Holding a Tilt Shift Lens DSLR

A tilt shift lens is a special type of lens that allows photographers to have the ability to move it so that they can control the image's focal plane and correct perspective issues that arise due to the laws of optics. You need to properly position the camera and tilt shift lens in order for it to work. It's best to use a tripod, but that is not always practical. Sometimes you need to go handheld when using this lens. Here is the right way to hold a tilt shift lens on a DSLR camera.

Step 1: Composing the Shot

Make sure that your tilt shift lens is centered so that there is no tilt or shift happening. Once the lens is ready, look through the viewfinder to find your shot. Don't worry about distortion or focus right now. Those are details that can be worked out later. The most important thing at this point is what your photo is going to be and how it is composed.

Step 2: Keeping the Lens Level

A good tripod has a bubble level on the head that allows us to know that the camera is perpendicular to the ground. But, if you're going handheld, then you need to improvise by looking through the viewfinder and keeping it level with your eye. This is something that you will instinctively do anyway, but when working with a handheld tilt shift lens, you need to be especially conscious of the needed to stay level. Create some reference points in your frame to go by.

Step 3: Adjusting the Shift

Now that you have framed your shot, it is time to unlock the shift so that you can correct any perspective problems occurring in your frame. Take your time doing this because it is much easier and better to correct this problem in the camera before the image is shot, as opposed to dealing with it in a photo editing program. You're going to have to go by your eyes to make sure that the lines in the image are parallel to each other at both the top and bottom of the frame. 

Step 4: Adjusting the Tilt

Adjusting the tilt will alter the focus plane in the image. When the tilt is centered, the focus plane is an imaginary straight line that is parallel to the lens. When you adjust the title, you adjust the angle of that line. This can allow you to control what is in focus in your frame.

Step 5: Shooting

Once everything is set, you want to remain as still as possible and start shooting away. Make sure you shoot a lot, because there are going to be some photos that don't turn out too good thanks to being handheld. The more you shoot, the more great stuff you have to choose from.