Gear: Tilt Shift Lenses

For our architectural photography, we use tilt-shift lenses. We prefer Canon and firmly believe they make the widest range and possibly the best . Tilt-shift lenses are essential simply because they allow us to correct perspective; which is extremely important for the kind of work we do.

This is a highly technical aspect of architectural photography


The biggest feature is no doubt in perspective control, pointing our camera up causes the building to distort making it look as it’s falling backwards. Of course we do like creative shots and there are many decisions but when it comes down to perspective accuracy we aim for the verticals to be perpendicular without tapering as we try to bring in the full building.

Occasionally we don’t have sufficient room behind us to move back, especially city locations. Being able to be closer to the building and stitching multiple images together give us the advantage to shoot where it wouldn’t be practical. Move the camera introduces an increase work load when back in the studio, correcting displace fov’s, distortion and aligning elements. Having the camera static and shifting the lens over comes this but can introduce parallax which brings us into the use of a frame where the lens remains static and we shift the camera body without moving position.


The advantage in photographing interiors with a tilt shift rather than a wide angle lens is the composition as we can live adjust deciding on the camera height and lens shift to show how much of the floor or ceiling is in the image balancing without cropping or compromising the camera position. Another time saving feature is horizontal shift where we can shoot where possible but change the composition by moving the image left or right, this is great for avoiding reflections in mirrors and effectively seeing around corners.


Canon 17mm TSE
Canon 17mm TSE

My favorite tilt-shift lens is the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II. This lens is almost perfect however the simply fantastic but tricky to use is the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4.0 is indispensable in many situations.