One of the reasons people love using their DSLR cameras is that, with the right lens, you can easily capture shots with nicely blurred backgrounds that make it very clear what the viewer should focus on. With a tilt shift lens you can go beyond that by making the subject crystal clear and everything else in the shot out of focus.


It’s a great way to highlight a plane or exaggerate a minimal depth-of-field to give your photos a little extra oomph.

Others use the tilt shift option as a way to make scenic shots look like pictures of miniatures. Always a fun trick!

The great news is that this option is no longer just reserved for DSLR users! There are a number of apps that allow you to enhance your iPhone photos. The top three options are all free apps!

1) Instagram – Free

The tilt shift effect in Instagram is easy to use and quite effective. You can either have a circular or a straight line effect by clicking on the little tear drop in the edit screen. With the circular effect, if you put your finger in the center of the effect you can drag it to the spot you want the viewer to focus on, use two fingers to make the size of the clear spot bigger. With the line effect, use one finger to drag it to the right place and two to turn it to the right position and to increase the size of the clear band.

2) Photo Editor by Aviary – Free

I’ve mentioned this app before because it offers superior photo editing options at a very attractive price – aka free. Its tilt shift effects are just as easy to use as Instagram’s. On the editing screen, choose “Focus” and decide if you want circular focus or square.

3) Snapseed – Free  

Snapseed is a new-to-me app which offers even more editing options than the Aviary app. It has a slightly steeper learning curve than the two previous apps, but offers more options in exchange. The tilt shift options are particularly exciting in that you aren’t limited to just a circular or a linear effect, but can expand the circle into any oval that might work for your image.


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