Learn to lev­i­tate

Make friends ap­pear lighter than air with a com­bi­na­tion of shoot­ing skills and Pho­to­shop

NPhoto - - Contents -

The mis­sion

Make your sub­ject float with Pho­to­shop layer mask­ing skills


One hour

Skill level

Be­gin­ner In­ter­me­di­ate Ad­vanced

Kit needed

Tri­pod Sturdy plat­form Lights (op­tional)

This is one of those photo tricks that makes view­ers think, ‘How did they do that?’ The an­swer is sur­pris­ingly sim­ple and, like all the best Pho­to­shop tech­niques, the real skill be­gins in-cam­era. To cre­ate a seem­ingly lev­i­tat­ing fig­ure we cap­ture two dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the scene – one with the per­son perched on a sta­ble sup­port and the other of the empty scene. Both ver­sions need to be per­fectly aligned.

So the ac­tual cam­era tech­nique is easy, we just use a tri­pod and take two shots – one of our sub­ject, another with­out them or their perch. Then we piece it to­gether in Pho­to­shop, which – even for a com­plete novice – is a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward job.

The real skill is in craft­ing at­mos­phere around the ef­fect. That’s how we draw the viewer in. A vis­ual trick is fun, but a story is even more ap­peal­ing. There are lots of ways to do this – at­mo­spheric light­ing, de­lib­er­ate

mis­een­scène, creative com­po­si­tion, pur­pose­ful pos­ing, use of props – all of these fac­tors can en­hance the ef­fect. Even the weather can be use­ful – heavy rain­fall here cre­ated beau­ti­ful back­lit rain­drops and wa­tery lens flare, which all add to the mood…

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