Tips & Tutorials

Step by Step: How to Accentuate Distant Landscapes with Miniature Effects

If you are tired of the usual landscape shots, why not give the Creative filter feature a try? You can apply the Creative filter to create a miniature effect, which adds an intriguing touch to the otherwise monotonous looking distant landscape shot. (Reported by: Teppei Kohno)


Step 1: Take a horizontal angle shot as usual

EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 31mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/640 sec.)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto


EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 31mm/ Program AE (f/9, 1/200 sec.)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Miniature effect

In the two examples above, Creative filter is applied in the lower photo but not the one at the top. There is a marked difference in the resulting effect of the two shots, but the miniature effect in the lower example seems rather weak perhaps because the shooting angle was close to horizontal.


Step 2: Bring out the miniature effect with a bird’s-eye view

EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 31mm/ Program AE (f/9, 1/200 sec.)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Miniature effect

Point the camera downward to create a stronger top-down perspective. The miniature effect will be enhanced at a higher shooting angle. Also important in such a shot is focusing. In the example above, I set focus on the Ferris wheel while blurring the top and bottom areas.


Step 3: Take a shot in the vertical orientation

EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 26mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/640 sec.)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Miniature effect

Here, I tried a vertically-oriented shot, which further narrows the area in focus when the Miniature effect Creative filter is applied. For a majestic landscape view such as the one illustrated in the example, it would be more effective to apply the filter to a horizontally-oriented shot.


Step 4: Aim for a wider expanse

EF17-40mm f/4L USM/ FL: 30mm/ Program AE (f/8/, 1/500 sec.)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Miniature effect

I tried to capture a wider area than the image in Step 2. The elements at the top and bottom of the composition become substantially blurrier, and the result is a refreshing miniature effect photo.


Check the effect carefully

Using the Miniature effect Creative filter helps to add a unique touch to your distant landscape photos. This effect is characterised by the significantly blurred areas at either the top and bottom or the left and right sides of the image. Contrast and saturation are also higher, which bring out the miniature view with a more distinct colour tone.
Also, the bokeh effect is more noticeable when you are photographing a street view compared to a natural landscape. This is because the contrast between the area in focus and those that are defocused is clearer for subjects with well-defined outlines. In other words, it is recommended that you take how obvious the effect will be into consideration when you utilise this Creative filter effect for street photography.


Tip: Make sure to include elements in the areas that are blurred

EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 55mm/ Program AE (f/10, 1/250 sec.)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Miniature effect

When using this filter, the resulting effect will be greatly reduced if elements to be blurred are not included in the composition. In the above photo where the same Creative filter is applied, the miniature effect is hardly noticeable because the bokeh created in the sky and sea does not stand out.



Teppei Kohno

Born in Tokyo in 1976, Kohno graduated with a Social Work degree from the Department of Sociology of Meiji Gakuin University, and apprenticed with photographer Masato Terauchi. He contributed to the first issue of photography magazine PHaT PHOTO and became an independent photographer after that, in 2003. The author of many books, Kohno not only shoots all sorts of commercial photographs, but also writes prolifically for camera and other magazines.



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