Amused by those floating images that you see in levitation photographs? These pictures seem surreal and magically touched by magicians who perform levitations on their shows. However, just like how we know that they are hiding some tricks in their sleeves to mesmerize the audience, levitation photography is also about using the creative techniques to bring out the magic.
Most photographers know that in order to achieve levitation images successfully, you usually have to use Adobe Photoshop to edit the pictures. Normally, subjects have to be mounted on a step stool, which will elevate him/her from the ground. Then, the photographer has to remove the props from the scene during the post-production process.
However, if you want to challenge yourself as a pro photographer, then you can work on shooting levitation photographs without the help of Photoshop afterward. Is this even possible? Yes, of course. You just need the right timing and techniques.
What You Will Need
Before going to the steps, let us first find out the equipment you need for this project. Minus the step stool and Photoshop software, here are the devices that will help you achieve levitation photography with success:
1. Digital Camera
Of course, no cam, no shots. It is up to you if you want to use a DSLR, mirrorless camera or just your ordinary, but high end, point-and-shoot digital camera. You may also use your smartphone camera, as long as it has the shutter speed that can support this photography technique.
The partner of every photographer’s camera, make sure that you bring a strong yet light to carry tripod with you to your photo shoot. This will help you capture steady and clear-focused images.
This one is optional, especially if what you will be doing is a self-portrait. Just so you understand how helpful an intervalometer is, it allows you to capture several frames in one shooting at an automatic interval according to your desire.
4. Camera Trigger
MIOPS Smart, RemotePlus and Mobile Dongle serve as advanced remote control for your camera. These amazing gadgets are compatible with most DSLR and mirrorless cameras. If you need high-speed shutter release for your shots, which you do in levitation photography, then these image triggers will give you that advantage. They can all be controlled using your smartphone, so it is very handy to adjust. By the way, they also have an intervalometer feature, so getting any of this camera triggers by MIOPS is hitting two birds with one stone.
You can check the comparison of features of these 3 gadgets to learn which one is best for you.
Another from MIOPS, Capsule360 is a compact motion box, which allows you to take rotating shots. It has many advanced features, including pan-tilting—something which can be useful in levitation photography.
Of course, depending on the location of your shoot, you will have to bring other necessary items. If you are going to a far place, where you cannot recharge immediately, then bringing a number of extra batteries will do.
Capturing Natural Levitation Photographs
Being skilled in Photoshop is a plus point for any photographer, but if you want to call yourself a master of photography, then you need to be creative even without the magic of editing.
For natural levitation photography, it will really take a lot of trials and errors—but that is fine. Once you have captured the perfect floating shots, then you can definitely say all the efforts are worth it. Here are some steps that can help you get levitation pictures naturally:
1. Doing jump shots
If you want a levitation self-portrait for a start, then the jump method is the simplest technique to do it. However, this is not very easy to achieve since it is a bit hard to capture natural looking jump shots, plus you make yourself vulnerable to injuries caused by falling.
All you need to do is jump and try twisting your body at different angles, while your camera is set to shoot continuously. What you will need here is your camera, mounted on the tripod, and your Smart Camera Trigger so you can release the shots even if you are away from the equipment.
If you have a MIOPS RemotePlus, the vibration of your smartphone can trigger your camera wirelessly. Thus, this is very helpful if you want to take a photo of you while doing a slam dunk, which triggers the camera when the basketball hoop is shaken by your dunk.
2. Capturing the falling object through high shutter speed
If your subject is something to be tossed up in the air or dropped from above, like a ball or a slipper, then you need to set your camera shutter speed into 1/300 or more. This will require you to experiment with the speed until you find that freezing motion.
For more creative shots, you can use the Capsule360 to help pan your gadget downward, along with the falling subject, to get a background of motion blur. This will definitely require you enough patience as this needs a lot of trial and error. An assistant can also help you accomplish this.
3. Using darkness and flash
Another technique that can help you achieve levitation photographs naturally is by shooting in a dark space. Here, you will need the help of a flash. The light coming from the flash will help freeze the object’s falling motion, no matter how fast it is. This trick is effective, especially if your camera has a very slow shutter speed.
However, this technique’s disadvantage is you lose your subject’s background since the location is very dark. Of course, if you are a genius photographer, this will not be a huge problem since you can do something to take advantage of the dark background for a creative effect.
More of Levitation Photography
While successfully shooting natural levitation photography is a dream come true for photographers, this does not mean that using Photoshop to achieve this effect is a sin. Like what I stated above, using such software to enhance your images is also a skill to be proud of. For this reason, photographers should also take time to train themselves in photo editing.
Related Article: How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Powerful Camera Remote