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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How to Survive… July

07-2014

Now you are half way through the year! Congratulations!
January seems like an age ago, and Christmas/the end of the year feels like a million miles away. This year I’m starting to feel a bit CBA with taking photos, so whilst writing this I’m thinking about what I can do to get myself motivated once more. Last year I decided to keep on going with the ‘surrealist’ photography. I was pretty pleased that I had managed a whole month of it, and learnt so much in the process!
Actually in the process of looking back over last years July shots I’ve got a lot of shots in there that I still like to this day! 🙂

Bleak // 22 07 13

Positives of July

  • It’s still light! We might have had the longest day, but it’s still light out.
  • Flowers. Always changing 🙂

Negatives of July

  • Same as June (and May). And August! Weather can be hit and miss (well here in the UK at least). The weather is similar, the light is similar. Same issues with going out and holidays.
  • Sunrise and sunset. Not exactly at the best hours…

When a book comes to life // 14 07 13

How to survive… July

  • Food photography – People will be having BBQs, eating ice creams, picnics – shoot it! Food by itself of make it more lifestyle. If you like baking/cooking cook up a storm and shoot it before you eat it
  • Lifestyle photography – Out and about? Document it. Go for candid shots instead of posed and try to capture the true feel of an event
  • Challenge yourself – Pick an object, or a word and shoot around it. Be as abstract or literal as you like. Try to keep the theme going for a week – that will force you to become more creative!
  • Shoot a stranger – with your camera, obviously 😉 This is so far out of my comfort zone it is unbelievable, but for some it wont be that bad.

July 2013
Many hands make light work // 29 07 13

July 2012
Sunset // 04 07 12

July 2011
Storm Clouds (222 // 27 07 11)

July 2010
03 07 10

How to survive… June

06-2014

June (or the end of it) officially marks the half way part. Sadly though, the advice kind of stops the same through out summer as the same problems pretty much apply month to month. In order to try and mix it up a bit, last year I trialled ‘surrealist June’ wherein I took a surreal (ish) photo every day for the whole month. Some were total pants, but there are some photos in there which I still really like and it set me on a different path in terms of my photography.

Out of Reach // 01 06 13

 

Positives of June

  • Better weather, longer light. Get out there!
  • Flowers. Always changing!
  • Insects. They can be tricky to shoot, but there will be lots of them. Do some research online to find out which flowers will attract which insects and where you can find them and off you go. If you don’t have a macro lens, try buying some extension tubes, you can get them for around £5 on eBay!

Negatives of June

  • More of the same. May, June and July (and August!) are quite similar. Don’t get stuck in a rut.

Storm in a teacup // 14 06 13

How to survive …June 

  • ‘In the style of’ – pick an artist (doesn’t have to be a photographer) and try to do something in their style. Don’t just set out to make a copy of it, but instead try to come up with your own idea but make sure it is in their style.
  • Revisit old shots – this time try to take as close to possible as the same shot. Look for positioning of the camera and lighting to try and recreate it. Where possible though, try to show that you have progressed with your skills.
  • Convince the pet to sit still long enough for a portrait – practice a different technique with someone who wont sit still for long. Don’t have a pet? Borrow one from a neighbour, friend or family member. Even better exchange the photo you take for a visit to their house and a cup of tea with a slice of cake.
  • Document the mundane – try to make every day house hold chores, or the trip to work look at least vaguely interesting. Choose an unusual angle or a really shallow depth of field to help you emphasis details.

June 2013

Standing on the edge of the world // 29 06 13

June 2012

Lupin // 18 06 12

June 2011

Anemone (183 // 19 06 11)

June 2010

11 06 10

How to survive … February

02-2015

Aaah February, despite being 28 I still have to think about it before I manage to spell it correctly.

I’m going to assume that if you are reading this then you completed January, so well done you! No really. 31 days of straight photographing is a big achievement… Just 11 more months like that one to go 😉

The Band Stand // 02 02 13

Positives of February

  • It’s a short month. It will be over before you know it!
  • It’s getting lighter. It’s not exactly summer but it’s a lot better than December.
  • There is a ‘holiday’. Love it or loath it (I hate it) there is Valentine’s Day to break up the month. Regardless of your opinion of it it will be everywhere so try to use it to your advantage, whatever your take on it is

Negatives of February

  • It’s still dark. Yes it’s getting lighter, but it isn’t properly light.
  • The weather. Will probably still be dodgy. And cold.
  • December seems like an awfully long way away. And it is. The optimism and enthusiasm of January will probably start to wear off throughout Feb (if they didn’t start to wear off in January!), so you’re going to be needing those goals to focus on and drive you forward.

In my dream smoke followed me // 10 02 13

How to Survive February

  • Maintain those relationships. This is where the novelty of the project starts to wear off and will power comes into play. It might not happen to you, but the chances are it’s happening to one of your fellow 365ers so make sure to keep up the comments, it might mean the difference between someone giving up and carrying on. You might need the same positive feedback later in the year.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Try to mix up what you are shooting a bit. Routines are good (very good in fact for helping you complete the year) but they can also make it easy for you to not experiment and the whole project get a bit stale. Try to shoot something which is not in your style, or shoot something which you wouldn’t normally. There are loads of different styles of photography out there, pick one and go for it.
  • Have a theme. A theme per week, or for the whole month. Keep it easy, or make it hard. Having a theme will make you start to think more about what you are going to shoot. You don’t have to shoot on theme every day,  but it will get your creative juices flowing trying to meet the theme at least once a week.
  • Come up with a list. One list. Many lists… Things you want to shoot outside, places you want to visit, styles or techniques you want to try. Doing this will help you to look forward to the months when the weather is better, and thus you are more likely to see the darker months through to the end to get to the ‘better’ ones.
  • It’s not a competition. I have seen people start to get a bit … bitter … about other people’s shots as the project progresses. Other peoples work will be different/better/worse than yours, but it’s not about that. This is a personal project. It is time consuming and you have a life. If you want to take better shots then dedicate more time to it. If you take a photo each day then you have ‘won’, let’s not put others down in the process, we’re all working to the same goal. It might make you feel better to leave a sarcastic or negative comment on someone else’s shot, but just think about how you would feel if the boot were on the other foot. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all! (Unless of course it’s constructive and they are OK with that, but that is a totally different ball park)

February 2014

February 2013

Tree Nymph // 21 02 13

February 2012
The Odd One Out // 24 02 12

February 2011
Sheffield Skyline (051 // 06 02 11)

February 2010
032 // 365

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