One of the simplest, yet most overwhelming and inspiring feeling is found in the types of photographs where the subject seems to levitate above the ground. Levitation photography is still one of the most eye-catching and spectacular types of photographic subjects. However, despite the seemingly complex nature of these photographs, many of them are simple to achieve either all “in-camera”, with the use of Photoshop technology or even using an application on your phone.
For most amateur or aspiring photographers, the ability to improve your picture-taking skills is actually easier than we might think. Presented in this article is an informative preview about levitation photography. The article also shows you how to incorporate this type of special effect into your repertoire. The following are tricks to aid you accomplish levitation photography.
The most spectacular effects are the simplest of all to photograph. The subject simply jumps in place, above the ground and then snaps the photograph. There are no post-production or editing effects required since everything takes place inside the camera. However, it does take more than just simple jumping to achieve the effect.
Stationary objects should also be included. In other words, the levitation effect is more pronounced when we see objects that are normally stationary in the frame of the picture, such as a house, vehicle, furniture or any type of stationary object in a levitated position.
The human subject must not look like he or she is jumping. You can achieve this stationary position with a calm expression on the face, slight bending of the knees so that the feet will appear to be floating effortlessly off the ground and some kind of rigidity on the clothing, which, does not give away that the subject, is in some type of motion.
If your subject has long hair, it would be important to press the shutter button during the middle of a jump, and not in the final phase while the subject is descending with their hair appearing to be hanging from the sky thus giving away clues of a poorly taken jump shot. You can also use hair styling product to minimize hair movement to make the shoot easier.
The shutter speed on your camera must be set fast enough so that there is no motion blur as motion blur occurs when someone is moving quickly. Such instances of motion blur happen while you are jumping. You can hire a skilled model, particularly a dancer or athlete who is accustomed to jumping to be the subject, making it a more realistic effect.
Double Exposures Technique
The next type of levitation trick is using objects for example stools and ladders to support the subject. After this, you should mask out the subject in post-production editing with the use of a photo editing software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop). This is perhaps the most common type of levitation photography.
This type of levitation photography can achieve some spectacular effects if done correctly. You should ensure that objects used to support the subject are easy to remove in post-production editing. To perform the post-production editing, you will require double exposures (i.e. shoot two images for post-processing).
Tips on how to capture images
- Use a sturdy tripod to hold your camera, and place the tripod at a fixed position for the entire shoot.
- Use manual mode on your camera to achieve your desired lighting exposure, and maintain the same setting for your entire shoot.
- Use manual focus-mode on the camera lens to achieve your desired focus point on your subject, and maintain the same focus point for your entire shoot.
- Consider using a remote shutter release or set your camera on self-timer mode. This is if you are modeling for your own shoot.
- While shooting double exposures, the first image should consist of only the background without the subject and supporting object. The second image should consist of the exact same background but with your subject and the required supporting object.
After capturing the images, you will need to use the Photoshop software to align the two images. You can then easily remove the supporting object by using the masking technique.
In essence, there needs to be a significant color difference between the supporting objects and the subject itself. This makes it easier to isolate and remove the supporting object while editing.
Tips on how to make your picture appear more realistic
- Try to include or create shadows of your levitating subject. You should shoot the picture under soft lighting to achieve soft shadows, as it will make your work easier during the post-production editing. When necessary, you can clone out the shadow of the supporting object and add in artificial shadows using the burn tool in Adobe Photoshop.
- The complex the background, the more believable is the levitation. Using a simple, solid color background makes it very easy to achieve levitation effects. However, the more complex and natural the background, the more believable is the image. Removing and replacing the support structure is more difficult to achieve.
If you apply the above tips and tricks on how to shoot levitation photography, you will definitely add wings to your existing portfolio and help you draw impressed audience at a quicker rate.