Don't Overdo It. Tilt-shift should be the exception rather than the rule. It can quickly lose its effectiveness in a portfolio or body of work when overutilized. Make it your icing on the cake, instead of the other way around. You also might consider using the creative effects to a lesser degree by either tilting less or shooting at smaller apertures.
Tilt-shift lenses aren't for everyone, but they're loads of fun and extremely effective when used correctly. If you don't own one, try renting one for a day and see if it's something that fits in with your creative and technical needs. Don't get discouraged if the initial results aren't everything you've ever dreamed of. Embrace the unfamiliar, and see the world with new eyes.
Alternatives To Tilt-Shift And Perspective-Control Lenses
In 2004, the innovative company Lensbaby (www.lensbaby.com) introduced the world to its first "baby," a 50mm ƒ/2.8 single-element bendable lens using a bellows-like plastic barrel. Skeptics abounded, but Lensbaby gained a cult following and has produced many legitimate alternative lenses that give photographers numerous options in producing imagery with different optical effects similar to (as well as different than) standard tilt-shift lenses. The Flashpoint Tilt Adapter (www.adorama.com) lets you attach a Nikon lens to a Micro 4/3rds camera and gives you 12º of tilt in all directions to generate creative effects. Note: These lenses and adapters aren't alternatives for the correctional shifting capabilities of tilt-shift lenses; rather, they're viable options for the creative "dreamlike" imagery one can achieve with tilt-shift lenses. Tilt-Shift Software. Just as one can add filtration and other effects to their imagery with post-capture software programs, one can add the tilt-shift effect with one of several software applications.
These include TiltShiftMaker (tiltshiftmaker.com) and Alien Skin's Bokeh 2 plug-in (www.alienskin.com). There's no doubt the marketplace will support more intuitive programs for adding tilt-shift effects in post, and no doubt more options will be available soon.