How To

Get the tiltshift look right from Adobe Lightroom

If you use Adobe Lightroom and want to apply a tiltshift effect to your photos, you can spend hundreds of dollars on expensive Photoshop plugins, or you can do it for free, with an Adobe AIR app called TiltShift.

If you’ve used TiltShift before, you know you can open any photo in it and apply tiltshift effects to it, but did you know you can do this right from Lightroom? Here’s how.

In Lightroom, open up the Export window and add a new Export Preset. See the screenshot below. I called mine TiltShift, so I can easily remember it. Adjust any of the settings, like color space, sizing, sharpening, etc. They don’t really matter, although it’s better to keep the image smaller so TiltShift can work faster with it.

The really important option is in the post-processing section — the very last one in the Export window. There, you’ve got to make sure you tell Lightroom to “Open [your photo] in Other Application…”, then click on the Choose button and browse to find the TiltShift app. This is pretty much it.


Lightroom will automatically pass your image to TiltShift, which will open it and allow you add tiltshift effects to it, to your liking. For example, I initially processed this image of a medieval water pump found on the streets of Medias, Romania, in Lightroom.

The old water fountain

Then I exported it into TiltShift using the export preset set up as described above, and adjusted the settings there to get the effect I wanted. This is how the controls and the image looked inside TiltShift.


Once I did that, I saved the photo and uploaded it here. This is how the final image looks.


It couldn’t be easier, and again, let me remind you TiltShift is a free app.

[TiltShift home page] [Download TiltShift]


24 thoughts on “Get the tiltshift look right from Adobe Lightroom

  1. Pingback: Get the tiltshift look right from Adobe Lightroom | Raoul Pop - Vikram's Web Archive

  2. forven says:

    looks good man. for some reason it seems the photos lose their color profile when i save them from tilt-shift…they get noticeably duller.


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  6. Hi Raoul,
    I have been using tilt shift generator for a while on the ipad and the iphone, didn’t know they had a plug in for lightroom though! I am trying to set up the export, but when I do, and I try to choose tiltshift as the app for lightroom to open, it says that it’s not an application! I will keep trying. Does it work with lightroom 3, maybe thats the problem?


  7. Thanks for the info – Ive got a bunch of tilt-shift effects but always on the look out for anything new, whether its the authentic effect or not who really cares, its just fun to play. I dont understand why some people carry on so when your just sharing information. Glad I found your post.


  8. empoy says:

    great tip you have here! and most of all its free =)

    one thing that’s bugging me though, when i use this method i end up saving one photo in TiltShift and another in lightroom (without the tilt shift effect). is there any way to like tell lightroom that you already saved the image using TiltShift and abort the export instead?


      • empoy says:

        Wait let me explain more. When you export it brings up the TiltShift window/app right? And you save all the changes from that window to a file. When you close the window, Lightroom will still complete the export by saving the source file to a different file using the LR export settings.

        It got me thinking that since there is no direct integration with LR, LR doesn’t really know that a file has been saved in TiltShift.


        • Well, it’s not like we use Tiltshift every day, for all the photos. So if LR saves another copy of the file, just delete it, no big deal. Use the one you get from Tiltshift. 🙂


  9. Great tip! I haven’t the “Open [your photo] in Other Application…” choice in Lightroom, do you have any idea why?


  10. Kyle says:

    Thank you! The only other plugin I could find that does this costs $150… this is quite an amazing find.


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  12. Kenny, like I said here, this isn’t the same effect you get with a tiltshift lens. But hey, it’s free, so relax. It gives people a chance to experiment with the effect so they can see if they want to pony up the money for the real thing. If you’re getting tired of tiltshift, know I feel the same way about HDR — I’ve had it up to my eyebrows with cheap HDR.


    • I share your sentiment, brother. And I love the app. I haven’t tried it for my iPhone yet though. But the Air App is useful. And you’re right, it’s not for every shot, but it adds drama if you apply it to the correct shots. I also checked out the rest of your site, and you are one hell of a person and photographer. Someday, I hope to be like you.

      Keep on doing what you’re doing. You are the future.


  13. Fake tilt shift seems to have become really popular over the years. No one can be blamed for this, I gotta say it looks cool. But it needs to stop somewhere. You can’t you just click a button and expect to get fake tilt shift instantly.

    You need a suitable photo to start with, and even then you need some pretty clever masking to get the selection just right before doing the blurring.

    This example you’ve produced with the preset doesn’t really achieve (fake) tilt-shift, its just funky blurring.

    This tutorial gives a pretty good explanation of what faking a miniature involves:


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