially on the ruffles trim. Unfortunately, the light on her face and left leg needed some fill-light. A silver reflector aimed at her face and another on her leg would have been a great solution, or having your cosplayer look up toward the sun would get more light on her face. I recommend a profile of her face, so we don't look up her nose.

If you can't frame out the people and cars, etc, using the Photoshop Clone Tool could make them disappear.

Below is my next submission. I did a low angle, so no horizon and no people in the background are seen. I like how the tilt made the lines of the building, her body, and her weapon become interesting diagonals.


#24 TMLiza on 6 years ago

@nathancarter & brucer007-Thanks for the critique. ^_^ I'll keep in mind, lighting, in the future.

#25 jeproxshots on 6 years ago


#26 jeproxshots on 6 years ago


#27 jeproxshots on 6 years ago


#28 blood_red_rain on 6 years ago

I have been wanting to learn how to apply a tilt to my photography but I'm at a loss as to how you do it without the lens. Do you have any tutorials that you would recommend to a beginner? Any advise? Anything would be greatly appreciated to help get me started.

#29 nathancarter on 6 years ago

For a tilt of this nature, you just turn the camera. :)

Or, shoot loose so you have room to crop, and rotate it in your post-processing software of choice (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc).

If you're talking about the effect of a tilt-shift lens - that's different than the "Dutch Tilt" style of composition being discussed in this thread. A tilt-shift lens was originally intended to help correct the focus and perspective errors that occur during certain types of shooting, for instance when shooting a tall building from ground level. They allow you to use a focal plane that's not parallel to the camera sensor. But, they can also be used to make an interesting portrait or other style of photo, again using a focal plane that's not parallel to the camera's sensor. They can also be used creatively to take a photo of a life-size person or scene, and use an odd focal plane to help give the impression that it's a photo of a toy-sized person or scene.

The latter effect can be emulated reasonably easily in Photoshop, *IF* you have an appropriate photo to start with. It won't work on every photo, of course.

#30 blood_red_rain on 6 years ago


Would this count as a tilt then? If so then I think I may understand; if not then I still need to practice some more.