For the photos of Florence and Venice, I wanted to add a little bit of an aged feeling to the color scheme so I added various filters and made some adjustments to get that honey-colored vintage tone.
For the red umbrella on the beach, I wasn't so much interested in the fake miniature effect as much as emphasizing the red umbrella and the waves coming ashore. Honestly, I love both the Before and After of this image.
Wanna see the Before Before of the Red Umbrella? Here's the image straight out of the camera:
If you don't have PhotoShop but still want to experiment with the tilt-shift effect, a number of phone apps offer this option. Both Little Photo and Vignette (both for droids) have a Tilt-Shift effect option. The iPhone's Instagram app offers a tilt-shift feature for non-droid users and there's an app called TiltShift Generator available for iPhone and iPad. The photos below were taken out of either The Boyfriend's apartment window or car window with my camera phone using the Vignette app.
Overall, tilt-shift is a fun technique to play around with and add some pizzazz to your photos. Some other examples of tilt-shift photography from around the web can be found here. Hope you have fun trying it out!