Tilt and Shift Product Shoot

Tilt and shift lenses and adapters are commonly used for architectural photography, but they can be a useful tool when photographing products too.

In this product photography class Karl makes use of a tilt and shift adapter to overcome two particular challenges. He gives a clear explanation of what a tilt and shift adapter does, the benefits of using one and how to use it for product photography.

You’ll see two different lighting setups, one that makes use of largely indirect light for a broad, even effect, and one that makes use of small, carefully controlled pockets of light for a far more dramatic result.

In this product photography class we cover the following:

  • Product photography: How to use a tilt and shift adapter
  • How to photograph architectural instruments
  • Scheimpflug principle
  • How to avoid reflections in shiny metal objects
  • Two light setup for soft, even light
  • Lighting setups for dramatic effect

If you’re interested in learning more about tilt and shift adapters or technical cameras, watch our live talk show with architectural photographer Sean Conboy.

If you have any questions about this shoot, leave them in the comments box below.


  1. Hi Karl,
    Is its possible you could demonstrate how to photograph small black shiny cosmetic items, for example, an eye liner pen, mascara container a clear glass eye shadow pot against a white background.

    Are you also able to explain what lighting conditions you view the product under when matching the colours to you colour corrected monitor?

    Thanks Karl for your enthusiastic presentations.

    1. Hi Charles, I think there are plenty of other modules here that will cover what you need to know of black shiny or shiny objects. With regards the products I simply place an X-rite color checker card in the first shot when I’m set up and then measure and neutralise that in the RAW file. My monitor is self calibrating and is always accurate to I know with those two processes that what I’m looking at is correct. I will be covering more on the colour checker card process soon in a future tutorial.

  2. I have been considering a Tilt-Shift lens for some time. I get what they do, but I am still mystified about the physics of it all – need to do more research on my end.

    Not sure exactly what you mean by 80mm DOF “REVERSED” example? Are you saying that the 80mm is mounted to the Tilt-Shift adapter with no T-S correction added and just focused in the center?

    Also is the background some type of matte or frosted black plexiglass?

    Great results!

    1. Hi John, essentially there are two ways to send the tilt, one is in a direction that is more parallel to the subject than the camera and this will give greater depth of field over the subject. The other is to send it in the opposite tilt which then results in the strange shallow DOF, you can see me do this at 4:51.

  3. Hey Karl, Wondering if you could explain how to properly focus the tilt shift for the high DOF shot you first did.

    1. Hi Danielle, I focused on my main point of interest which was the scalpel. Then I just let the HTS do it’s work for the extended DOF.

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