How to… Levitation photography

Sadly most people can’t actually float, but with the magic of Photoshop we can pretend that we can! Levitation photography has become more popular over the past few years and it is quite easy to do.

Of an investigatory nature // 08 03 14

Before you start.

  • Focus on your subject, then lock the focus. I shoot myself so I have to go back and fro a couple of times before I lock the focus, but as soon as you have shot the subject, turn you auto focus to manual.
  • Use a tripod. Make sure that the distance and height doesn’t change as you will be taking two shots, one with the subject in and one without.
  • Se your white balance. You don’t want the while balance to change between the two shots so take it out of auto.
  • Safety first. Make sure that your model is comfortable, and make sure that you don’t make them hold an uncomfortable pose for too long.
  • Collect sturdy objects. Chairs, ladders etc, something that your model can lay across. You will need to rub them out during post processing so the more discreet they are the easier that will be.

Onwards and upwards // 14 09 141. Set up the scene.
Put the objects where you want the model to be floating, and then set your camera up on the tripod. Before you introduce your model into the scene take some test shots to make sure your white balance and other settings are correct.

2. Position the model.
Make your model lay across the objects and focus on them. Try a few different positions.

IMGP5040_August 07, 20133. Remove all objects and shoot a blank background.
Before you hit the shutter make sure that the auto focus is set to manual. Remove all objects from the scene and shoot a background with nothing in the foreground.

4. Add both image in Photoshop in different layers.
Put the blank background underneath the one with your model on. Then quite simply rub out the objects the model is resting on; because the layer underneath is the same image without the model/objects it will all look like it is one shot. Either use the eraser or use a layer mask if that option is available to you. Zoom in to make sure that you get clean lines.

layer mask

The above shows a layer mask rubbing out the step ladders.
Using a layer mask is a must if you have the option as it is non destructive; if you’re not sure about layers or layer masks then have a look here at the Adobe help site! 🙂

Summoning // 07 08 13

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